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  • Writer's pictureGwyneth Kerr Erwin, Ph.D., Psy.D

My Story....


I've made the commitment again to write everyday, no matter what, for at least a half an hour. Not just thinking about my writing life, yearning for my writing life, planning my writing life, squeezing in, once in a while in the midst of an overwrought schedule, my writing life.

The first time I felt the magic, I must have been 3? Thick pencil in my hand -- didn’t like those, even though they were supposed to be good for small hands. I wanted a real pencil. A white sheet of my mother's typing paper, blank. I made a mark. Something on the white paper. Something of me. Another mark, not letters, or words yet, too young. Still, I felt the wonder, the awe. I could make something appear where nothing had been before.

In my early thirties, I sat with another white paper, a drawing pad this time and a real pencil. The small Japanese man sitting next to me, eyes twinkling, mouth serious, said, “Draw.”

I cannot. I do not know how to draw. I had no idea what to do.

“You are god, right now, for this moment, to that paper. Create. Draw.”

“God? I was god to that piece of paper? The audacity! I could not draw, let alone be a god.”

Over the next five years I learned to become something of a god to that paper. But my voice? No. Still, I felt the wonder, the awe.

Only ten minutes have passed now. I am exhausted by this effort. Slightly excited. Impatient. I want to get up, go to bed. How can I write for another 20 minutes? How will I ever get my voice on this page tonight -- be god to my creation? For all of us who struggle to find our voice, and put it on the page, mark by mark, we wonder: Have I waited too long? Am I too young or too old? Spent? Are my ideas relevant? Am I trendy enough? Are the obstacles in my life surmountable? No, perhaps not. But, it feels like there is no god here.

And what about time? How do we ever move out of the repeating circles that keep us where we are, reaching out, forward, staying in place, all at the same time? Do it first? The rest will follow. That’s what I read in Writing Out the Storm. Great book. I got excited reading it. Then tired. The author followed that “put it first “advice by saying, schedule in your non-negotiable time, or non-discretionary, then writing comes first. If I do that, I will not ever write. There is little in my schedule that is non-discretionary. The writing must come first, even in half hour increments, before all that. Why? Voice. To have my voice. On blank white paper. And finally feel the wonder, the awe. To be god to the page.

Seven more minutes. Do I have a thought in my mind? I’m too tired. I want to curl up, feel a breeze upon my face, have everything slow way down, a small step at a time, to do, a small step at a time. The writing must come first! The books inside, fulsome, on pages, are shouting at me now. But the kids need to be bathed, curled up with, be read to. Dishes washed. Schedule checked for tomorrow, appointments lined up, phone calls to return. Ten o’clock, pm.

I want to cry. But, thirty minutes, I did it.

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