Monday, July 28, 2014

Lessons Learned from Losing Wisdom

by Charis Joy Jackson

A magical idea strikes me. I run to my laptop before inspiration can leave. Well, “run” isn't the best word for it... it's more of a slow shamble while my vision blurs and the ground sways beneath me. Did I mention the pictures on the wall seem to expand and loom over me? That's not normal, right? Laptop in hand I settle onto my blue fainting couch. The battery's dead and the cord's all the way in my room. I consider the idea of crawling over walking but decide crawling would take more energy. Computer charging, I drink some water, careful to avoid sensitive areas. Finally, I open a new post. Time to write. What was that magical idea again?

It's gone! I tell myself to write anyway, a writer must write despite inspiration.

I struggle through a sentence, a paragraph. I make the writer's mortal sin- I edit instead of just getting the words out. I shuffle sentences around, try to find a better beginning. I am focusing on too many subjects for one post. Gah! I delete everything and start again. I can feel the story churning but an hour passes and I still can't form anything. The words won't flow. My worst fear is realized. I can't write.

Pain begins to throb through my jaw. An alarm goes off on my phone, time for more pills. I chug some water and swallow a handful of meds. The pain edges away again to be replaced by a swimming head and a roller coaster of emotions. The blank screen expands just like the pictures on the wall. Was this what Alice felt like in Wonderland? I fight through another paragraph, but it's hopeless. Fear wins. I put the laptop down. I'm just beating a dead horse and that's not very nice at all. Poor horse.

My nightmare's a reality.

Welcome to my life for the last few weeks. I had oral surgery to remove impacted wisdom teeth and I was sent home with a list of drugs that killed the pain but brought complications and dizzy spells. The ironic part - I was afraid I'd forget how to write. All I'd think about were the "what if's"... What if the meds messed with my brain and I lost all my wisdomy goodness? - WORSE! What if my stories disappeared?!

Fear consumed me. I'm a bit dramatic, can you tell?



Has fear or overwhelming obstacles ever held you back?

Here's the lesson I'm reminded of, one I keep close at hand – especially at times like this. No matter what, write. Every day. Doesn't matter how horrible it looks, keep writing. As writers we want to be praised for our work and fear is like a constant companion sitting next to us pointing out how unoriginal we are or how cheesy our writing is. Who cares about fear. Write! I'm convinced it's the author who pushes past all the fears and walls of insecurity that actually produces the real gems. Look at Tolkien. It took him over ten years to finish Lord of the Rings. I read recently where someone claims it took him seventeen years! Who cares. The story has captured our heart and it's because Tolkien kept writing. Imagine if he'd put his pen aside after three years of writing... the world would never know of Middle Earth.

That, my dear friends, would be a tragedy. So again I say, write! No matter what. Write!

What about you? What valuable tools do you hold on to when fear or other obstacles come knocking?



Charis Joy Jackson is working as a missionary with Youth With a Mission (YWAM) a non-profit organization & is part of The Initiative Production Company. She loves creating stories & is currently writing a novel, which she hopes to create into a seven part series. 

Here's to a life lived in awe & wonder. 
Welcome to the adventure.

12 comments:

  1. What a great post Charis. You should write more often when your brain is fuzzy - LOL. And what a classic photo! I can identify with your wisdom teeth angst - I had four impacted ones removed too. The pain eventually went, but they never told me of the long-term impacts. I lost my brilliant whistling ability. I also blew one of my stitches while trying to blow up a balloon. Seriously!

    But re writing, thanks for the encouragement to keep going even when we don't feel like it. It's easy to give up on those days when we're not feeling so great, but strangely enough, those are often the days when the little gems occur. Thanks for the reminder and I hope you're puckering and whistling again soon :)

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    1. Haha thanks Nola, I actually found myself whistling and thought of you blowing balloons and quickly stopped myself. I shouldn't worry though, my stitches are all gone now.

      It's so true, the real gems to tend to occur when we are having the roughest days. Wise words and GREAT advice!

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  2. I can only echo Nola's comments - great post and fantastic, almost surrealistic photo. I'm certain that painkilling drugs don't have a permanent effect on the brain - now, removing one's wisdom teeth might be a different story (okay just kidding).

    I love the graphic way you paint your writing woes (all the time proving that you can write). I think the fear of having our writing dismissed can indeed be paralysing - the crippling self-doubt that can wash over us at unexpected times. Thanks for the encouragement to keep on writing.

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    1. Haha, yes, removing wisdom teeth is never a good idea for stories.. ;)

      Thank you, Jeanette. Your words are very encouraging, I am glad my little dramatic story could encourage you as well. I can't wait to see your story lining the shelves for purchase!

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  3. Hi Charis,
    I hope the fear of any long-term effects of your tooth surgery on your writing life have been put to rest now :) Ouch, sounds like a good procedure to have over and done with. I love your reminder about Tolkien. I read somewhere that, as well as taking ten years, his family even stole the LOTR m/s from his study and took it to an editor. When it was accepted for publication with glowing praise, he kept saying, "It wasn't ready yet!" I agree, we'll never get anywhere if we wait to feel ready or smart enough.

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    1. Oh wow. That is crazy. I'm so glad his family snuck it out to the editor. Can you imagine what would have happened if they hadn't? Hmm there's another blog in the making about when to let go of our story. Thanks for you thoughts and yes, the fear has abated. I still have my moments though ;)

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  4. Great post Charis. I do symapthise with your experience. I too had 4 impacted wisdom teeth pulled out many years ago and ouch... wasn't a pleasant experience I can tell you. :) I hope you are recovering well. Thank you for the encouragement to keep writing. Yes!

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    1. Thanks Anusha, seems that impacted wisdom teeth are more common than I thought. I'm glad you were encouraged!

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  5. Sorry you had such a bad experience with your teeth, Charis, but you certainly have put it to good use by writing a great post that captured our attention! Re overcoming fear when writing, sometimes I actually pray aloud and say 'That's enough!' which I have found very effective. I also think we need to remind ourselves of what God has enabled us to achieve already, either in our writing or in some other part of our lives. Sometimes our thinking can get very distorted as we sit and fume over one little passage of writing.

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    1. Jo-Anne, yes! So true. How easy is it for us to get all caught up in the details, even the simplest of words can catch me up sometimes and I won't be able to move on for hours at a time. Great idea to pray out loud! Man! All these comments are so great, I hope everyone is reading them all, so much great advice!

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  6. Enjoyed your post Charis (lovely name) and sympathise wih you, having had a similar experience. Just as well those gaps don't mean the loss of our real wisdom. However, I do think you should give yourself some leeway when you're 'under the weather.' Sometimes our brains work better when we're 'resting'. Like you say it doesn't matter how long i takes if you're really committed to your writing. God bless you!

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    1. Hi Rita, thanks, I'm quite fond of my name :)
      You are so right, taking time to rest is very important. This is something I actually think we don't do enough in this modern age of microwave speeds. Resting is so important for our brains to work better and not only that, but getting out into nature and immersing ourselves with God's beauty while we rest is so important. I've been staying with my parents while I recover and they took me out to the beach for the day and I just lay there resting and watching the eagles soar around me - talk about a renewing for the soul.
      Thanks for your wise words!

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