Stuck Between Courage and Will

December 28, 2016

It’s hard to say which I’ve been losing more of: my courage to write or my will to write. I can’t say it’s a lack of ideas, although writer’s block doesn’t necessarily mean a loss of ideas. In all my life, I’ve never been unable to generate ideas; my head is constantly filled with them. While overload of ideas might be a problem, I’m not sure that the case with me at this time. Thinking it over, I’ve narrowed it down to lack of courage and lack of willpower. They are subtle, but there are differences.

Courage is easier to define. It’s having the balls not just to write whatever comes to mind, damn the critics—both inner and outer—but also the balls to do it regularly. It’s not the same courage that it takes to put on a uniform, pick up a gun, and fight for your country; it’s the courage to put thoughts to paper or posts to prevent countries from going to war. That and every bit of sentiment and emotion from there on down. Willpower is the practice itself. It’s the daily effort to stare down a blank page or screen until your eyes bleed or you start writing, whichever comes first. The more often you do it the easier it gets and the more reflexive it becomes.

Mine has always been a struggle between courage and will. There are days I have the time and abililty to write, but my inner voices have me silenced. Other days I know exactly what to say, but get swamped, exhausted, distracted, or all three at once. The end result is the same: months without any writing output and occasionally forced to produce on a deadline. And all that while writing becomes fearful, less instinctive, and less productive.

It’s not effortless to write this, but it’s not easy. This isn’t what I should be writing now, but it’s what I can put out now. I’ve been underusing muscles, not only in the gym, but in my mind. My knees are bothering me, but that can be healed with rest and physical therapy. My stagnation is bothering, but the only way to fix that is to write a little bit at a time. Hopefully I can heal myself, body and mind, eventually.

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2 Responses to “Stuck Between Courage and Will”

  1. This was so…Me, right now. For different reasons, but so true nevertheless. Shared on my blog, Twitter, FB. I have found that wether it is writing or engaging in that effort to recover and get out of the hospital bed again with chronic illness, courage and will often ebb and flow at odd intersections with life. You captured that here, and spoke in a way I cannot. Thank you, David.

  2. Lara said

    Im very familiar with the chasm which exists between courage and will, as well as all the minutae which collectively creates that chasm. I live under the illusion that I have courage in abundance. I’m outspoken, I share my thoughts freely in conversation, I’m passionate about forgiveness of what I call the human condition, I enjoy that side of me that can offer alternative perspectives, I believe in belief, I have faith in faith, I love in the way of agape because the very core of me truly knows that this is a good and achievable way to coexist on this planet. It takes courage to be a bit different, to have ideas which challenge all that our society insists is a truth – THE truth.
    But do I really have the courage I think I do? I forgive others knowing I am unlikely to be forgiven in the same way. I offer alternative perspectives to those I know are unable (or not yet ready) to consider the possibility of their validity. I offer my belief, faith, and love to those who cannot yet possibly fathom the power which is held within.
    Is this really courage when I offer such gifts in places which cannot further its growth? Why am I silent in the arenas which will promote the cyclical growth of giving and receiving of such positive and stimulating engergy?
    I can only imagine it is linked to yet more self depracating behavior at which I have become expert over the years. I hurt when I’m not heard, I feel lonely when I am not understood by others, I feel isolated when I struggle to find others who engage with the world in a similar way as I do.
    But because I lack the courage with which I pad my high horse, I have excluded myself from such circles. Perhaps I fear that power I have which I know I do not own and doesn not emanate from me personally.
    I fear that that the powers that be (for me this is God) have made a mistake in entrusting me with such a grace. I have a view of myself which is summed up by the following phrase – ‘…couldn’t organise a piss up in a brewery.’. I keep looking around me wondering if They know I haven’t got a bloomin’ clue as to what to do with all of this which is gifted to me.
    True courage will be when I step into the appropriate arena, one which can effect change.
    So perhaps here are my first fledgling steps.
    I am hoping that my will will follow on with gentle encouragement from like minded souls.
    With kindness, PhePhe

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