I just finished devouring Glennon Doyle’s memoir Love Warrior.
I identify with so much of what Glennon writes. To give an extremely limited snapshot for anyone who hasn’t read her books or explored her blog, Momastery, Glennon experienced bulimia and alcoholism for many years. She had what sounds like a spiritual awakening when she became pregnant with her son in her mid-twenties and has been sober ever since. She writes about love, family, suffering, pain, rising, God, and humanity. Her writing radiates with strength and honesty.
I actually hadn’t even heard Glennon’s name until she married Abby Wambach, one of my fave USWNT soccer stars. This makes me laugh. You can be talented, successful, famous – but I won’t become a fan until you marry a gay icon. LOL.
My story is similar to Glennon’s. The food/body stuff. The alcohol stuff. There’s a lot of overlap between the things I think and write about and the things Glennon writes about.
I don’t presume to know what’s inside Glennon’s mind. I barely understand my own thoughts. But some of the similarities in our stories make me think about acceptance, insecurity, self-consciousness, internalizing behaviors, ways we cope. My thoughts have been swirling ever since reading Love Warrior and Glennon’s first book, Carry On Warrior, which I actually liked even better than her memoir.
I started my blog in 2015 when I was in the middle of a really difficult time in my life. The blog saved me a little every day. Writing saved me a little every day. Glennon writes, “Reading is my inhale and writing is my exhale.” She also writes, “I am happiest when I have finished an essay that says what I mean.”
I love this. All of this. I also adore the way Glennon describes her creative process. (I’m quoting her post, but you can read the full text here!)
I get an idea. It feels like a little seed inside of me, taking root.
It start growing and growing and maturing and gets so big it starts pushing out of me. I love this part I love, I love, I love this part. I feel so FULL. Kind of like I really, really have to pee. Ready to explode. This is the BEFORE.
Then, when I can’t take the beautiful pressure anymore—I sit down at the computer and it comes out. It pours out onto the screen and the good news is: Now it’s out. The bad news is: It looks like crap. So I have to work. Hours and hours of work is what turns a pouring out into actual art. THIS IS THE DURING.
When it’s finally art, I read it. I see that it’s good, because I answered the call. Then push it out into the world. I give it away.
THERE IS NO AFTER.
It’s not time to follow my art around, making sure everyone gets it. It’s not mine to protect. I gave it away.
Now it’s time to REST.
So I rest and wait for the BEFORE TO START AGAIN. I wait for the pressure to start to build again.
All the magic of art is in the BEFORE, THE DURING, and the REST.
I love this. I’ve been thinking a lot about how to work writing and creativity into my daily life. And the best luck I’ve had has been following a process similar to this. I don’t have six-hour-long blocks of time to sit down at a computer and write and write and write, as much as I’d like to.
But I can let little ideas bubble up in my mind, and get curious about them, and maybe scribble down a line or two throughout the day. And then – and then – when I finally do get an hour with my laptop, I can let loose and let the words fly onto the page.
Here is just one more of the many Glennon quotes that I want to remember:
About spirituality and faith: “I teach them that faith is not a club to belong to but a current to surrender to. I teach them that they’ll know they’re in the current when they are becoming kinder and gentler and more open and grateful and when they feel constantly carried toward people they fear so they can fall in love and stop being afraid.”