I used to write prolifically. I loved it. I loved the thrill of a plot coming together. I loved being able to develop characters, get into their heads, be part of their lives. Then something happened that has changed the course of my writing career.
Only recently have I begun to understand just how much of an impact one event has had in shaping who I have become as a writer. My writing mentor died in October, 2007. It’s hard to believe this year will be twelve years, especially when I consider the drastic change her death brought about.
I stopped writing.
I wrote papers for college and reports for work. My writing was quality and infused with the creativity I once brought to the table. But I stopped writing for writing’s sake. That used to be my favorite thing. Good day. Bad day. Weird day. It didn’t matter, I wrote. I journaled. I emailed. I wrote stories and poems. I dreamed up new lands and characters. And then I didn’t.
Only now, almost 12 years later, can I answer that question. My mentor communicated with the writer in me. My friends and family up to this point have done a remarkable job of understanding that the writer exists. They talk about the writer. They give the writer room to breathe and exist and have her whims. If you know any writers, you know what my friends and family have had to deal with when it comes to a writer and her whims. They have been patient and kind; they’ve offered the writer a voice. But they haven’t spoken to the writer.
Part of communicating with the writer is to give her a challenge, a deadline, pressure to perform and permission to fail. Until my husband started encouraging me to pursue writing and hearing my heart as I have tried to figure out why that is such a difficult thing, I didn’t have anyone doing those things for me. People tried now and then, but I have learned that it’s pretty common for writers to be unfocused and undisciplined. A gentle prod now and then isn’t going to cut it. We need someone to really put that pressure on. My husband, as I discuss my struggles, has begun to be that person, putting pressure on.
It’s a weird place for both of us. He’s so patient and kind with me that he worries he might push too hard. And I worry I will push too hard back; I am, after all, a bit bull headed. But the wonderful thing is that we are trying. We are pursuing this path together; he supports me and encourages me and pushes me. And I am getting to a point where I am embracing the discomfort of putting myself out there. Instagram, a website, sharing my writing, these are all things that are difficult for me to do. But I think writing is like any other muscle. If you don’t use it, it atrophies. You have to make a conscious effort to exercise it in order for it to get stronger. So while it’s not easy for me to be on this journey, I am doing it because I want my writing muscle to get stronger.
I’m not looking to make a quick, easy buck. If I publish and it flops, oh well. I will learn from it and grow. It won’t be easy. But as you will learn as I share our story, we don’t really know how to have an easy life. It has grown our faith in God, our marriage, and our character.
Thanks for taking the time to join me on this journey.