Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Back to Writing

If you had asked me as a five year old what I wanted to be when I grew up, the answer would have been "a tightrope walker". Quickly, I discovered this was not the most lucrative of careers.
But if you had asked me at eight, I would have responded "an author" or "a writer". That career goal did not change. For the majority of my life, I dreamed of being a writer. I wrote endless stories. From my first picture book "Happy and Easter in: Chester`s Birthday Party" (a self-illustrated book about twin rabbits) to short works of fiction based strongly on the works of Janette Oke, to teenage angst poetry. In university, I was able to take three creative writing classes and, while I strengthened my skills, I also met many others who were skilled at writing as well.
Then, I was discouraged. There were so many other writers who were better then me. I imagined the sheer number of people in the world who were better then me. I loved writing, but my goal of getting published suddenly seemed so very far away.
Discouragement can be a powerful thing. It worked its way into my brain like a spore, slowly growing and growing until I forgot about my childhood dreams. Slowly, I stopped thinking of myself as "a good writer", then even as "a writer" at all. I busied myself with other things, working for the library, having kids, as that spore of "not as good as other people" worked its way through my brain. There was a tiny part that stayed free, a tiny part that thought "maybe someday I`ll get back to that".
Then, we moved here. I started up a new blog, thinking it might give me some practice writing again (and it has), and more recently, there was a theme in both church and bible study about our life's journey.
What is my journey? I always wanted to be a mother, and I am one. But that cannot and will not be my sole identity. For awhile my identity was the library, and it may well be again, but I felt at a loss for what exactly my journey was. Then the tiny part of my brain spoke up "a writer". I remembered the dreams of my childhood, the hours spent handwriting stories on looseleaf.
See, writing's not magical. I know this. You're not really a writer if you don't write. My production is going to be bad at first, but practice will make it better.
So I've vowed to practice.
This month I'm participating in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), a quest to write 50,000 words in the month of November. The words I'm banging out now are not of the highest quality, but what they are to me is a habit, a daily writing habit to remind me that I love to write and it is a part of my journey and a part of my childhood dream. I owe it to that eight-year-old who told everyone she was an author.


  1. Ooh, do I resonate with this post! Except that you're a couple of steps ahead of me - I can't seem to get my writer back on. Just so you know, as a fellow wannabe writer, I am cheering for you! And maybe I'll get back on the writing train at some point too.

  2. Way to go, Jan. You are a writer! So glad to see God breathing on the little girl dreams again. :)

  3. Jan, I remember being so envious of your ability to write and I'm so glad to hear that you are going to pursue it again. You are very talented just as you are and in my mind it doesn't matter if there have been people who you perceived to be 'better'. Part of what is amazing about writing is that it is so diverse and new depending on who pens it. There's no doubt in my mind that you are capable of anything and I will join your cheer squad too. :-)

  4. You have always been a writer in my mind, Jan. I'm so glad to hear you talking like this again! Never listen to those voices that tell you that you are incapable - they don't really know you and their only goal is to prove themselves right.

  5. Jan, at your wedding your mom recited a non-rhyming poem, inspired by what you taught her about what poetry could be. Through her, I could see your own passion for writing coming through. We wish you many many enjoyable and challenging hours (days, months, years...) of writing.