Monthly Archives: February 2014

February 15, 2014

The Reluctant Writer

I wrote a lot last year.  I filled a notebook with my musings.  I worked on my book <!– /* Font Definitions */ @font-face {font-family:Times; panose-1:2 0 5 0 0 0 0 0 0 0; mso-font-charset:0; mso-generic-font-family:auto; mso-font-pitch:variable; mso-font-signature:3 0 0 0 1 0;} @font-face {font-family:"MS 明朝"; mso-font-charset:78; mso-generic-font-family:auto; mso-font-pitch:variable; mso-font-signature:1 134676480 16 0 131072 0;} @font-face {font-family:"Cambria Math"; panose-1:2 4 5 3 5 4 6 3 2 4; mso-font-charset:0; mso-generic-font-family:auto; mso-font-pitch:variable; mso-font-signature:-536870145 1107305727 0 0 415 0;} @font-face {font-family:Cambria; panose-1:2 4 5 3 5 4 6 3 2 4; mso-font-charset:0; mso-generic-font-family:auto; mso-font-pitch:variable; mso-font-signature:-536870145 1073743103 0 0 415 0;} /* Style Definitions */ p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal {mso-style-unhide:no; mso-style-qformat:yes; mso-style-parent:""; margin-top:0in; margin-right:0in; margin-bottom:10.0pt; margin-left:0in; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-font-family:"MS 明朝"; mso-fareast-theme-font:minor-fareast; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-bidi; mso-fareast-language:JA;} .MsoChpDefault {mso-style-type:export-only; mso-default-props:yes; font-size:10.0pt; mso-ansi-font-size:10.0pt; mso-bidi-font-size:10.0pt; font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-font-family:"MS 明朝"; mso-fareast-theme-font:minor-fareast; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-bidi; mso-fareast-language:JA;} .MsoPapDefault {mso-style-type:export-only; margin-bottom:10.0pt;} @page WordSection1 {size:8.5in 11.0in; margin:1.0in 1.25in 1.0in 1.25in; mso-header-margin:.5in; mso-footer-margin:.5in; mso-paper-source:0;} div.WordSection1 {page:WordSection1;} Help! The Future is Sitting in My Classroom! Creating Healthy Learning Environments From the Inside-Out.  I wrote 13 children’s theater scripts. I edited three of the children’s picture storybooks I’ve been working on. I wrote letters and papers and email missives. I attended two writer’s conferences, a workshop on picture books and took an on-line course about how to plan a book. 2013 was my year to move past my reluctance to write. 
I’ve been working at this writing life for four years.  God blessed me with a lot of help. Every time the doubts became intense or my attention crumbled, another messenger would come to remind and reassure me that this is indeed my path. But like a yo-yo, each dive into great intentions inevitably saw me return to the safety of status quo–i.e., doing everything except write.  I needed a breakthrough.  I needed to move into a completely different view of myself and my writing.  My moment of deep change finally arrived with the flowers of the belated spring of 2013 and I owe it to the beautiful words of Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love.  She said:  
“I believe that – if you are serious about a life of writing, or indeed about any creative form of expression – that you should take on this work like a holy calling. I became a writer the way other people become monks or nuns. I made a vow to writing. I became Bride-of-Writing. I was writing’s most devotional handmaiden. I built my entire life around writing. I didn’t know how else to do this…
…One day, when I was agonizing over how utterly bad my writing felt, I realized: “That’s actually not my problem.” The point I realized was this – I never promised the universe that I would write brilliantly; I only promised the universe that I would write. So I put my head down and sweated through it, as per my vows.”

I had never thought of my desire to write as a “holy calling”, but in that moment when I read Elizabeth’s words, I realized it is just that.  I have known this since I was a child.  But I have been a Reluctant Writer, always finding other responsibilities to fill up my days, too frightened to admit who I am and just do it already!

I am no longer a Reluctant Writer, but old habits are like the undead…they keep hideously resurrecting.  The fabric of my new habits seems to unravel much too easily.  But I have made my vows; I will keep them.  I will honor this holy calling, this sacred trust I carried into this world with me.  I will use the written word to share what wisdom, what grace, what beauty and insight I have mined from life; I will pass along gifts of love from the Universe.  I will do as Elizabeth does: show up in the chair and do the job I have been given to do.  Perhaps sometimes it will bless some readers even as the writings of others have blessed me.  Perhaps at times my words will serve to be a remover of some obstacle or other for someone.  I learned from Elizabeth, that’s not my problem.  My job is simply to be faithful and to share the Gift that I was given.

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