I know what it’s like to be doubtful about having an ability to write. I’ve sat in that seat, stared at my blank notebook, and wondered what in the world I had to share that wasn’t already out there.
Hasn’t it all been said already?
Isn’t there enough noise in the world as it is?
Does mine have to add to the din?
These were questions I hammered myself with and eventually believed. I embodied that belief to the point where I closed my notebook; tucked my pen away; and closed off to words. It was a sad parting and a little like a breakup, but I didn’t grieve. I just walked away.
I told myself I can’t write. Words wouldn’t form coherently in my head, so how would they make sense on paper? I didn’t bother trying until my good friend, Na’ima B. Robert, asked me about my writing one day as we pottered around in her kitchen making dinner.
I didn’t have an answer except: ‘I can’t write.’
There was something slightly frightening about saying it out loud. My eyes were downcast as the words fell like bricks off my tongue. I was verbally solidifying my fate as a dead writer who was very much alive. And despite the truth of my struggle with my pen and my inability to arrange words on a page, my heart knew it wasn’t ready for the writer in me to die.It wasn’t her time. She HAD to live!
So I dusted off my notebook, hands shaking as I cracked her spine. I had my heart handed back to me to cradle and nuture. Was I petrified? You have no idea! But I tell you what else I was: ready.
I was ready to take my pen up and scrawl words on paper again. I was ready to declare my voice amongst the noise; own my corner and share words with the world.
And from that day, I haven’t looked back. A writer, I am. I writer I shall forever be.