“Don’t Try to Force It”

This is not in reference to gardening or couponing as I can attest that both can be forced as I have done it many times. I have gone out and pulled weeds or shoveled dirt at 6am on days when all I wanted to do was sleep in after working in the yard until 9pm the night before. I have cut out coupons in the 30 minutes between arriving home from work and leaving for church on Wednesday nights when I really wanted to just sit and kick up my feet. “Don’t try to force it”, rather, refers to something of a completely different nature.

I heard my choir directors throughout the years say this many times. In chorus I was always a Soprano (the higher notes) and not just a Soprano, but a First Soprano (the highest notes). If there was a descant part (even higher than highest notes) I was all over it. I could proudly sing a High C (two lines above the top of the staff!) without breaking a sweat. However, it wasn’t always so easy. In middle school when I was learning to sing those notes so effortlessly I would often stumble and fall, or in the music world, I would squeak out a note or two below the intended note. The first time I would hit a new high note I would feel so proud of myself and the first words out of the director’s mouth were, “Don’t try to force it.” While I had finally hit the note I had not done it with ease and in such the force behind my efforts was audible in the note that I produced. Eventually with enough practice I would get to the point where I would sing the high notes in a song without needing to anticipate them because they came out that naturally.

So why I am I writing about singing? Well, I had forgotten all about these chorus experiences until this past Sunday at choir practice after church. It was my first time being able to attend choir practice. I, of course, joined the Soprano section of the choir and was excited to finally be back in a choir and singing again for the first time in about a year. We only practiced one song, a piece that we will be performing during church in two weeks. On the first run-through I immediately noticed something: a stumble and fall. There is one line in the hymn that has a few “high” notes in a row (never above an E). Because I was taught to sing as a First Soprano I didn’t think of these notes as being high at all, however I quickly realized that some of the other women were afraid of these notes as they are higher than what the choir typically sings. After we rehearsed the song a few times, each time with the same one lady squeaking out a note below the one written, I remembered the words of my choir director in school… “Don’t try to force it.” I quickly explained that you can’t be afraid of the note, you just have to go for it. By the end of the rehearsal she was hitting the note and we all sounded great.

It was only after I got home from church that I realized the application of this lesson to my current life situation. I have not written on my blog in over a month now. I really desire to keep up with it and write regularly, however some times I feel like I just don’t have anything worth sharing with other people. When I first started the blog I had put it off for many months already so I didn’t want to fall out of the routine of writing as quickly as I had tried to get into it. So on my last post I forced myself write the post, and even though I was not at all satisfied with it, I posted it to the blog. I have not been satisfied with it ever since. I just wanted to write so that I could say I had done it, not because I had anything to say. This is where the words of my choir director come in… don’t try to force it! I was forcing myself to write just for the sake of writing. I have felt guilty for not writing on my blog over the past month however this epiphany has allowed me to realize that it’s ok not to write at specific intervals. I don’t know why I hadn’t made the connection before as I do the same thing with my journal writing (yes, I am a 23-year-old who still writes in a journal). I do not write every day. I used to make myself write in my journal every day and some days I would spend an hour writing and then, at the end, realize that I had not written anything of meaning or importance, simply a timeline of the happenings of my day. Now I only write in my journal when I feel impressed that I have something I need to write about, whether it is to clarify my own thoughts, to have to refer back to later, or to be able to pass on to my posterity in the future. I will now apply this same principle to my blog; I will only write when I feel I have something that I want/need to share with others.

Amusingly, since having this revelation on Sunday (only three days ago) I have been inspired of five new blog posts that I am anxious to write (not including this one)! Much of my inspiration has come from this blog that I stumbled upon on Pinterest and have been addicted to for the past three days reading it every spare second I get. It makes me want to do better about writing but has also given me so many new ideas. There is a lot more coming so be on the lookout for all my new posts in the very near future!

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