Student Stories: Jessica Cudzilo /// A Blinking Cursor

“There’s a secret that real writers know that wannabe writers don’t, and the secret is this: It’s not the writing part that’s hard. What’s hard is sitting down to write. What keeps us from sitting down to write is Resistance.”

– Steven Pressfield in The War of Art

There’s freedom found when you stumble upon someone’s words that feel as if they were meant for only you. And there’s freedom found in accepting that their words aren’t just for you. There is a whole people group who need to hear those words. You are not alone.

Writing is my lifeline. When I sit down at my computer and open up a blank document, cursor blinking, I see it as a fresh invitation to take all that is swirling in my brain and organize it. What needs to stay and what needs to go is found as letters begin to make their way across my screen. Writing has often offered me freedom from depression and anxiety. Writing has often offered me the opportunity to escape, even if I am sitting on my bed as my children are sleeping.

Resistance is a mighty force. I know this is true. Babies and nightly interrupted sleep and daytime chaos was enough to cause a rift in my habits. When the sleep returned and the chaos lessened I returned to my computer to find the blinking cursor feeling like the weight of a million bricks. I didn’t know where to start. I didn’t know what to say. I didn’t know what not to say. I was paralyzed.

Fast forward through years of internal battle, and grace brought along Amy Messenger’s class Your Spirit in Words + Imagery. With low expectations of myself, I registered. I figured if I stayed paralyzed forever at least I could say I tried. Two days after the intro letter was sent out I was woken in the middle of the night with her class on my mind. I decided then and there I would dive head first and full on during my four weeks with her.

Hot tears fell down my cheeks as I read her first lesson. How did she know just what I needed to hear? Of course, it wasn’t just me. There was a small group of us and we were in it together.

The next four weeks brought about incredible insights and just like that the paralysis waned and the cursor again become an invitation.

Her class is not only beautifully written, it is incredibly needed. I do not say this lightly: it changed my life and I will forever be grateful for the opportunity to learn from her from the comfort of my home.

Our four-week class Your Spirit in Words + Imagery is open for registration through October 30th. Learn more and register here.


Jessica Cudzilo lives in Knoxville, TN with her husband and two daughters. She’s the founder of DEFINE and one of our original teachers, and now happily “just a student” who spends her days schooling her girls at home with a daily goal of scoring an afternoon nap. You can find her writing at

Our “Student Stories” are just a few of the many testimonials and stories of growth we hear about from students in our community, along with some magnificent work. We hope you’re as inspired by these as we are.

2 thoughts on “Student Stories: Jessica Cudzilo /// A Blinking Cursor

  1. Love this Story!!! Will register for Amy’s course since I couldn’t take it before. I have a question both for you snd Amy: one of my writing teachers, a journalist in Venezuela that taught a course in creative non fiction asked me once why did I love posting pics with my pieces? He asked me if I didn’t trust my texts enough that I felt the need to lean on an Image? I was left feeling incomplete!

    • Janine, hi! Thanks for the comment! That’s a great question. I would guess you weren’t ‘leaning’ on your images as much as they were simply a medium of expression, hand in hand with your writing. Of course we can post words & paragraphs without photos, and vice versa, but for me (& it sounds like for you too) imagery and words really are beautiful pieces woven together, as parts of a whole. It’s the way I see the world around me, and maybe most importantly: a way of expression I as a artist want to share. Thanks for sharing. I hope you can join us for the November class!

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