Last October I attended the Surrey International Writer's Conference, and like most conferences I wondered what I was doing there. And then I decided again to learn what I could, even if I felt out of my league.
At the edge of discomfort is where we grow the most ... by that standard, I have grown by leaps and bounds. I have leaped off cliffs and bounded headlong into some areas that felt beyond my scope. In pondering fear ... which is what holds us back, I came up with my own acronym
FEAR is Forgetting Everything Already Revealed.
We write because God has called us to, he has revealed that. He has given us something to say. We continue to write because our soul needs to, and people respond to it. When I began my Creative Writing courses, what came through loud and clear was that everyone in class felt a desire to write, and everyone experienced a fear of doing the same. Everyone asked a question - what was I doing writing? Everyone feared the vulnerability of exposure on the page.
Through the courses I learned a few key things:
*Writing is a craft, a skill to be learned, anyone can learn to write, and to write better. That is exciting news, we continue to improve as we spend time.
*Write what you know. Everyone has a story, and stories are what connects us. Jesus was a master of story telling. When I first heard the instructors tell me to write what I know ... I thought all I knew was grief. Who wanted to read that? I didn't want to write sad, I wanted to write happy, positive. As I reflected on this, I came to realize that as I wrote about the grief, I also wrote about the hope that had been given me; I wrote about the beauty I saw in the world because of the grief. I wrote about a God who walked alongside every step of the way. My eyes opened to a new depth that showed up on the pages.
Scripture encourages us that in everything we do, we do it for God, both in our living and in our writing. And if I had to choose one over the other, let me live first with compassion and depth.
My daughter always told me that the story of my life was not finished, the final chapters had not been written, and now it looks like I might get to write the happy ever after ending that I had longed for.
Ultimately I know that true happy ever after is what Heaven is for.
Jocelyn is the author of Who is Talking out of My Head? grief as an out of body experience ...
She blogs at http://whoistalking.wordpress.com