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When Words Won’t Come

I’m looking at my planner again, hoping for any task but the one I’m avoiding—write.

So all I really have to do is write. I mumble as I put down the second book I’ve read in the span of a week and think about the cooling brownies in the kitchen. It seems I will do anything but.

It’s funny, of course. In four different conversations with four different groups in the past two weeks I have waxed poetic about writing, “my first love.” I have offered to copy edit cover letters for a friend on a job search and given far too detailed notes on a simple request for “thoughts?”

And yet. It seems the prospect of sitting down at my desk to write for myself and for The Smile Project is insurmountable. It seems I will go through every language offered on Duolingo before I open my document of incomplete blogs.

Does this make me less of a wordsmith? Does this take away my desire to put something beautiful into the world? My fingers fumble along the “AUTHOR” ribbon I have taped to the underside of my desk. Certainly not.

I am grateful for the days where the words come easy. I don’t always appreciate them as I should in the moment. But I know they are sacred.

And, I am learning to be grateful for the days where they don’t.

On the days where words don’t flow, I am drawn to places that bring joy. I sit in the library, surrounded by words, and accept when none flow through me.

I order an overpriced baked good at a coffee shop and think about how, in another period of inspiration, I might be able to turn the parable of dry zucchini bread into a blog post but for now I just file it under my growing list of minor inconveniences.

But as those days (and inconveniences) stack, I begrudgingly allow myself to let go. I stop trying to force lyrics that won’t form. I bake brownies and look up recipes and mutter Spanish verbs to myself and the Duolingo owl. I make pancakes for dinner and dance to Carole King. I start reading a new book.

I do everything but the thing I said I was going to do.

And then, gently and unexpectedly, a small burst of creativity peers into my bedroom, asking me to open my computer once more. Asking me to delay my bedtime for a few moments. Giving me an opportunity to try again.


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