There are writers out there who are lost. Who are uncertain, afraid, filled with doubt, unsure of what step to take, where to go, what to write.
But there is something within, some inevitable force — what I like to call the “deep-down hum” — driving them, flicking their ears from behind, begging for attention, screaming in silence for them to create.
They are the ones who have been struggling for years, not to just find their voice, but to find the courage to actually step forth and speak with words on the page. The ones who have stifled their own creative efforts for fear of failure or fear of ridicule or fear of success or anything between.
I know this, because I am one of them.
But I know something else: when lost on the dim or fog-filled path, the best source of light isn’t a match. It comes from somewhere else entirely.
I’ve been writing in some professional capacity for more than a decade, and it’s been invaluable. The things I’ve learned, the realities I’ve witnessed, it’s all been worth it, and I’ve been fortunate to absorb many skills over the years.
But what I’m talking about goes deeper than that. It’s a heavier pull. It’s something else talking. For me, this is about writing in its purest sense, which is to pull back the blinds and allow others to see something they hadn’t seen before. To stretch the perception outward in all directions, grid-like, infinite. Ultimately, for me, this comes in the form of fiction or creative nonfiction.
Ultimately, this is about stories. It’s about emulating that light we have seen through the fog. The light we think comes from a distance but in reality comes from our core.
True, resistance is uncanny when trying to create anything, and we’re overwhelmed by comparing ourselves to others, or we aren’t sure how others will react to our art. We try to forget it. We try to change our focus to something else.
But we can’t.
For years — decades, perhaps — there’s been something humming within, deep down, far below the surface, unrecognizable beyond a simple sound or a whisper.
Something has been there all this time, and continues to thrive.
For a long time, in my youth, music was what called most to me. I always leaned toward that sound created by instruments. Later, this love for music would translate over to my love for the written word, for books, and for stories.
Music and writing are very much intertwined. They weave within and through one another, creating webs of something new for the reader or listener. For me, they both originated from that deep-down hum, that thrumming at the core, the soul-level, that haunts one to act. And in the past, anytime I tried to act on this urge to create, I pulled back.
But if we pull back, if we don’t answer this call, we feel feverish. We feel anxious. We feel off balance.
In turn, if we answer the call, we feel a calming of the waters, we feel the sky after a storm. We feel a form of tranquility and peace.
I say this because I have experienced both extremes.
And I want to be clear to anyone who, like I’ve been in the past (and continue to be in many ways), are lost or confused about their place in the world of writing or creativity or where to start — the fact that you’ve recognized that deep-down hum, that pull toward something is where to start. You’ve already recognized that it’s there. Now it’s time to listen to it.
Bask in it. Grab a notebook, and fill it from page to page with anything you want in the form of a journal or book of sketches or poems or one-liners or whatever. There’s no right way to do this, so don’t get caught up in searching for the “right way to do things.” Just start.
Yes, there are “rules” to writing, and to crafting stories. But those rules are like the foundation of a house. They’re necessary for the structure and for the house to stand strong and last. But how that house is built, what it looks like, what’s inside, who lives there — that’s up to you. That is where the art comes in. And there are resources and guides that are more abundant now than they’ve ever been before. Those will come in time. The point is to start. It is the small actions that amount to big milestones.
My point in all of this?
Your path — regardless of where you are, and regardless of how fog-filled or dim it may seem — is always lit. And you are the lantern. Your words, your art, light the way.
Take a breath, feel it at your core, and move.
Because that’s when the light strengthens and the fog begins to clear.