Write On Wednesday: Excavation

There is some connection between my spirit and the pen, some alchemy that occurs when my hand starts moving across the page which causes truths to rise up from the hidden levels of my soul and appear in front of me on the page. It connects me with the deeper questions about what is “unsolved in my heart” and allows me the patience to observe them from different angles.  ~Write On Wednesday


You’d probably be surprised at the number of blog posts hidden away in the “Drafts” section.

Sometimes I’m surprised by them.

These are the bastard children of my writing life, written when I’m angry or downtrodden or feeling as if I’ve completely lost my way. These are the things I sometimes long to tell you, friends of my heart, and so I pour them out onto the page, filled as they might be with doubt or recrimination.

But then I have second thoughts.

Who wants to read my sad story? I think.

And what right have I to complain? I chide.

So instead of clicking “publish” I click “save to draft.” Or I just “x” out of WordPress, ignoring the little pop up window that warns me “my changes will not be saved.”

No, don’t save my changes. Throw them recklessly to the wind, those long-winded episodes of malcontent.

Who needs them?

There is supposed to be something cathartic about writing out our feelings. Most of us have been advised at one time or another to write a letter to someone who has hurt us, a letter that spells out all our feelings and gives vent to all the anger. Instead of mailing the letter, we’re then told to destroy it, perhaps set it aflame and watch the bad feelings melt into ash. The act of writing is known to be good for the soul, and even if you don’t consider yourself a “writer,” putting pen to paper has a way of clarifying those thoughts and feelings that otherwise whirl like a funnel cloud in our hearts.

Dorothea Brande writes that “If you are unwilling to write from the honest, though perhaps far from final, point of view that represents your present state, you may come to your deathbed with your contribution to the world still unmade…”

It seems to me we sometimes need to express the “point of view that represents our present state,” even if that state is one of confusion and pain and sadness.  In expressing it to ourselves we come to a greater understanding of who we really are underneath. It is this awareness that then gives fire to the real work of our art, and brings us one step closer making our contribution to the world.


12 thoughts on “Write On Wednesday: Excavation

  1. Your post resonates with me. I thought i was the only one that writes more than i publish. There are days that i feel as if the content that i write is too painfully honest or thevtopic is viewed as too controversial. I rarely get any comments or feedback. That can be discouraging and sometimes keeps me from writing.

  2. I happened upon a post today, written by a blog-friend who’s a Swedish screenwriter, which reflects my own attitude toward journaling and “personal writing”. She says, “I don’t believe in writing about sad things and when I’m angry. Some people say that by writing they get it out of their bodies. I can’t speak for anybody else but me, but I don’t work that way. What I write stays with me. What I don’t, might in time, leave me.”

    Speaking only for myself, I’ve never found dissecting my feelings in writing to be helpful. It keeps me in the midst of whatever “it” is, when moving on is what I need to do.

    Like you, I have that draft file that’s crammed full of stuff – some of it quite bad, I suspect – but the drafts are meant to find the light of day. Shaping and completing them so they can do that gives me pleasure, and focusing on the act of creation often is healing.

    My way isn’t everyone’s way, I know that. But I lost a fair number of years to over-thinking and over-analyzing everything in sight, and I’m not going to substitute thought for life, ever again.

    • “Substituting thought for life…”There’s a concept that hits me between the eyes. I know I do that far too much. I always have this sense that I need to get everything straight in my head before I can take any action. Maybe I need to act first, think later (or not at all!)

      Thanks for giving me (more!) food for thought!

  3. I am all for that! I used to journal all the time to evaluate my feelings and I don’t anymore. And I’ve written a couple of posts that will never see the light of day — or at least not till I am retired from my job! But I don’t do the daily journal it away much anymore. Maybe the blog has helped me find that writing regularly about things that matter means I don’t have to vent them on the page. Or maybe I’m just venting to Rick! (Paybacks.)

    I do know, though, that I have a bunch of unpublished drafts. I was so excited — I thought I was close to my 800th post back awhile ago — and I was, if you counted the drafts! I looked at them all, deleted all but a few, and recalculated! My 800th post will come when I’m writing my vacation recap posts next month — so I’ll have a drawing! And it will be a “real” 800 — not 800 counting drafts!

    • Hopefully my blog posts get the wheat from the chaff of all my crazy mixed up meandering thoughts. Although sometimes I am working things out on the screen here, and always, always, looking forward to the thoughts of my friends!

      Also looking forward to that 800th post of yours 🙂

  4. I love this post, Becca… and how the quote differentiates between honest and “far from final.” I’ve long stopped keeping a handwritten journal and I wonder why. That journal eventually produced two published essays. I would have never been able to write those essays if I hadn’t unleashed page after page of raw emotion.

    Even now that I’m attempting to blog a bit more openly, I still feel the need to stop and process what I’m trying to say first. I figure if people are stopping by to read, they are either wanting to be entertained or they want to pick up on the universal aspect of the story that makes them feel something.

    If I weren’t blogging more honestly right now, I’d have to take a blogging break altogether. My unwillingness to express the truth creates a block for me.

    • There is a fine line between revealing too much but still getting at that universal truth that others can relate to. So far, you’ve done a masterful job at it!

  5. I don’t usually write anything in anger or in a state of moodiness, it doesn’t really help me to get it out of my head and then I spend too much energy and emotion trying to make the thoughts go away. I do tend to obsess on a given situation that is bugging me and writing about it only makes it worse. I just try to move on from it or make a note to schedule time in a day or so to deal with it. I do find that putting it out of mind and scheduling a time for it makes it less of a problem in the long run.

    • I’ve been given that advice before – schedule a time to worry or obsess and then put it aside after that. Usually though, the worry chooses it’s own time anyway – like 4:00 in the morning!

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