My writing has taken a hit over the pandemic. Some of it is the exhaustion we all feel, some of it is depression, and some of it – a large part, actually – is losing my routine as everything ground to a halt and we had to rebuild from ashes. But at my most honest moments, I feel like I have lost my voice. Of no longer feeling like I have stories worth telling. Of losing my stories.
I do not like this feeling. Words have been my friend as long as I can remember. They have been where I go to hide, where I go to make sense of the world, where I go to relax, and where I go to work. At the darkest points in my life, my words saved me.
I have to find my words again. I need to find my stories.
I wrote something yesterday.
It wasn’t very good. But it could be, if I massaged it a bit. If I worked on it. The writing I do for money I work on hard. I may rewrite it 5 or 6 times as I try to get the words just right. But my writing on my blog, in my newsletter, on Facebook – that is a bit more spontaneous. More stream of consciousness.
But the thing I wrote yesterday was just a bunch of words around a central idea, but no heart, no movement. Underneath it all, I’m not a writer – not really. I’m a storyteller. And the thing I wrote yesterday didn’t have a story under it. So I shelved it.
I have a big folder in my Dropbox account called “Writing”, with various subfolders like “Sermons” and “Newsletters” and “Blog Posts”. And yesterday I made a new one, called “Possible”. Because the thing I wrote yesterday didn’t have good bones, but it could have. It was possible for it to. If I worked on it.
And while I was in there, I poked around a bit. I saw things I had written years ago – 2014 and 2015 were very prolific years for me – and I missed the guy who wrote those things. Some of them could have used some more work, but the story was there. Its heart was in the right place. They were stories worth telling.
Lately, things have felt different for me. It has felt a little like the stories are coming back. Like a high school athlete now in their 30’s, long out of training, but who feels the urge to run again. I don’t trust this feeling, so I don’t want to make any promises.
But I feel like writing again.