Those Four Little Words

A black binder full of my poetry sits on the bottom shelf of my bookcase…

A bound copy of a poetry anthology sits on that shelf as well with one of my poems published in it….

(Both items hidden away so others will not see them!)

A blog post of mine has been shared by the ELCA on their site “Living Lutheran”…

And I have two blogs….one specifically for my writing and the other being my main blog.

Yet I still only can seem to muster the words, “Oh I like to write” OR “Writing and/or Blogging is a Hobby.” But I still do not and cannot seem to identify myself as a writer!

When I was little, my mom said I was a kid who was happy with pen and paper and not with toys. I was content to sit and pour words out onto a page for others to read. As I got older, I loved my creative writing classes and my English classes which led to me getting a Communications degree when I headed off to college. I have a degree in Communications with an emphasis in Journalism and an English minor.

One would think that those credentials in and of themselves would qualify me and help me to identify as a writer…but they don’t. I still struggle to find those words: “I am a writer!” So often I find that I get caught up in the comparison game. So and so’s blog is so much better and prettier than mine. So and so writes more eloquently than I do. But what I need to remember is that it isn’t about comparing my words to others because my words are simply that: “my own words”.

Several years ago, I joined a writing group at my local library. I was excited to meet new people outside of work and was hoping to share my words with others and hone my craft. One evening, I chose to share a poem I had written sharing my families struggle with mental illness. As I finished reading, one of the other participants lit into me: “Do your family members know what you are writing about? How dare you write about this subject?” I ran out of that room as quickly as possible, put on my coat, and ventured out in the bitter North Dakota cold straight to my car. I opened the door and sat down in the driver’s seat where the tears immediately began to flow. I picked up my cell phone and dialed the number for my colleague. I was crying so hard by the time he answered the phone that he had to tell me to breathe. This woman had literally taken the wind out of my sails and I now questioned even more if God was calling me to write; let alone be a writer.

Over the next several days, weeks, months, and years, I have had to learn from that experience. I have realized that so often my words have been words of healing for me…and for others and not words of pain. I have come to realize that for me often my words have been the bravest words I have shared because they have opened up my own vulnerability.  I have come to also realize that my words embody my story and continually remind me of who and whose I am. I have also come to realize that my words are a gift from God! And trusting in that gift, I am trying to find the courage to utter those four simple words “I am a writer!”

I’ll admit that more often than not I have a hard time receiving this gift, but the truth is that God has empowered so many of us to write. I hear others including my friends and family call me a writer, but I still have a hard time believing them. Their words are gift, yet so often I don’t hear them at all. My ears need to be open to hearing the voice of God proclaiming to me and to so many of us “You are indeed a writer. I gifted you to be able to share your story through words. Your words are not a waste!”

It is extremely scary and vulnerable to utter those four simple words. Yet as dear Holley Gerth states: “Be courageous and write in a way that scares you a little.” So even though it still scares me to let those four simple words come out my mouth, I am going to lean into them, keep writing and continue saying them until hopefully I believe them for myself.


I am linking up with my favorites today–Kate Motaung and her series On Being A Writer, Holly Barrett and Testimony Tuesday, Kelly and the RaRa Linkup, Holley and Coffee for Your Heart, and Jennifer and Tell His Story.



30 thoughts on “Those Four Little Words

  1. Loved how you started this piece off! Wonderful insight, and beautiful words. You are, indeed, a writer. I'm excited to be a part of this group discussion with you and look forward to reading more!

  2. Funny how several of us started with poetry 🙂 We're all learning that we ARE writers… love this line: "I'll admit that more often than not I have a hard time receiving this gift, but the truth is that God has empowered so many of us to write." You're RIGHT, it IS a gift! Oh Lord help us to not hide this gift under a bushel, but let us shine this gift to your glory!!!

  3. it made me so sad that you had gone out of your way to share your heart and someone attacked you for it. Oh dear…I hope that they don't speak those kind of words to others. THank you for being a place of encouragement dear Tara. you see the gift in others and encourage it, and in turn we are letting you know you TOO are gifted. I pray that your anthology and book of poetry sees the light of day. I used to write poems daily. I don't so much…but when something powerful grips me its usually the only way that I can often work through things. You are given your voice and we are thankful you are sharing it. love you girl.

    • I agree…I too hope they don't speak those kind of words to others either. The individual actually left early too. I was so thankful for the coordinator of the writing group who came out and told me not to let her words hurt me. She was like you have something worth sharing. The book of poetry sometimes sees the light of day…but not very often! Love you too girl!!

  4. Tara,
    Yes…You are a writer…and I'm sorry to hear that person lit into you when you shared something so vulnerable…You're brave and definitely a writer 🙂 Keep being brave and keep writing 🙂

  5. You ARE a writer! I so relate to your feelings and often clam up about the little writing gift. God is teaching me to receive the gift and embrace His equipping. I don't have a problem admitting He blessed me with hazel eyes…I shouldn't be ashamed of anything else He gives either. 😉

  6. Tara – You. Are. A. Writer. I know it's hard not to compare to others – especially when you link and read and comment. But each writer has a unique gift – some write with flowing eloquence, some with stunning clarity, some with gentle humor, some with home-y-ness and comfort. You? You write with honesty, from the heart. Blogging is sometimes a difficult world – not all of your readers leave comments… you are reaching more people than you know. And your message is one of encouragement and truth. I stopped by today because I wanted to visit you – the writer – the one whose thoughts I wanted to read. Own it. You are a writer.

  7. I am so sorry you had to experience that horrible rejection of your words and your vulnerable offering. I write poetry in secret, too ;). I have a hard time thinking of myself as a writer. May God continue to bless you and use your words to reach others, my friend! You ARE a writer!

  8. Ah, without fear there would be no need for courage. Thank you for sharing your courageous action–that being tears, then continuance. Also, I feel very sorry for the person who assailed you. Reminds me of a favorite C.S. Lewis: "The suddenness of the provocation does not make me an ill-tempered man, it only shows me what an ill-tempered man I am." Wonder what caused his pain?

    • John, thanks for stopping by. I love your first line because you are so right..without fear there would be indeed no need for courage. I like that CS Lewis quote. I wondered too what caused this individual's pain.

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