An Instrument of Beauty

By Terry Gassett

Each time I sit down to write, I am sure that I cannot do it again. I am sure that I can’t possibly form words and sentences that will once again translate my soul onto paper. It doesn’t matter how many times I have done it before, or how well written a previous piece might have been, or even how much positive feedback I received, I always freeze when my fingers first touch the keypad.

I remember the same thing happening when I performed at piano recitals as a young woman. Although I had faithfully practiced for months before each event, (until both my professor and I were convinced I was ready to perform), I can still remember my hands freezing at the precise moment of contact between the tips of my fingers and the smooth ivory keys of the baby grand. It was as if I was frozen in time and space, unsure if my brain would remember the sequence of notes, or if it could or would transmit the proper signals at the proper time to motivate my fingers to move across the keys. And if I did manage by some miracle to get the notes and timing right, how would I ever pull off expressing the emotion the piece both demanded and deserved?

Writing and music are both beautiful art forms. Both enhance our world and enrich our experience of it. The birthing process in each is simultaneously beautiful and painful. As an artist struggling to bring forth each new creation, finding myself mired in emotions, which often spans the spectrum from euphoria to despair, is an all too common occurrence.

So why even put myself through such unnecessary angst?? The answer, to me, is simple – because art matters. Because my words matter. .”

I didn’t formally step into my calling as a writer until I was in my mid-fifties. Although I had always written, I never had the courage to call myself one, until I read Jeff Goins’ book, “You Are a Writer.” The truth of those words so resonated with me that I found the courage to proclaim them for myself! Not more than a week after I had, my first article submission was accepted for publication in an online lifestyle magazine.

Here’s why I do it. Here is the reason I sit at the keypad and face the paralyzing fear of failure over and over again: Because words hold power. They have the power to uplift, encourage and heal. They also have the power to tear down, discourage and wound.

As someone who holds words in both her heart and fingers, I am given the privilege and responsibility to use them in a way to speak life to those who read them. Words allow me to share the world as I see it, and to capture the beauty around me that I might otherwise have missed, or might soon forget. I consider it an awesome privilege to share the gift of writing with others in the hope of pointing them towards the often small, mundane, or ordinary gifts that life has to offer.

I consider it a great honor to wield the power of words, not as a sword, but as an instrument; an instrument of beauty that sparks inspiration and creativity, encourages and uplifts, and speaks life, hope and healing to the reader.

And I have found that when I forget about myself and concentrate on being the instrument, the words come. Each and every time.

Author’s Bio:


Terry Gassett, Life Design Coach; Writer. Southern. Sassy.

Lives life somewhere in between a glass of sweet tea and a dash of Tabasco.

Daily breathes in the extraordinary gifts of God on ordinary days, looks for inspiration everywhere, and seeks joy in the journey.

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  1. I love music both in instrumental and lyrical form. Both make me wonder about the thoughts, feelings, and emotions of the creator. Writing is the same, I get to peek into the same thoughts, feelings, and emotions of the writer. Through emotions, I feel we create hits, creative masterpieces. Continue to write in fear and composing great works of art.

    • Thanks for sharing Michelle! Your art pieces and your words in his post are beautiful and so resonated with me! I loved having an insight into your creative process and the mindset behind it. Thank you for reminding me of the precious Gift of Life we are given each and every day and pointing us to the GIVER OF LIFE.
      May you continue to use yours in ways that bring Him Glory and Joy to You and Others!

  2. This is wonderful and so relatable. You perfectly described what it means to be an artist. Brava!

  3. Hi, Terry, I tend to sit down and draw blanks most of the time, then all of a sudden I go into word bursts of song. The fear of starting turns into a flow of pleasure and not wanting to stop, then saddness sets in because I have to stop. I appreciate your openness to share. When we are open about our process, it helps others who do the same feel they are not alone when it comes to writing. Jeff Goins book “The Art of Work” had the same effect on me that “You Are a Writer” did on you. I feel like I have something to say as well. Thank you, John.

    • Hi John – Thank you for you kind words. I love your sentence words “the fear of starting turns into a flow of pleasure and not wanting to stop, then sadness sets in because you have to stop.” What an apt description of the creative process! I am sure you have MUCH to say so please keep sharing those word bursts of song!

  4. Great post, Terry. Even though we’re told by others, you never know just how hard it can be to write until you do it. It’s encouraging to know you aren’t alone!

  5. Hi, Terry. I’m so glad you submitted this to us at Two Drops of Ink. The community grows and is enriched by the words of another. Practicing those scales as a child, I also wondered if I would ever be able to play the Moonlight Sonata, yet, eventually I did.

    I know there are others out there who wonder as they pen a simple sentence if they will ever be able to put enough sentences together to make a post.

    Your post encourages others, by your admission of your fears, and the feelings of accomplishment when you do overcome them and write. When we allow others to understand both the thoughts and feelings, we draw them into the world of writing and from this invitation, we can all find our voices.

    Welcome to the choir!

    • Hi Marilyn – Thank you for your encouragement to do so!
      It’s funny you mentioned Moonlight Sonata – it is one of my favorite pieces by Beethoven! If fact, I was listening to it just last night.
      What a great encouragement your comment is to all of us – to share our thoughts and feelings so others will be drawn in and by so doing, find their voices.
      Oh – a funny aside here – my singing voice is so bad that my choir director in high school promised he would give me an A in class if I would agree to accompany the the choir on piano and keep my mouth closed! I did and my choir teacher kept his word.
      However, I am excited to be able to share my voice here among others in the unique way we each are gifted. And I am grateful for the inviting place this blog is for us to do so!

      • Hi, Terry. I believe that your voice is like mine-better at words than singing. I think to build the community that Scott and I intended when this began, we had and have to extend the invitation, and then let guest contributors know the value they bring. I don’t like cliches, but we all win. Your audience and readers come to read your post, and hopefully, they stay to read another. Our followers get more resources for writing, or are entertained by a guest post.

        Preaching to the choir, but we won’t accomplish our mission if people don’t understand what we do. Too many people struggle going it alone and our approach means no one has to anymore.

        I hope this was just your first, and that you contribute again. We all need to feel a connection to others, for help in improving, knowing how others think and feel about the writing processes, and that someone cares. We do.

        • Hi Marilyn – Probably a good idea for us both to stick to writing and playing Moonlight Sonata, then 🙂
          I love the purpose of this creative space that you and Scott have built, and I am grateful to you for the initial invitation you extended me to submit, as well as your invitation to do so again. I have found much more here than an opportunity to guest post, but an opportunity to meet, learn and grow with fellow writers. You two have definitely created an awesome community here! Thank you!

  6. Terry,
    This is a beautiful description. I feel writing is art, as much so as my painting, and that the process is much the same. My husband is a musician and he says similar things. You have powerfully expressed the exact sentiment of an ARTIST…the fear and the fun…the possible and the powerful. Thank you for your words! Welcome to Two Drops of Ink!

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