Wednesday, October 3, 2012

On Writing

There are a few great lessons I have learned along the way about writing:
- write what's true
- show up, do the work, and let the inspiration come from a force greater than myself
- go with what scares me
- be a writer beyond the keyboard

I have always identified myself as a writer, and have been encouraged since a very young age. I was told it was a talent, and talents are incredibly unique, generous gifts. Like Peter Parker's Uncle Ben says in Spiderman, "with great power comes great responsibility." If I am to be a writer, if I am to be a conduit through which this God-given gift is to manifest, then that is a great responsibility indeed, and I must take it seriously.
These last few years, since leaving my job as a reporter at the daily newspaper, I have not been a full-time writer. Today, I don't think I can be a full-time writer, because at this juncture in time, I am a full-time mama to three very young children who depend on me throughout their waking hours. There aren't many sleeping hours, and when I have free time, I often cook dinner, bake snacks, do yoga, hike in the woods and shower.  I embrace this season of life as a chapter called something like, "Mama bear teaches and suckles her cubs."
But I am still a writer. I can see that in my personal Sarah timeline in the not-too-distant future, there is a new season in which I am granted more free time, depended upon less by my children and able to devote more time to my writing. In the meantime, I still feel the calling and cannot ignore the itch to write, to actively be a writer.
I am making the effort to engage in more creative endeavours. Sometimes this is sketching, sometimes this is sitting down to write what's on my mind and not stopping until it makes sense and feel like a release. I have been writing little poems and adding new entries to a collection of personal anecdotes I am gathering, and I am seeking outside guidance from people who are much more wise and experienced than am I. It feels good, and, more importantly, it feels right to be writing with purpose. The purpose being: because I am a writer and I need to write to feel whole and fulfilled. I can feel myself experiencing things throughout my day more as a writer, thinking of beautiful descriptors and rhythmic stanzas about going for a hike, or watching my babies devour their chicken dinner.
I have fears about what it will be like when I commit to writing again for payment. Not as a returning reporter, but as a self-directed freelance reporter, fiction writer, short-story author, essayist, maybe even a novel writer. These are things I have not done before but oh, I know they are waiting to be my future children. It's pressure. In my experience, the best writing (and the best adventures in life) come from doing what scares me most.
And that's what's true.

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