Lately most, if not all, of my writing time has been focused on submission guidelines and target markets. I’m happy about this — it’s good to be writing and submitting my words. I like the productivity and the sense of accomplishment that comes from getting my words out beyond myself.
But earlier this week I was reminded that it’s not all about the end goal. I came across a quote from the theologian and prolific writer, Henri Nouwen, that my friend Cathy Jo shared with me a few months ago. What Nouwen said reminded me of the value in the process of writing:
Writing is a process in which we discover what lives in us. The writing itself reveals to us what is alive in us…it opens up new spaces within us of which we were not aware.
Last week I started revising and polishing an article and I’m learning from that. I’m in the process of considering a few ideas in my head which is opening me up to new spaces within myself.
And, yes, overall, I know that the process of writing helps me discover what lives in me. I see this most clearly when I consider the ten years that I stopped writing and compare them to the recent years in which I began to write again. This week I haven’t written much – maybe just this post – and I have to admit I’ve felt a little bit “off”. It’s a good lesson and reminder. Indeed,the writing and all it contains gives me a different sense of being alive.