I have given away a lot of words this year, from papers and reports to notes for my best friends and my dearest underclassmen friends. It is good to write something for another person and feel a bit drained when I am finished.
I think there are people out there who can write a heartfelt note without breaking a mental sweat. They’re in the same category as those who actually write a first draft that is terrible and revise it (definitely how I’m supposed to write a paper) and who write birthday cards without worrying whether or not they’re just repeating themselves from last year’s birthday card (and without worrying that they are a complete fraud because shouldn’t I as a writer be able to come up with something more original than whatever I wrote last year?).
As evidenced by the parenthetical statements, I am not a simple wordsmith when it comes to the words I give away. When I enter the forge to create for someone else, I stress about the adjectives and the placement of my commas. I take more time to toss words back and forth in my head to ensure that this person will receive the very best of my mind and heart. Words seem more final when they’re for another’s benefit.
I think I need to find the balance of being drained and being filled by the words I put down on paper and screen. That is what amazes me most, I think, about the authors I appreciate most: they write for others and for themselves. Shauna Niequist’s joys and seasons, Maddie and Hannah-Grace’s struggles and hopes, C.S. Lewis’s theorizing and griefs….they write in such a way that you learn along with them through their words. They sacrifice energy and yet I know grow by writing their content.
Words will always come from my heart, and I would never want that fact to change, but I do hope to better learn the art of separation between personal and vocational content as I (hopefully) transition to a career that is fueled by sentences and paragraphs.