As a writer, words are my stock in trade. I sit at my keyboard and type away, and put into the world a new fictional story, self-help and personal development ideas, inspiration, motivation, philosophy, or whatever else comes to mind.
While I know some people find writing to be super-challenging, for the most part I find writing super-fulfilling. For the most part. Yet like every writer I know, sometimes it is less easy, and far more convoluted and complex.
While there are times sitting down to write is a matter of calm consideration, other times it is more like combat. You face the words, and they appear to be armed and particularly contentious. Thus, you may find the need for wrestling words into submission.
What does that even mean?
Sometimes the words flow like a fast-moving river. Other times, the words eddy in a stagnant pool, unmoving and indistinguishable from one another. Still other times, they are like an oncoming tidal wave.
In other words, there are times when writing comes easily and times where it is challenging.
For some people writing is a hobby, and they just write when the muse is upon them. But as a writer, I write daily. So if the muse isn’t sitting at my shoulder, I still need to work with the words.
This is not about forcing the words to flow. They are always present. It’s about shifting them, wrestling them, like assembling a puzzle or sculpting a lump of clay.
Words are in many respects living organisms. The power of words to evoke thoughts and feelings, deep or shallow, is immeasurable because they tend to strike at the subconscious long before the conscious.
Don’t believe me? Go online and scroll through Facebook or Twitter for a while. Chances are you will, before you realize it, feel something you did not set out to feel. Why? Because words you came across in a meme or news article or someone’s feed set up shop in your psyche.
This is why sometimes wrestling words into submission is not just about what I am writing, but what I am experiencing.
When I was younger I had a tendency to speak my mind frequently. I would spit out what was in my head, little thought to the power of my words. Overall I am much more measured in what I say and write — but I still get it wrong, too.
Recently I said something that was thrown back at me because of its inappropriateness. While participating in a fencing melee (this is medieval rapier combat in teams — like 150 on one side versus — in this instance — 220 on the other side) I noted an opponent who ignored what I thought was a perfectly valid shot. Walking away to “resurrect,” I made a comment along the line of, “well if he won’t take that shot, maybe I need to hit him harder.”
A teammate walking back with me admonished me. “That’s not the right approach at all. If you ramp up your calibration you’re just as bad as the guy not taking the shot in the first place, and part of the problem. You are setting a bad example.”
I could argue, in my defense, that I was not serious about that statement. But that’s not what matters. What matters is it was inappropriate, and I should not have said it, in jest or otherwise. I replied to my teammate, “Yes, you’re right…I should not be saying such things.”
Words matter. If you do not think about what you are saying, or writing, you can have an unintentional impact. The consequences of my words could be tied to inappropriate actions, and that doesn’t do myself nor anyone else any good.
Wrestling words into submission also translates to think before you speak or type. This is because mindfulness matters.
Mindfulness and words
The power of words in your own head is not something to be ignored. What you are thinking about will impact how and what you feel. Since there is nobody inside your head but you, it’s important to recognize how much your words matter.
If you do not think well of yourself, chances are you say unkind things to yourself. That can get particularly insidious, in especial if you are dealing with depression, anxiety, and the like. Here is where wrestling words into submission takes on yet another meaning.
Changing what you say and think about yourself can be extremely challenging. Why? Because you likely do so much of that in your subconscious. That means it gets rooted particularly deeply, which makes digging it out far more difficult. Your inner dialogue can make or break where you are working on going with your life — so getting ahold of this is super important.
That’s why being mindful of what you are thinking and feeling matters. When you put your thoughts and feelings into words, you have the power to influence, alter, control and change them at will. It takes effort and work to wrestle those words into submission, but the end result is totally worthwhile, just as you are worthwhile.
Wrestling words can be fun
Because I enjoy my work, and I love writing, even when wrestling the words to sit as I want them to, the writing process can be fun. Wrestling words into submission can lead to some interesting new places, unexpected finds, and unique ideas I may not have otherwise created.
That’s the thing about words. They can make and destroy worlds, raise and cut-down people, incite peace or war, and move you to action or inaction. Words are the basis of much of human thought, which leads to feeling, both of which lead to actions. Knowing your words can help you know your intent, and allow you to make choices to better your life.
The practice of wrestling words into submission can be joyful or painful at times, but it can make the difference between living the best, most exciting life you can and letting life live you. This applies to every form words take in your life.
Finally, it’s important to acknowledge that you are worthy and deserving of putting the words into place. Whatever form that takes, you can get those words where the need to be, so that you can be the best you possible.
Thank you for reading these words I wrestled into place here and taking part in my ongoing journey. Thank you for joining me.
You are worthy and deserving of using your mindfulness to find and/or create the reality in which you desire to live. When all is said and done, you matter, and you deserve to wrestle the words into whatever place they belong.
Originally published at http://www.mjblehart.com on August 16, 2019.