September 24, 2009

Frozen Thoughts by Brenda Leyland

For me, every writing idea freezes like icicles on a wintry day when it comes time to write on the InScribe writer's blog. Nothing flows easily when a piece has been assigned or needs a more instructive or formal tone. On the other hand, words flow when I sit down to dash off a note to a friend. And I feel the freedom to write what comes up from my heart on my own blog posts where I write in a personal, conversational style. 

So why do I feel this separation? What makes my ideas freeze? This is what I came to see:

1. I automatically get more tense and nervous writing something on assignment. Perhaps because I know there's an expectation and, horrors, I might not be able to deliver. An article for a magazine or a writers' blog often wants more structure, something in a less chatty tone, even more academic. Something more lofty and of noble purpose. There's an element of  'should' in it and we all know what 'should' makes us do—our creative right brain shuts down, goes into hiding, and cuts us off from the flow of creativity and spontaneity.

2. Childhood negative writing experiences can still hold sway after all these years. As I write, I suddenly see myself sitting in a school room filled with squirming classmates where we're told to get out a sheet of paper, 'I want you to write an essay today'. In school, I intensely disliked writing essays. First, they were boring, yes, because I was seldom interested in any of the topics available for discussion. I had to choose something I had little knowledge of and no heart for. Blech! Second, essay writing in school was always a nervous time for me. I could never figure out what I wanted to say. My classmates' pencils were scribbling across lined pages, and there I'd be chewing my pencil eraser, panicking on the inside because time was running out and the teacher will call me up to read my piece and my page will be blank. I felt stupefied. On top of that, as I sat there with a blank slate in my head, I was so aware that Mrs. Teacher would be grading this piece with her sharpened red pencil to inform me everything I did wrong. I felt the shame.

I feel the angst I type. No wonder my thoughts still freeze. It would seem that my unconscious memories, and more importantly, old beliefs attached to those school writing experiences have me sitting here 'trembling'... what will the reader have to say about this little post? Will it bring a good response? Or will there be a 'sniff' at the writer's impertinence?

Well then... the bottom line of this little online pondering is that if we are to thaw frozen thoughts so we can begin writing with more ease and flow, we need to uncover what it is that is causing the flash-freezing in the first place. For me, operating under the fears and beliefs of old school days has held me back. But, thankfully, now that I understand that, I don't have to stay here. I can move forward.

I'm very grateful for today's blog assignment.


  1. But Brenda, look at the lovely post that came as a result of your inability to post! Lovely; real; honest. "When you write from the heart you will touch other hearts!" One great piece of advice I received from an editor ever so long ago. Joy!

  2. Yes, Glynis, that's what I'm starting to realize!! Thank you so much, m'dear! You have a gift for saying something that speaks deeply to the heart and encourages it!

    So I too, shall take that bit of sound advice and let it also guide my scribblings!

  3. Hi Brenda, thanks for being honest. I am the scribe that has no difficulty penning a 'formal' article but long for the ability, like you have, to gush with heart-felt and honest emotions. I LOVE reading your blogs! So you see, God has gifted us each uniquely. Keep on writing, please! And press on in your journey to Jesus.

  4. Hey Pam, thanks soooo for your take on this!! You made my day, because you confirm once more that we should just relax and enjoy the way we've been wired by Him.

    So as I enjoy your style, and you mine, we'll each touch the people He knew we would by being ourselves and doing what we do best. And that's for all of us!

  5. Oops...should have proofed that last comment. It should say 'thanks so much for your...'

  6. I never thought of things this way before. Thanks, Brenda. This was insightful.


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