Forced Words

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Photo by Patrick Tomasso on Unsplash

I gave up on my Sunday Post. It didn’t work. I tried hard to force the words onto the page. They were only a jumble of thoughts.

I’m listening to The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. I find my soul disturbed by the images described deep in Nazi Germany. Decades ago I read the real-life accounts of this time period from Holland, Poland, France, Britain and Germany. I found in my reading, real people caught in horror.

I started my post on Sunday thinking of these things and what it means to us today. I wrote over 1,100 words trying to describe what I felt. I felt anger, fear, depression, and grief. Who would be the next group of people devastated by other people? When will we learn the lesson history is teaching?

I couldn’t untangle my thoughts and emotions to grasp what I need to learn. I was feeling pressure from my commitment to update the blog twice a week. I spent Sunday evening forcing the words onto the page.

On Monday, I had a confusing mish-mash of thoughts. Feelings half described. I threw out about two thirds of the words. Working all day and listening to the Book Thief’s struggles made me feel tired. I decided to put off writing until the next day.

On Tuesday I had a strategy. I would pick up what was left of my post and write! Get it done! Good or bad I would put out there. I sat down and wrote. Again I pounded the words onto the page. Sitting back I read through it a few times rewriting as I went. It was not coming together. I tried different wordings. Nothing seemed quite right.

I gave up. I asked the Eldest Prince to look at the post and give me his honest opinion. He did. I could see he didn’t like it. Then he said, “It’s okay for a first draft.”

Having lost count of my drafts I said with a harsh chuckle, “it’s a fourth or fifth draft.”

His face fell a bit. But we rallied to analyze the problems. There were at least three separate concepts in the post. It needed to be done in smaller bites as a series of posts. It didn’t flow right and needed to be reconstructed then rewritten.

After we were done the Eldest Prince claimed, “I hate breaking bad news.”

I chuckled, “It is constructive criticism and I needed it.”

Then it dawned on me and I said, “You can’t force the words.” He nodded in agreement as he left the room.

I decided to scrap the project and move on to this idea. Sunday’s post didn’t make it out of the recycle bin. A post full of angst and confusion is not the quality I want for my writing. We all have experienced when we work hard at something, but it doesn’t work out. The effort is not wasted. It is a learning process. Without failure we would not know when it is a success.

I learned an important lesson. A frustrated effort to force anything ends in more frustration. In an emergency we may be forced to think on our feet and press forward through exhaustion to get the job done. No one will be hurt if I breathe and pay attention to the words. This is writing a blog post, a personal memoir in pieces if I say so myself. It is not an emergency.

When I force the words they are confused and angry. My purpose is not completed. Truth be told, I do not like being forced into anything. I feel trapped. Maybe my words felt trapped (smile). Imagine words feeling trapped! Now, I know they cannot be forced onto the page.

My writing is an escape. It is a way to relax. I love writing. I will keep it this way by respecting my words. The stories will build as I relax into the words.

I hope you enjoy your bliss today too,

Milly

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