“A gifted young woman writes a poem. It is rejected. She does not write another for perhaps two years, perhaps all her life” (If You Want To Write by Brenda Ueland, p.8). Are all writers this sensitive? Maybe. Maybe not. Is this even the right question to be asking?
One answer that Ueland has for the aspiring writer is to practice. A musician practicing her instrument will play numerous notes daily. Try writing as many words daily. However, this answer bypasses the sensitivity issue.
If you write from your heart, won’t your heart hurt if your writing’s rejected? Most definitely. Should you become hard-hearted? That would mean cutting off the creative flow. Are there any answers to our heart questions? The Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Buddhist Bodhisattva’s heart-of-compassion may provide answers for some of us.
The Sacred Heart
“Buddhists refer to bodhicitta, the enlightened heart, as the longing to heal the sufferings of the world” (The Sacred Heart of the World: Restoring Mystical Devotion to our Spiritual Life by David Richo, p. 12). The Sacred Heart of Jesus refers to the fact that even though Jesus was wounded on the cross He retained His overflowing love for people. So if you’re a wounded writer, compassion may be a way of healing.
“The spiritual practice of giving and receiving compassion is a form of self-healing. We can trust that we are designed for self-healing since we are destined for being wounded” (ibid. p.18-19).
Not for Ourselves
Writing for ourselves is not enough. If we are too narcissistic to feel the pain of rejection, we won’t grow as people and our writing will dry up. If we are too timid and get rejected, we’ll shut the closet door and never come out. Although writing in a dark closet may sound appealing, life has bigger plans for us.
Transcend your personal preferences for the greater good. Transform your wounds into words. Write for the world.
Photo Credit: Photo by Timothy Tolle at Flickr Creative Commons.