Good evening…it is 6:37 9:11 10:02 p.m.
Tough day, but I’m getting through.
I wanted to spend a few minutes “thinking out loud” in tonight’s entry. I’ve been struggling with my writing direction, as you know. So….here we go. Just going to put this out there.
Here’s the deal. I love writing. I love my daybooks; I love working with other writers, established and just getting started; I love reading all things, including books on the art and craft of writing.
My very first essays written in elementary and junior high schools were on love, philosophic ramblings about the meaning of love, the sharing of it, and the various relationships individuals might have with one another. These were epic essays, sometimes 20 and 30 pages long, that analyzed every aspect of love imaginable. I was also inspired by my sixth-grade teacher, Jack Delaney, who introduced me to the writing process and the prospect of publishing my writing with a larger audience.
Years later, I threw them all away…by mistake.
In high school and college, I wrote journals with people. Friends, girlfriends, other writers, family…Like my essays, these were epic journals. And, very unfortunately, like my essays, the journals have disappeared.
It wasn’t until my first few years in teaching that I started to write longer manuscripts. Suddenly, I was in love with telling stories. By the time I was 27, I had finished writing my first full-length novel, and I was ready to conquer the world as the next Stephen King.
Trouble is, nobody liked what I wrote.
While I was working on that novel, though, something else happened that changed my life forever. In 1988, I experienced a rebirth with Christ. and in 1989, when my father passed away, I delivered the eulogy under the pressure of representing my siblings who spanned a 20-year period.
It was the best thing I had ever written, and I discovered a gift within me to use writing to heal, to inspire, to remember.
Since then, I’ve delivered several other eulogies and speeches, all feeling so comfortable in my role to help others with my words.
Somewhere between eulogies and graduation speeches, I wrote a second book. I loved it.
I was, again, my biggest fan.
Was I trying too hard? Did my audience expect something that I just wasn’t giving them?
I also completed graduate school around the same time. Earned my Master of Fine Arts in Creative Nonfiction. Some of my chapters in my dissertation were really solid. I struggled with my vision for the piece, though, and my mentors worked very hard to get me to a point that I could present my manuscript successfully.
In the simplest of terms, it comes down to this: I love all types of writing, but I continue to meet with the greatest success when writing to inspire, heal, or remember a loved one.
I see the writing on the wall (ugh–no pun intended); I’m not a mainstream, genre novelist. I am not a hardcore journalist.
I am a writer of inspiration, of hope, of healing, of remembering. This is my calling.
It seems so…..natural, doesn’t it? With nearly every attempt at writing, it is my inspiring pieces that get the most positive feedback. It’s what comes most naturally to me, too.
Then where’s the struggle?
Maybe there isn’t one anymore. Maybe I just worked that out enough to put into words what I’ve been pondering all this time. I can’t be the next Stephen King or hope for Tom Clancy-type advances in the millions. I just need to write the type of writing I do best, and let the rest fall into place.
Time for some rest. I leave you with a little Hugh Prather to ponder…
In my mind, I keep moving what happens in my life from the credit to the debit column and back again. I can’t decide whether an event benefited or hurt me. But in my confusion, it’s all the same, because as long as the past preoccupies me, the presence of God means nothing.
Lord, give me the strength to let this go and begin anew, to write words of celebration and inspiration today, and to guide others to be strengthened in Your love. . . . ❤