Last week my “baby” graduated from preschool. I passed another milestone last week as well: I’ve now been writing for five years. Both events got me to thinking.
I always liked writing when I was a child, but I never saw it as a viable career option. As far as I was concerned, people who wrote books were the super-creative, artsy types who had three brilliant ideas before breakfast.
But something happened to me five years ago. I was at a restaurant with my Journey Girls celebrating a friend’s birthday. My son was only a few weeks old, I hadn’t slept in forever, and my husband and I were facing circumstances that just made life HARD. I watched my friend unwrap her gift–a journal, and something in me just…clicked. I used to like to write and journal. Before I grew up, got married, got a “real” job, I used to have stories floating around in my head. But I always believed I wasn’t creative enough to tell them. And I certainly wasn’t a good enough writer to ever get them published.
But five years ago, I’d quit my “real” job to become a stay at home mom (the hardest and most wonderful job I’ve ever had). And while I loved my children, sometimes I felt like I couldn’t see past the diapers and dirty dishes. Writing felt like a way to do something for me when so much of my days (and nights) were devoted to caring for others. Writing became a way to reconnect with the person I wanted to be when I was younger, and the person I hoped I still could be, one day.
So I set a goal for myself, I would write until I finished a rough draft of a middle grade novel. It didn’t matter how bad that draft was. It just had to exist. And you know what I found? It wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. And another thing, no matter how bad the day had been otherwise, how much the children cried, how hard life seemed, I could always point back to the pages/paragraphs I wrote, and call the day a success. Because I had set a goal and I was working toward it.
I still write as a way to make sense of my days. But after pursuing this for five years, I’ve found that the main reason I write is because I love it, because something within me demands that I write, and because when it comes down to it, I can’t imagine doing anything else.
What about you? What are the passions in your heart? Are you pursuing them? Why or why not?
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Way to follow your passions. You’re an inspiration, Jen.
Amazing story! I love that it just clicked for you and that what drives you is a passion for stories. I’m also amazed that most every writer is tied together by this same passion. Camaraderie is precious in this industry and it’s a beautiful thing to share a love for words.
Okay, Jenny, our lives are eerily similar. Same name, same agent, my baby graduates Pre-K on Friday, and of course, uh, this whole post?! I can totally relate to writing being something to reconnect you with you and also something you can’t help but do.
So glad you started writing and I can’t wait to read Seeing Cinderella. 🙂
Ryan- Thanks! I couldn’t do it without you!
Shannon- So true. I don’t know what I would do without my writer friends, the kidlit community is so special I think, in that we don’t see each other as competition, but potential friends and fellow travelers on the same road.
Jen- I’m looking forward to reading your book! Do you have a release date yet?
Jenny, as I read this post, I nodded. And said, “Uh huh” and “Yep” and “I get that.” Everything from staying home with kids to writing to needing to write (although writing is newer for me than for you) to pursuing what you love.
I think it actually helps me be a better parent when I have an outlet for myself. Been nice getting to know you in the blogosphere/twitterverse!
What an inspiring story. 🙂
I write because I love to be creative, because it’s so precious to me when my son wants me to read my stories to him, and because it’s one more way for me to be a teacher.
Dee-Thanks for stopping by! I love reading to my kids too, although since I tend to write girly/tweeny stories, I’m not sure my boys will want me to read my stories to them. Maybe one day!
I feel like I am learing so much more about you today as I read your blog. All these things I never knew about my big sis! You are creative and I love your creativity! I have copied your hugging monster to telling more stories to the kids I think up to wanting to try “bigger books” like Charlie & the Chocolate Factory with the kids. You give me so many ideas so the kids. I am so thankful for them! You make me a more fun mom!
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