Monday, October 14, 2019

The Heart of the Matter: A Writer's Barbaric Yawp

by Peter Leavell

You closed your laptop and turned your back on writing.

Over the weeks, months, years, you worked through churning emotions.

Powerful things, those emotions. I won’t call them bad. Nor are they good. They just are. They’re with you, sometimes they even feel they are you, and sometimes they act like a bad friend whispering lies—that you are the sum of your feelings.

You long for peace. What’s better than walking on a cool fall day wrapped in a comfortable sweeter, the sun splashing on the vibrant leaves? Some emotions are walking beside you as a friend.

Emotional Struggle Isn’t the End

The emotions that drew you away from writing didn’t destroy your writing path. They didn’t kill your need to write—it's a giveaway because you're reading a writing blog. Instead, the fears, doubts, and concerns about self pulled you away. The path is still there. The necessity to put words on paper remains, battling with the emotions.

The self-doubt and fear are entirely justified. We all feel those things. We all endure them. Sometimes it feels as if doubt’s fingers are around our throat. And yet, we still breathe. One breath. Then another.

One word. And then another.

Our hearts beat with pain because someone won an award. Someone has a book you could never imagine creating—one you spent all night reading. You can’t be that writer. You can’t do that writing. The agent told you so. That’s what the rejection slip is saying. You’ll never be good enough.

The rejection slip broke your heart. But did it break your will? Maybe. But why are you still thinking about writing? A part of you died. It’s true. You have to admit that to yourself. But yet, a broken heart beats. And a rejection slip burns. Or it’s framed as a trophy. And the writing beckons from ancient voices far deeper than your heart, far deeper than your mind.

One word. And then another.

You scribble:


That’s a word. Wrap your arms around yourself. You. You are a body. You exist. You matter, you are matter, and this matters. Unwrap your arms. You wrote one word. And now, it’s time for the next word. This is important. Are you ready?

Here’s your word:


The fingers around your throat, the rejection slip stabbing, the unheard cries of recognition of any kind tie your hands behind your back. And yet, you’ve put something on paper that matters, that connects with your soul. And mine. Tell me. What do you do? Despite the pain, frustration, heartache, what is it that will lift your hand towards the sun and makes your voice scream to the
universe? Because I do the same.

I write.

The writing is in you, whether you've closed your laptop or turned your back to it. And that makes us brothers and sisters. Keep writing.

The rejection slip broke your heart. But did it break your will? @peterleavell #writerslife #seriouslywrite

What do I do if I've left writing and want to come back? @peterleavell #seriouslywrite #writerslife

You are a body. You exist. You matter, you are matter, and this matters. Write. @peterleavell #seriouslywrite #writerslife

Peter Leavell, a 2007 graduate of Boise State University with a degree in history and currently enrolled in the University's English Lit Graduate program, was the 2011 winner of Christian Writers Guild's Operation First Novel contest, and 2013 Christian Retailing's Best award for First-Time Author. A novelist, blogger, teacher, ghostwriter, jogger, biker, husband and father, Peter and his family live in Boise, Idaho. Learn more about Peter's books, research, and family adventures at