I am a writer. Why is it so hard to say? Why is it so hard to write? I’ve loved writing since I was young. I would write all the parts from school plays. I had memorized them. I couldn’t help it. It was a strange gift to be able to memorize these types of things, including any song. Back to writing.
My first story, “The Wicked Quen”, yes, “quen”, not “queen” was written in second grade including illustrations. Drawing is not my talent. The princess was saved by her dad. Isn’t that the way life is sometimes? I continued writing. In fourth grade, it was an Indian chief who had lost his son. In junior high and high school, papers on books and short stories. Nobody really enjoys writing these but to me, writing was writing. And I loved it.
College was a writers haven, especially when your degree is English Education. I wrote about William Wordsworth, my poet idol, educational psychology, and Lord of the Rings of all things. Writing was harder in college. Sometimes I had professors who didn’t like my style or my ideas or my bibliography. I am talking to you, Samuelson. That was frustrating but when I completed my senior thesis and edited it and compiled it into a slim spiral bound called “breakthrough”, I felt the kind of pride that can only come through not giving up.
Which was funny because after I graduated college, I stopped writing. I don’t know why. I forgot about it and forgot I loved it. And then I was so lucky to be in the right place in the right time ten years later. I was walking down the street,after dropping my kindergartener off at school in Las Vegas, and I ran into my “friend” Heidi. I didn’t really know her too well. I had actually always been intimidated by her craftiness, organizes and awesome red hair and spunky personality. But when she told me she, Jonelle and Desiree were getting together for a writing group once a week and invited me, I jumped out on the limb. I said I would come.
I was nervous. I hadn’t written anything beyond descriptions for pictures for our family blog in years. I didn’t know if I still had it in me after three babies in four years and lots of sleepless nights. I missed the first meeting. I don’t remember why. The first assignment was to make an inanimate object come to life. I thought and thought and then while I was doing laundry, our table popped into my mind. I folded laundry and wrote “The life of a Table” in my head. When I finished laundry, I scribbled it down as fast as I could on my tinker bell notebook paper. I didn’t want to forgot any of it.
Somehow our table had turned into my journey through motherhood. But it gave me the confidence I needed to continue. We ended up writing for a year on different prompts. Some became so real and special to me and some were just ok. Some were downright awful! But I learned from each of them what was important to me. What I loved. And the women I wrote with learned more about me than they probably ever wanted to.
Then we moved from Las Vegas to Iowa and I couldn’t write. I was heartbroken to leave my group and the growth I had made in my writing. I felt like I couldn’t write without them. I needed Heidi’s worn brown couch. I need Jonelle’s herbal tea. And I needed Desiree’s calming temperament. How could I keep writing when I had just had a baby, moved halfway across the United States to an unknown place? I was lost and sad and frustrated.
Then one day I felt a story forming in my mind and in my heart. I left the kids with Blake and went to sit on the banks of the muddy Mississippi, MY Mississippi! It was just down the hill from our house and the vastness of that river both amazed and terrified me. But this time it was inspiring and I could feel the words flooding out. I felt like after months of nothing, my words had come back. I submitted it to a site I knew of, Power of Moms, on a whim and it was published! I was shocked! I couldn’t believe that my struggle and a story of dandelions would be acceptable for publishing.
This renewed my faith in my writing and the fire I had lost came back. Again, some things I wrote and I honestly thought they were awful but I still published them on my blog. I had to see progress and I had to show others that not every piece of writing is life changing. But being a writer isn’t about publishing works. It isn’t about writing a bestseller. It’s about baring your soul, no matter what anyone else thinks. Getting those feelings and thoughts on to paper or screen and feeling validated just because you had the courage to do it.
Hailey took this picture on my 33rd birthday, I believe. I am now 36 but my friend, Jonelle said this should be on the back of my eventual book. So, if it takes me thirty years to publish it, I am still using this picture! ha