Updated: Dec 1, 2019
This post was in response to a writing contest entitled, “You Are Enough", hosted by Positive Writer, an awesome writing coach and blogger who has given me A LOT of encouragement and practical advice over the years.
Here's the link to his website if your interested- http://positivewriter.com/writing-contest-your-calling-your-story/
The challenge is to write a blog post that inspires fellow doubt- plagued writers; since I consider myself an expert in that field and now have a blog I decided I’d give it a shot.
Honesty, this post gets a little personal. Even re-reading it as I post it now is making me squirm a little. But here it is- My Writing Journey.
It began when an image, like a scene from a movie, came unbidden into my mind.
This scene felt strangely– heavy- and left me with a compulsion I had to write it out that I did not understand. I had to write it out, the longer I resisted, the more pressing the weight of it became until I felt it would crush me.
Finally writing that first image provided a huge sense of relief; the weight lifted and I felt lighter- freer- than I ever remember feeling before. In fact, it was- exhilarating.
More scenes came to me. I did not understand this strange compulsion to write them out; I did not understand the crushing weight of them, or the relief that came after I’d written them out.
Through the years every image became clearer, more detailed- more visceral. Each image felt as if it were squeezing me, pressing me, but when I wrote it out, the pressure was released; as if a valve had been opened.
I don’t remember how many times I went through this cycle of pressure and release before I realized I was writing in every spare moment, on every scrap of paper I had.
These, “scenes”, seemed like pieces of a much larger story. What was this? What did it all mean? I was still young at this point and I seriously wondered, was I going insane? By this point I had been through- a lot- both emotionally and physically and I seriously wondered if something wrong with me? Had it all gotten to me? Was this some form of psychosis?
I prayed for clarity as to what was going on, and God answered in a way I did not expect. There was suddenly a place in my brain, a space that I knew held the answers; a space I did not want to go near.
It was with the greatest trepidation that I finally opened that space. Unpacking that box- I did not like what I saw.
This skill that I was reluctantly honing was a gift and whether I wanted to write or not, I needed to write. I needed to tell the stories behind these images.
I shut the box back up and deliberately ignored it. Writers didn’t make money, writing books like the ones I consumed voraciously took a lot of time, time I didn’t have.
The years went by, I followed other pursuits, but the cycle of increasing pressure until release via writing continued. I was actually writing out a full story, one piece at a time. I polished and expanded on those scenes until they were gold, and the scary thing was, I knew it, and I loved it! Not only were those scenes good, really good, but writing them and editing them gave me a thrill I could not put into words. I could become lost in my story for hours at a time- but then I would have to come back to reality. Writing out scenes and filler was one thing but writing a cohesive novel? Could I really do this? Did I really want to try to do this? I was too scared to contemplate the possibility.
So I didn’t. I was just writing as a hobby, as stress relief, I told myself.
I told myself that for years.
It’s strange how epiphanies can hit you at the weirdest times and in the strangest ways. The moment that changed my life was happened when I was reading the comics, the colored ones that come in the Sunday paper. It was February 29th, 2004 in a comic strip called Rose is Rose. The little cat in the series, takes up several panels walking straight up to the reader, in the last panel putting her little face right up to the reader, saying, “Go for it. If you don’t try, you’ll never know.”
This may sound strange, but it was as if those words were meant for me, as if God had set up that artist, that author to write that strip just for me- and I was terrified.
This little strip was the final push I needed. I couldn’t live with the not knowing. I had to try. I had to know. I ran back to the box of my unwanted gift and ripped it open. This time I held it close. God was calling me to this, he was leading me to become a writer and I knew it. It was time to follow orders. It was time to try.
Life has gotten in the way many times over the years but through it all, I have kept up with my little adventure stories, no longer as a mere pressure release, but as a passion.
I now hold a near complete manuscript in hand which I hope to have finished by the end of the year. (We’ll see ;-) I intend on shopping my completed manuscript to agents and publishers as soon as possible.
The fear, the doubt, the worry, the wondering, I have come to learn is all part of the process, not just of the writing, but of honing any new skill, of life itself.
This is my calling. This is my God given assignment. This is my writing journey- and I love it. ;)