December Writing Cave – Day 1

I wrote a short story today. I know, right, my “writer’s cave month” just started, and now I’m here writing to you as well.

When I was thinking about what today would look like, I figured I’d scribble some keywords/topics/ideas into my writing notebook as my way of brainstorming and then end up reading the entire day because I couldn’t think of anything else to do. But and however, that’s not what happened.

I did start out scribbling keywords in my notebook, but then I wrote a statement:

I’m trying to heal myself through writing this book.

Then I wrote a question:

Where do I need healing?

Then I wrote down the first thing that came to mind—the first wound I still need to heal—and the parts of that wound still needing healing. Next, I wrote down a thought about never being allowed to feel like it was okay to make other people mad even if it was in effort to protect myself and my values.

Finally, a sentence came to mind. I didn’t write it in my notebook. I tried to ignore it, but it kept pestering me. I started writing it as a note in my phone so I could email it to myself later without having to retype it, but I couldn’t stop at the one sentence. I kept writing. Two hours later, I forced myself to stop for lunch, then copy/pasted it into a word doc on my phone and spent another hour and a half finishing it up.

It was one of the most intense things I’ve done in a long time. The story itself is intense, even in its first draft, and I had to sit a while and focus my brain on something light (changing my dry erase calendar from November to December) in order to slow the beating of my heart.

I haven’t felt very writerly lately. I haven’t made time or created the mental space for it, and I was beginning to feel like I had lost my way again. The ache in my stomach that led to me choosing this month to focus on writing, and the way today went, both confirm for me that I haven’t lost anything. Writing that story today was confirmation that taking this month is exactly what I needed to do.

I don’t expect to have such an incredible writing day every morning when I resume my brainstorming. It would be incredible if I could write a new story I feel good about every day, but I’m not going to put that pressure on myself.

I will offer a word of encouragement, however. If you feel an ache to do something, do it. You never know what needs to be created from that space (even when you think you know).

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