I’m shy, well introverted. I’m anxious.I’m over emotional, I overthink things. Sometimes I over-react and rant. We all express ourselves in different ways. I write. Not everyone is going to read this. Not everyone is going to agree or care about what I have write or say or do. That is okay. For those of you that do. Thank you, It means alot.
“Have compassion for yourself when you write .There is no failure-just a big field to wander in.” – Natalie Goldberg
Part 1: How it Started
I remember it was in the fourth grade. A fellow student had written a fictional story about her friends and what their lives would be like in the future. She let me read some. I thought it was cool and ” Hey I can do that too.” So I wrote my own version about my own friends. My friends seemed to like them even though the stories weren’t very realistic. I think I filled at least 5 notebooks, that I still have somewhere.
It wasn’t until 8th grade that I started writing stories with my own fictional chararcters. It was about two friends that go on a roadtrip across Canada.I think I was doing a social studies report on Canada so I thought I’d create a story from that.
I wrote another story for an english assignment about an archaeologist and her crew working on a temple in Eygpt. There was mystery ,action, and characters I really enjoyed writing about. Both of these stories needed more research , but I had fun writing them.
I also wrote poems , and even though I was not that good at public speaking I would still read them for special occassions at church and that was my first experince sharing my work with people that were not my family or close friends. It felt good.
High school, I mainly revised the stories about my friends trying to make them more realistic and changing stuff that didn’t work, keeping stuff I liked. I did not really write too many orginal stories during this time. When I graduated highschool , I did not think about going to college for writng, or trying to write as a career. I saw it as just a hobby.
During the summers I worked as a counselor at summer camp. I was the drama and puppet leader and many times I would re-write and write skits for the kids to preform. They got mixed reviews and it did take a lot of my free time. However, it was fun, I loved camp and it was a rewarding job. Yet, camp only lasted for a season and I would need to figure out what I was going to do .
Eventually, after much prayer and sound advice I went to college in the fall of 2008. I only planned on going for one year, but I made friends and felt that I needed to continue going and get my bachelors. When I wasn’t doing homework or hanging out with friends I would write some,but nothing special.
It wasn’t until one day I was sitting next to my friend in class and happened to peek to see what she was writing. The first line got my attention
The bell rang over her head as she entered through the shop door to get out of the rain pouring outside.”
I read the rest of what she wrote and said, ” You are a off to a good start.” She knew I like to write and handed it to me, ” Your turn. Pick up where I left off and we will switch back and forth.” So we did, and even added a third friend to the mix. After a while I got to thinking, ” This is fun , but it needs to flow, they have different personalities.” so they suggested instead of one character to make them twin sisters instead. One good and one bad. Soon I realized I was writing more and more and they were writng less. I apologized, but they assured me that it was okay for me to take over. I did and let them read it after. To this day that has been one of my favorite stories.
Graduation came and again I did not know what to do with my life , camp had been my only job . I thought I should keep doing that and maybe some day open my own camp. I even got a job at a camp that operated more than just in the summer, and I hoped to get a full time postion. It did not work that way. Somehow I knew that doing camp full time was not for me, I was not as energetic as I had been when I was younger and was not as excited as I once had been. I did not feel fully dedicated to make it my career. That chapter of my life came to a close, and I felt lost.
This led to one of the longest low points of my life…
Part 2 Writing and God kept/keep me sane
“The life of a writer is a lonely day to day battle waged largely against oneself.” -John Tullius
So I was a single, 20 something, with no job, who lived withher parents. A loser in my eyes and I assumed in everyone else’s eyes too. It seemed like,in no time at all everyone (literally) started asking me ” Now what are your plans?” ” You know you need a job right?!” ” I hear Mcdonalds is hiring” and so on. I know people were just trying to be helpful, but it was overwhelming, frustrating and annoying. I was well aware off all of that , but did not mean I wanted to listen to it or do what they suggested.I was selfish and prideful. I thought since I was a college graduate I was entitled to be picky about where I should work , even though I couldn’t afford to be picky. I became apathetic and extremely depressed. I was bitter toward people whose lives were going better than mine. I hated hearing about people getting engaged,married, buying homes , and having babies -all things that I wanted , but didn’t have. I felt like I did not have friends at times or that they were sick of my miserable attitude.
It was easier for me to throw a pity party than actually work hard, put myself out there,stop comparing myself to others, and be the person I needed to be to achieve those things. It took me along time to come to that realization.I’m still working on that actually.
“If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined he will meet with success unexpected in common hours.” -Henry David Thoreau
One day, I got a letter in the mail from Long Ridge Writer’s Group. I forgot I had wrote a story to try to join their program. I had been accepted, so after my parents got on board I sent my reply with my first payment. A short time later, I recieved a package with the books, and materials I needed to do the eight assignments. They were geared to help a person be published in a magizine. I also got assigned a mentor to help critique my work and guide me through the process. I was excited to work on, submit, and get feed back on my what I wrote. I had a goal and I was moving forward . I was happy.
I only had a couple more assignments and left when I fell behind and I did not have money for payments. I got a letter of concern , but they had to give me a deadline and if it was not met I was out of the program. I did not meet it.
That spring my grandfather passed away and sorrow set in. Yet, despite all the sadness God was at work.
“Life is God’s novel; let God write it.” -Issac Bashevis
It was a wake up call for me to get my life back on track. God had started to soften my heart. I started reading my Bible and praying more. I kept a faith journal. I even started to get more involved in church. I allowed God to work in my life and I let go a lot of things that were holding me back.
Last summer, I got a job and faced my fears and passed my driver’s test. I would never would of been able to do it with out God and lot’s of prayer. Things had fallen into place. God had given me peace.
Part 3 More than a Hobby
“Your attitude is everything.Believe in yourself and trust your material. To be a successful writer ,write every single day,whether you feel like it or not. Never, never give up, and the world will reward you beyond your wildest dreams.” -Alex Haley
So it has been a year now. I have a job, but I still am not married or have kids. I still want those things, but until those things happen there is no reason I cannot try and get published. Not for fame or cash, but because I want to and need to. To share something with others, to make a connection. Maybe touch a life and make a difference some how. That means to not just talk about it, but to do it. A page or just a paragraph is better than nothing. Each word is a step closer. It’s time to take that risk.
“Every accomplishment large and small begins with the same decision: I’ll try” -Ted Key
To those of you that read all of this. Thank you. I want your encouragement and constructive criticism and of course your prayers.