You Have Something to Say

There's a lie that too many of us tell ourselves. 

It comes up all the time when someone hears that I write. 

"I've always wanted to write," they'll tell me with longing in their eyes. Then the lie comes. "But," they continue, "I don't have anything to say." And my heart aches. 

This lie is one of the greatest killers of art in history. It stops us from starting.

If we don't write like Sandra Cisernos, James Baldwin, John Steinbeck, we think it means we don't have anything to say. Or if we haven't scaled Kilimanjaro, invented the next pumpernickel bread, fought in a war, we think it means we don't have anything to say. 

So, I look in this person's longing eyes. That's not true, I say gently. Then I share my prayer for those who don't think they have anything to say: 

Write about how it feels like you have nothing to say. Write until you see all that you've said about having nothing to say. Don't compound the lie by telling yourself you need a special pen or two hours of uninterrupted time.

The only thing you need to do is decide this: That you will write for no one else but that voice in you that's crying out to write. Even if it's for four minutes on a grocery receipt or 14 minutes while waiting at the bus stop. 

The world needs people who honor that longing in themselves. Please, don't take it to the graveyard with you. 

It's my prayer for them, and my prayer for me, too. For whenever I feel like I don't have anything to say, to offer, to contribute, to create.

In those moments, we have a choice: answer to the lie that has deprived the world of so much creativity, so much courage. Or answer to the longing part of us that quietly calls out the truth: You have something to say. 

May we defy the lie. And may we choose the truth. 

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