Be courageous…be a writer.

e-e-cummings_quotes_courage-300x300[1]Don’t be afraid to let others know you’re a writer.

I found this post so relatable that I had to share. I have only told a few people that I’m a writer and I’ve only let one person read the novel that I just completed and NO ONE has read the next one I’m working on. When past acquaintances find out that I left a successful career, they just look at me in disbelief.

“So what are you doing now?”

“Staying at home with my kids.”

“Really? Well, what do you do while they’re at school?”

“Uh, stuff…around the house. Yeah, it’s crazy how busy I am.”

Why can’t I tell them the truth? I’m a writer. Even posting my thoughts on this tiny little blog makes me uneasy. In fact, I haven’t even told my family or friends about it. Why? Because writing is like baring my soul, sharing my deepest desires and fears.

The characters we write about reflect the best and worst parts of ourselves. They are often braver than we could ever hope to be. Our characters reveal a dark side too, acting on things we fear in others, even ourselves. Writers put things on paper that we may never have the courage to speak about.

The role of a writer is not to say what we all can say, but what we are unable to say.~Anais Nin

Think about it. How many of your thoughts go unspoken during the day? If you’re like me it is a very high percentage. In some cases having a built-in filter is a good thing. But, it’s also a shame that we allow so many things to go unsaid because some of it is really awesome stuff!

Every secret of a writer’s soul, every experience of his life, every quality of his mind is written large in his works.~Virginia Woolf

Fortunately when I write, that filter is reduced because the immediate judgment is removed and I have time to reflect on the words and arrange them to my liking. But then comes the dreaded moment when I share it with someone else and it’s terrifying. Will they think I’m weird, psycho, or just plain stupid?

“A great deal of talent is lost to the world for want of a little courage.” ~Sidney Smith

Well, so what if they do. There are people who go after their dreams and then there are those who criticize them for it. I’d much rather belong to the former group.

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” ~Theodore Roosevelt

 “If we had to say what writing is, we would have to define it essentially as an act of courage.” ~Cynthia Ozick

“Two roads diverged in a yellow wood”, and I – I took the safer one, until now.

Years ago I came to a fork in the road and pondered which career path I should take. The one to the left was well-traveled. In fact, it was freshly paved and lined with curbs. Street lights that turned on at dusk dotted the roadside. There was even the occasional warning sign of what to expect ahead: a curve here, a dip in the road there. It was safe and well, a little boring.

The road to the right gave me a different feeling. It was not paved nor well-traveled. The surrounding vegetation threatened to overtake it. There were no curbs to keep me from straying off course and no streetlights illuminating the path. There was no sign of what may lie ahead. It was a little unsafe, even scary, but it peaked my interest.

Which one did I take?

I merged in with the rest of the traffic and took the safer route. I often wondered where the other road would have taken me. I plodded along “easy street” for years until I had the courage to make a U-turn and head back to the fork in the road.

Now I’m headed down the other path. It is still just as wild as it was all those years ago. It has not changed… but I have.

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both13_roads_diverged_in_a_yellow_wood[1]
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh! I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Some ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I-
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

How I Discovered My Passion for Writing

Hey Cyber Peeps!

Hello? Anybody out there?

{Audible echo}

Yep, this is my first post, and I’m pretty sure it will be sucked into a void in the cyber universe where no one will ever see it. But just in case, I wanted to share how I discovered my passion for writing.

My husband was always questioning why I married him, and why I loved him. I’d tell him often enough (or so I thought), and would sign sappy cards for Valentines, our anniversary, and his birthday, but it didn’t allay his doubts. Maybe it was the delivery: “I love you damn it! Now stop asking me!”

In January 2009, I was struck with an idea. Instead of giving him a card for Valentine’s Day with another person’s words in it, I would write a story for him; the story of how we met. I asked my sister to read it so she could rate the cheese factor. She has never been reluctant to tell me what she really thinks. In fact, she can be downright blunt at times. Once I got her feedback, I’d decide whether to edit it or just scrap it altogether. To my surprise, she loved it!

“Oh my God! It’s like I’m there!” she said.

“Uh, that’s because you were, doofus.”

“Yes, but I can see, smell, and feel everything that you were feeling that night.”

Wow. Really? Maybe he would finally understand the depth of my feelings for him since I never could do it justice verbally. I guess it worked because he has never asked those questions again. In fact, when we argue, he will say, “I’m not feeling the love right now. I’m going to go read our story to remind myself that you love me.”  LOL. Adorable isn’t he?

When I sat down to write the story I had no idea how deeply it would affect me. I was transported to another place where hours ticked by like minutes. I found it puzzling how a collection of sentences or even a solitary phrase that I wrote could evoke such emotion. I’m sure it had a lot to do with the subject, but my love affair with writing began that day.

In that same month, I was watching one of those investigative reporting shows like Dateline or 20/20 while I was cooking dinner. It was a story about two little girls living with neglectful, drug addicted parents, and it ended pretty tragically. I didn’t realize my son (who was 8 at the time) had walked in until I heard him crying. I know, Mom of the Year, right?  I quickly turned off the TV and tried to console him, but the story stayed with me. In fact, it haunted me as if it desperately needed a different ending. So I started to imagine a world where those two innocent little girls could find love and happiness.

That’s when it dawned on me. This is what I do! I was always creating stories, turning them over and over in my mind until the setting, characters, conflict, and resolution felt right. But I never dreamed of writing them down. Me? A writer? Don’t kid yourself, sweetheart.

I finally pushed those negative thoughts aside and sat down to write another story. It felt UH-MAY-ZING! I had opened the floodgates. The thoughts came pouring out and saturated the screen as I typed. I had finally discovered something that I was passionate about, and it had been there, inside me, all along.

A person without a purpose is like a bird without a song (I’m sure I’ve read that somewhere), and people, my soul was singing!

For all you writers out there, how did you discover your passion for writing?

"All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us." ~ J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

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