My pulpit is this notebook.
My congregation is the short span of time you give to me.
Whether I bleed over this page, vomit onto it, or tap into my muse and speak well, I am still at my pulpit.
You, the congregation of time-givers, do not make me who I am.
Even this pulpit, these notebook pages in front of me, do not make me who I am.
I was always meant for this pulpit, even before I knew it existed and even while I refused to acknowledge it.
Whether I speak from this pulpit or remain silent, I am still this writer.
And so are you.
The voice that says “please write”
At some point, you began to realize there’s a part of you that longs for you to write. In a way, it longs to be written. Your fingers are just a tool to help the escape of this voiceless urge inside you.
You may not be sure from where it comes, why it’s there, whether it’s legitimate, perhaps you only have small, peripheral inklings of its presence. But you feel it.
You have begun to feel something inside of you that pushes you to explore what it means to write.
I have a deep urge to speak to you in this moment. A part of me deeply rooted, or rooted-deeply, is calling out to you through my labored scratches on this paper.
A part of me sees through the pen in my hand, the later typing-up of these words, the editing, and the time that will pass before you stumble across my urge speaking to yours.
This urge speaks calmly, confident in the veracity of its words.
All the while I have shut my mind in a locked room and told it to remain quiet or else. I do not want to disturb the urge.
My hands know not to stop, they must ignore the pain that comes from poor pen-holding-form lest this urge inside fails to fully escape and end up on the screen in front of you.
What are your reasons for writing?
Even if you have yet to write a single word, you can still have reasons.
It doesn’t matter what these reasons are at this point. Just find one and articulate it.
Evaluate it and decide, is this reason enough to scratch marks across a page and therein expose myself to the world and unknown consequences?
The marks themselves don’t matter very much at the beginning.
What matters is that you begin to venture into the chaotic void because of a strong, unnamable urge inside of you.
Nietzsche said that he wrote because it was the only way he could reliably get rid of his thoughts. Excerpt from the Gay Science:
A : I do not belong to those who think with the wet pen in hand; and still less to those who yield themselves entirely to their passions before the open ink bottle, sitting on their chair and staring at the paper. I am always vexed and abashed by writing; writing is a necessity for me, even to speak of it in a simile is unpleasant. B : But why, then, do you write?
A : Well, my dear Sir, to tell you in confidence, I have hitherto found no other means of getting rid of my thoughts.
Sometimes that’s why I write as well.
Sometimes I don’t write as much as I jump the hell out of the way of an urge that has gripped me and told me that I must start moving my pen across a page for its sake.
Sometimes I write in anger.
Sometimes it’s pain, love, resolve, desperation.
Find a reason to attach to this strangest of urges within you and use it to write.
Articulate it. Let it sink into your mind and bubble to the surface when your mind wanders and questions why you are doing the terrible, ridiculous act of writing.
Where will your strength come from?
You will surely need a great source of it.
What do you have to say that is valuable? Nothing.
What skill do you possess to compete on this artistic battlefield over which countless divinely talented writers strut? None.
How can you, the weakest person you know, dare to speak to us, we who have learned more and overcome greater things than you have yet to face? You cannot.
Where will you gather strength to overcome these questions?
Choose your armor and weapon and flail wildly. That is precisely what it takes to wander onto that seemingly crowded battlefield and stand your ground.
Will you find strength in longevity, knowing that time can turn you into that which you admire and strive to become?
Will pure gall be your fuel, realizing that the world will not end no matter how bad your writing may be at first?
Will belief in the content of your heart and mind prove to be the source of your strength?
Choose your reason and articulate it.
Find your source of strength and stand upon it or cling to it.
You have found the battlefield, donned what armor you could find, and taken up a weapon (of sorts). Let the flailing commence.
Standing upon the battlefield
You’re now standing on your own two legs on the battlefield, which you previously only watched from a distance.
Your Medium.com account is ready to take on its first body of words with a title.
Now, what to write about?
It can be difficult to choose a topic when first beginning to flex the muscles needed to write.
The good news, that you are yet to fully believe, is that there is something inside of you that can and will speak to something inside of me.
That is the magic of writing. The urge inside of you, which you must learn to let escape as effectively as possible, will speak to an urge inside of me.
We don’t always do it justice, this thing inside of us, but when we do, the world becomes a better place.
Every human can change the world around them. Finding a way for the urge inside of you to connect with the urge inside of me is one way of changing the world that writers can learn.
It doesn’t matter if you’re successful every time.
All that matters is that you open the door with all your strength and skill and hope that the part of you that can speak to me escapes.
With time, you will grow stronger and more skillful and therefore be able to hold the door open wider and for longer.
For now, tell a story, report something, describe something.
Take a piece of your world that matters to you and give it life enough to float across the space between us and touch me.
Look closely and carefully and fully and exhaustively and excessively at something and begin to put it into words.
Find something that is beautiful or horrible in life and tell me about it.
Think of something hard, something with which you struggle, no matter whether or not you have overcome it yet, and tell me about it.
Search out an idea in your life that has spoken to you and capture it in your own words and share it with me.
Begin anywhere and move. Move your pen across a page. Move your pen across the blank space in your mind where the words will form. Move yourself from the place you are before you write to the place you will be after you write.
Choose your reason and articulate it.
Find your strength and stand upon it.
Chase down one something of significance and seal it with words.
Any journey must begin before it is developed
Any beginning must consume energy and time before it builds noteworthy momentum.
You are standing on top of a mountain picking up pebbles and tossing them down. Sometimes those pebbles start great avalanches and the world is changed. Sometimes they fall flat without movement, without change.
It doesn’t matter. You’ll keep finding better pebbles and throwing them with greater skill down the mountain.
And the world will change.