Wishing To Be Past The Wishing

Posted: September 18, 2010 in Motivational
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Ten years ago upon completing my junior year of high school, my English teacher wrote me the following note:

“Behind every good writer is a good thinker, and that describes you to a tee. You have an innate quality of seeing to the heart of a matter, and as a junior in high school, this is impressive. Once you find your passion in life, you will excel past your current successes. Enjoy that time!”

I am beginning this blog with this quote, because ten years later, I am still contemplating passion and how to truly enjoy life. Truth be told, I spend the majority of my time looking forward to moments that haven’t yet occurred, reliving past accomplishments or attempting to escape from and cover up mistakes. It seems Jesus was One who was able to fully live in the moment. One who showed the glory of God by demonstrating what man looks like fully alive.

I do not know what I was meant to accomplish, but I do know I am here for a purpose. I believe writing is an integral part of my destiny. I have believed this for some time, but avoided it to a great extent out of fear. So here I am. Writing.

Not that I haven’t been here before. There have been journals, academic accolades, previous blogs, professional accomplishments. But much of what I produce has often, if not always, been polished to reflect only a part of my soul. Jaime has rarely been impressed as she knows me well and has told me my public writing is both self-important and dishonest (expressing this idea in love and not in those exact words). And she is right, as most spouses are, most of the time.

I do enjoy being in relationships in which I am the one to dispense advice and offer a helping hand; I don’t much like to be on the receiving end. But to “give” and never “receive” in this fashion is a failure to be vulnerable. A failure to demonstrate humility. A failure to experience relationships. So,while I imagine that much of what I write here will have a similar style to my previous work, I hope to improve my honesty and vulnerability, and in so doing move closer to whatever destiny may be calling and to the people who may be reading. For thus far, I have been nothing if not consistently inconsistent, largely due to an unwillingness to shed perfectionism.

While watching “Letters to Juliet” the other night with Jaime, a particular scene spoke to me in ways previous films have before. The film’s protagonist, a twenty-something aspiring writer explains she has never submitted her work for publishing as she has never felt it was finished. I have often felt the same way, but realize now that by never “being finished”, nothing has begun. Here’s to a new beginning, one where I will write more frequently as I attempt to put out of my mind potential criticisms, controversies and more importantly my own “standards.” In hope that I can both improve my writing and still assist some folks along the way.

I am horribly out of writing practice, and feel much the way I used to during the first week of baseball in the Spring after skipping a season of hitting due to basketball. I never doubted I could hit fastballs in those early sessions, but also had to make peace with the fact that I wouldn’t hit one for a while until my timing was honed. So please bear with me, your time and willingness to read any of this means a lot.

All this reminds me of a Sara Groves song entitled “Past the Wishing,” in which Sara sings:

“I wish that I were closer to Jesus
But not enough to get me out of bed
For an early morning prayer before the
Rushes of my life take me instead

You’ve shown me my man of Macedonia
You’re calling me further on
And I’m tired of saying it’s a nice idea
I wish it could be done

I don’t wish that I could go I am going
I don’t wish that I could be I am being
I don’t wish that I could do it I am doing
By the grace of God I am doing

I’m past the wishing
Past the wishing”

I wish to be past the wishing. How I long deep inside to be able to sing those last verses in truth, not theory. Please join me in this journey.Your thoughts, comments, prayers, feedback and criticisms are all welcomed and necessary. Subscribe. Tell your friends. Get on my case if I am not writing, because I need the practice. Destiny awaits.

(http://www.saragroves.com/lyrics/)

Comments
  1. Wednesday says:

    Like, like, double like. If honesty and vulnerability were the goal (if only in this one entry) it has been accomplished. God is in this place. He’s working through you daily and I’m excited to see what he shares with all of us via you. I would love to be past the wishing as well. Can I come with you?

  2. April says:

    Nothing can ever completely be considered finished, can it? Even once we’ve stopped living, the end is another beginning. I believe that writing must be considered the same. It’s all a process, growing. The only way to improve is to write, as you said, and the only way to find what it is you’re supposed to write on is to try. I’ve made it a point to write at least every few days, on any topic. Clear your mind and just let out whatever is there. Don’t get too caught up in the structure, that can come later. Sometimes it works and I get something down that I can be proud of. Others I end up deleting my writing as worthless. Probably most of them are deleted. The important point though, is that they were written. Each piece teaches me something about my own style, my voice and what I need to improve. I doubt that any great work was ever simply conceived and put to paper without a trail of discarded attempts. Consider those discarded works to be training wheels.

    It sounds like you have a heavy load of doubt. It’s toxic to creativity. Before you can be productive, you have to believe that you can be. Yes, there will be failures. Yes, there will be people that don’t like your work or that don’t like you because of what you have to say. If you let those fears stop you then your dreams will be forever out of reach. I think many writers find more fault in their own work that outsiders would, so you’re likely to be your own harshest critic. Don’t let that be the reason you surrender. Your voice is strong and your writing flows from what I’ve read of it. It’s easy to read and understand. You just need a topic that means something to you. Write for yourself. Write on what makes you tick, what catches your interest, what inspires you, what changes you, what haunts you. Once you find what is central to what you care about then you can transform it to help others see why it means something to them also. It’s a difficult topic for me. I have Asperger’s – I find it very hard to understand what motivates others unless it’s logically explained. It may help you to consider your topics logically in that fashion. Why does the topic mean something to you, and why should it mean something to your reader?

    If you’re having difficulty with vulnerability, maybe it would be helpful for you to write on that further even if it’s only for your own eyes. Or maybe that’s what you could try writing on in general. No one enjoys feeling vulnerable, yet it’s common to every single person. You might try writing fiction or writing anonymously in a public setting to explore it – I find it much easier that way. You may be surprised what you learn about yourself and others. I write and post fanfiction sometimes for the practice – dorky, I know, but people are amazingly honest and it’s a good place to gain open feedback. The characters are prepared so it’s easy to manipulate them. I wouldn’t even attempt to count how much reading I’ve done – a book or two per week for most of the last 17 or so years. It’s a huge base to draw on. I know fiction, I’m comfortable with it, so that’s what I write for public viewing. What is meaningful to me still shines through. It’s rewarding to find times that it means something to my readers as well. That feedback keeps me writing.

    I hope that you do stick with it. You have talent. I’d be glad to help out if I can. Feel free to drop me a line if you need a fresh set of eyes or someone to “talk” to on it. I do some work as a proofreader for friends. I can’t guarantee my skills are top level as I’m also quite rusty (and long-winded, obviously), but at least they’re free 🙂

    Best of luck

  3. Joshua Fisher says:

    Thanks Wendy! And as always, you are more than welcome to come with me. As a disclaimer, I have been known to dispense bad advice resulting in traffic tickets, but at least we can sing our troubles away to the tune of Disney musicals.

    April, very insightful and helpful advice. Thank you so much. I would love to read some of your fan fiction and will definitely utilize your proofreading offer. I really appreciate your feedback.

  4. Joshua Brainard says:

    Thanks brother. As Teressa of Calcutta once said, “We are all pencils in the hands of God.” I look forward to seeing what he produces with and in you.

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