I have some mean friends. They know I have zero resistance when it comes to leaving a gift unwrapped until Christmas. They add warning signs – “mitts off till Dec 25” – or leave packages with other friends to deliver on the day. The problem may be genetic; my mother was the same. All I know is, the sight of that pretty wrapping around an intriguing shape gets my adrenaline pumping. I have to know what’s inside. But it’s not all bad. Think of the extra days I get to enjoy knowing that someone cared enough to send me the gift.
Just as many others happily let the gift sit under the tree, perhaps feeling or shaking the package and trying to guess what’s inside. To each their own, I say.
But what if you never opened the gift?
Most of us would never do that. But what about the gifts we’re born with? Like the talent to create, whether it’s via painting, sculpting, making movies or writing stories?
Make no mistake, this is a gift. Written words may be only scratchy marks on a page or screen. Yet they can carry us to strange lands, make us laugh or cry, keep us up all night to find out what happens next, and above all, make us care about people who’ve never existed.
If you have this gift, you may know it. At school you loved writing essays, possibly struggled through maths and science but felt at home with the written word. Your work may have been printed in school magazines or read out to the class.
But what have you done with that gift since then? Did you put it to one side, thinking an ordinary person couldn’t become a writer? That it was a foolish dream, and anyway, writing wouldn’t pay your bills? EVERY writer in history was told the same thing. If we’d all listened, there would be no Bible, no Beowulf, no Canterbury Tales, Hamlet, Narnia, Hogworts or Hunger Games. And the world would be poorer for that.
If you were given the gift of writing and have put it aside, unwrap it as your Christmas gift to yourself. Nourish your gift by writing a few words every day. After the holidays, resolve to enter a writing competition or join a writing group where your gift will be welcomed and even applauded.
And take to heart the words of Thomas Wolfe, in his autobiographical book, The Web and the Rock:
If we have a talent and cannot use it, we have failed.
If we have a talent and use only half of it, we have partially failed.
If we have a talent and learn somehow to use all of it,
We have gloriously succeeded and won a satisfaction and
a triumph few individuals ever know.
Have a happy and blessed holiday and thanks for reading this blog.
Join me for First Monday Mentoring on January 6.
Meantime, share your thoughts on the gift of writing in the comment box below.
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