Thursday, November 15, 2018

Finding Your Way Home


"Just as a painter needs light in order to put the finishing touches to his picture, so I need an inner light, which I feel I never have enough of in the autumn." -- Leo Tolstoy
"Light will someday split you open." -- Hafez
As you write into the unknown, swimming alone for weeks and weeks (and often for years and years), it's not always easy to find your way home.

You may look up from the page one day and find yourself far from shore, disoriented, unable to see the shoreline, unsure of what direction to swim in.

If only the sweeping beam of light from a lighthouse could guide you back to land.

But, alas, there is no lighthouse.

You are swimming in water that is deep and dark, and your arms are tired after swimming for so long, and you can barely kick, and you are close to sinking in a story that no longer makes sense.

It can feel like you’re drowning and that you will never reach solid ground again.

It’s just you… and the deep, dark water… and the empty sky…and your story, and words swirling in your head, and a faint whisper of a voice pleading with you: please, please, keep writing!

But how can you keep writing?

How can you find the strength within to keep going?

At some point you might stop to tread water and gain a little extra energy from the pause in your stroke.

Or you might float on your back for a while to rest and catch your breath.

Taking a break is always a possibility, an essential one at times for the future survival of your project (and for yourself as a writer).

But here’s the thing. After you rest and start swimming again, you may still not be sure what direction to swim in. (And remember there are sharks. There are always sharks.)

In the darkness, you keep wishing for a light to guide you.

If only there was a light.

And the thing is … there is always a light.

It’s the light that burns inside you like an eternal flame, a flame that will light your way and strengthen you once you become aware of its presence.

Most importantly, its light will help you remember what led you so far from shore in the first place.

It's this flame’s brightness that has the power to inspire you … and to reveal the way back to shore.

Remember: your inner light will always show you the way home.