When is the last time you intentionally sat down and wrote something?
I’m going to be honest, I haven’t written creatively for a while. There have been a few fits and starts, but as a whole my writer’s well has felt a little dry lately. It can be hard to get back in the groove after taking some time off. Life happens, and it’s left me wondering: Where do I go from here? I found my answer, of all places, in a pair of bright-eyed fourth graders.
My workplace recently hosted a group of fourth graders who came to interview the staff about their jobs and learn about different careers. I was interviewed as a “Professional Writer” by two initially shy and then unapologetically enthusiastic girls who, after a little prompting, shared their love of stories with me. (We may have gone down a bit of a rabbit hole with that one, so I probably wasn’t the best example of an on-task professional, but we got around to finishing their questions eventually.)
Hearing them talk about why they enjoyed writing, and how they loved to tell stories about people and struggles and imaginative worlds, made me hopeful about my own work. It reminded me that there are little girls out there who are still recklessly hungry to share their creativity, voices, and thoughts with a world that could learn something from them. And isn’t that what storytelling is all about?
Fourth grade was when I really started pouring myself into my stories, too. As I got older, I didn’t realize how easy it could be to have the desire to share my voice dampened. Don’t get me wrong, the desire for stories is always there, but sometimes it takes a fresh perspective, or a reminder of their purpose, to kickstart inspiration again.
All of this is to say that, when we as writers feel like we’re falling a bit flat, I think it’s important to remember and be encouraged by why we are telling the stories we tell, and who we are telling them for. Because there are wide-eyed little girls (and boys, of course) learning about life by watching us and by reading the stories we hand to them. Let’s make it worth their while.