I’m just going to start. I tried to think of some fancy – or even coherent – way to put this, but I don’t have those type of words in me. It’s April, and April is the month I focus on writing brave words, which sounds silly because actually it was only one April, last April, in which I spent the month with this focus, and obviously (at least online) this April I’ve written no words at all. But here’s what happened. Last April I sat across from my sister in a coffee shop in Oklahoma and told her where my writing gets stuck. Why I freeze, and why I retreat into an introverted cave for weeks and weeks on end. “I can’t write about that,” I said.
“Yes you can.” She said. “Do it. Tonight.”
Well, I did it. I called it a Brave April and invited you to do it, too, invited you to step out, to take that plunge past whatever loomed as your precipice, to say the words you’ve hidden or own the voice you’ve silenced – you know, basically to take that very next brave step that called your name, whatever it might be.
Some of my favorite writing came out of that month. It was so, so good for my heart.
The experience was positive enough that I almost immediately began planning the next Brave April. I made graphics. I planned give-aways. I penciled out themed weekly challenges, and researched how to do a link-up. For me, as a part of the 30 Day October Writing Community, April falls six months after my last big push, and along with the burgeoning inspiration that always arrives in Spring, is a perfect month to shake something up and do something new. I figured I wasn’t alone in this readiness for a change of pace and mood.
The intent to make something of this Brave April grew as the year went on, but March 31st came and I stared at my screen and I just…couldn’t. I couldn’t. I couldn’t because my family needed me in very real ways. I also couldn’t because writing – and sometimes the inability to write – is a reflection of what is going on in my life and heart. A dammed stream won’t flow, and those stopped up fingers said, “Harmony, there’s something in your life that needs addressed and processed through. Close the computer, and take stock.”
I did. It took me a week to shift my thinking and understand what was going on. By then we were a week into April and I was still hanging onto my idea of writing Brave April posts, but feeling so silly doing so that I again came to my sister.
“I’m finally ready, but it’s April 8,” I said.
“Yes, it is,” she replied. “So you’d better at least write something because you can’t very well call it a Brave April once it’s May!”
No, I can’t. So here’s where I am needing to be brave.
Today is April 19. By the time I publish this, it will be April 20 to most of the world. There’s, like, a week and a half left of April. A whole fabulous week and a half. And I think, you guys – I think this is my Brave April. It’s not the Brave April I thought I would have or the Brave April I wanted to invite you into, but it’s a Brave April in my heart because not writing when I wasn’t supposed to write, was brave. Setting aside a well-seasoned dream because my family and marriage needed me (in a way that blogging couldn’t support) was scary-brave, too. And picking up this computer to write after a hiatus that has lasted far too long – well, to me this is (as silly as it sounds) the bravest bit of all.
“Kabir tells us, ‘wherever you are is the entry point,’ and this is always true with writing. Wherever you are is always the right place. There is never a need to fix anything, to hitch up the bootstraps of the soul and start at some higher place. Start where you are.”
Julia Cameron, The Right to Write
So it’s a Brave April. And I know it still has the potential to be a Brave April for you, too, if you’re needing that kind of a call. If you have a niggle in your mind of a place where courage is required, then perhaps the idea of a time-centered challenge might hold appeal like it does for me. Ten days may be be all that are left to this month, but they are days pregnant with the potential of giving birth to beautiful obedience, growth and life. Turn that corner, take that bull, face those fears!
To me, this is bigger than writing or blogging. I look at a Brave April as an opportunity to live just a bit more courageously, as a concrete chance to choose courage in relationships, callings, responsibilities, difficulties, dreams. We step up a notch, identifying where we’ve held back, where we’ve fudged the truth or hidden our heart. We recognize where we are simply not being brave.
And then we take the hard step we need to take in order to change.