Joining in with the online discussion on the book “On Being A Writer” by Ann Kroeker and Charity Singleton Craig. Today we are working through Chapter 5: Write.
“A writer who waits for ideal conditions under which to work will die without putting a word to paper.”–E.B. White.
But what do you do when the writing can be the hardest part. Yes, I realize that if I am going to call myself a writer, I must sit down and actually write….but some days that can be so much easier said than done. As the Director of Home and Family Ministry at a church, the words I write might be a sermon, newsletter article, Confirmation lesson etc, so when it’s time to write on the blog that can be hard to do.
As you already know, I still have a hard time calling myself a writer, but I am getting there. My mom has told me stories about how when I was little, I didn’t ask for a toy, but rather pen and paper. I was content to pour my words out in stories and characters even at a young age. Little did I realize what an impact words would have on my life.
Words, in many ways, became my lifeline. In English class, I loved when we had a writing assignment. When I went off to work at SuperAwesomeBibleCamp and told our story of journeying with mental illness for the first time, words became my prayers lifted up to God like hands raised to receive. At seminary, I struggled some. But it was a seminary professor who realized my love of words and poetry that helped me finally pass his class as an independent study. We would tape our conversations, I would go back and listen to them, and then I would come armed with my questions during the next class time.
Words continued to be my oxygen as I used them to share my family’s journey with a mental illness. But it really wasn’t until I joined the Write 31 Days challenge last October, that I realized how powerful my words were for me and for others. It is the one time that I truly sat down and wrote every single day. It is the one time that I felt like I found my sweet spot. It is the one time that I realized how there is so much power in hearing those words “me, too.” In my own words, I was able to breathe easier, because without being able to share my/our story, it felt like I was alone.
Even though I have found that my words do make a difference, there are still so many times when I get distracted; Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. (Can anyone else relate?) I scroll through FB looking for that quote that I saw earlier and want to write about. Before I know it 30 minutes have gone by, I still haven’t found that quote and I still haven’t written ANYTHING. It is so easy to let the world around us distract us too.
Sometimes I think it is so easy to get distracted because I am striving for perfection (Anyone else shake their head at Charity’s words: “The second reason we resist sitting down to work is we want our writing to be perfect!”) I will find anything in my line of sight to help me procrastinate because so often I get caught up in the comparison game. That blog is prettier than mine; she writes so much more eloquently than I do etc. But then I read these words from Charity and I am convicted: “We have something to say that can come only from us.” Only I can tell my story of being a daughter of someone who daily struggles with a mental illness. Only I can tell my story of being a single 36 (SOON to be 37) year old who yearns so very deeply to be a wife and momma. Only I can tell the story of who God has called ME to be.
Trusting in that promise and knowing that my words are valid, perhaps someone just needs to drag me out of my writing chair to show me the surprising places where my words have and will show up!