I couldn’t see a path, only a tangle of roots to trip
me and overhead branches to whip in my face. Why attempt to push my way through
the underbrush trying to discover a writing path. I’d buried the enjoyment of writing
so deep for decades that no one knew it had once existed except God.
My husband, Brian, kept asking me to write about our
journey with our youngest daughter, Amee, and the amazing things God had been
doing. “I can’t. I don’t know how.” became my familiar refrain. I honestly
didn’t think I could or should write so why try finding a path in the forest of
doubt. He asked periodically. I responded in the negative.
Then Amee began to say, “Mom, you need to write my
story so others will understand.”
“What do you want people to understand?” I’d ask her,
not expecting her to articulate a response.
“Help people understand more about who I am and what I
can and can’t do. Help them understand that God still answers prayer today. I
know ‘cause I’m here.”
How could I refuse her request? I began to read notes
I’d written through the years as well as various medical and educational
reports. Remembering how winding the journey we’d been on and the amazing things
that had happened proved to be a healing exercise. But I couldn’t get past
writing the first few paragraphs over and over. I’d write and hit delete. Then
I’d begin again. No clear path emerged about how to tell the story. I was stuck
and wanted to quit.
A friend saw a poster about a one-day Christian
writers’ conference in Saskatoon. She urged me to attend. All I could think of
were excuses not to go. It’s for experienced writers. I’m not a writer. It’s
for published authors. I’ll still be on crutches. The list continued and my
friend countered them all with simple words, “Just go and check it out.”
I met some amazing people like Marci Laycock, Janice
Dick, Susan Plett, and Bonnie Grove among many others. I learned about Inscribe
Christian Writers’ Fellowship that day as well. Some people attended because
they wanted to learn more skills or refresh ones they hadn’t used for awhile.
Others wanted to write family stories but never publish. Still others planned
to publish or had published pieces. This day was for people like me who didn’t
think we could write anything.
Each month some Christian writers from Saskatoon and
area gathered and shared writing tips, prompts, and encouraged each other.
After attending a few meetings, I chose to read those first few paragraphs of
Amee’s story. Maybe someone could help me get unstuck. They did and the writing
journey really began.
By the time I published the memoir, Amee’s Story, my
desire to write had resurfaced. Encouragement from my family and friends
spurred me on to write a few short pieces and then look for places to submit
them. I stepped out of my comfort zone and sent away a story to Chicken Soup
for the Soul which was accepted. Nothing Under the Tree appeared in their
Christmas book of 2010. Holding the payment cheque and copies of the book,
seeing my story in print, and hearing the excitement of others over this
writing accomplishment acted like a chainsaw to begin clearing away of the
underbrush clogging the writing path.
As I thought about other moments that helped define my
writing path, I realized the influence Inscribe Christian Writers’ Fellowship
has had on my journey. I have learned from others through conversations,
workshops, and taking Marcia’s Devotional Writing Course. Challenges and
contests have encouraged me to try new things, improve skills I have acquired,
and grow as a writer.
A grandson’s challenge enlarged the path from memoir
and short non-fiction pieces to writing fiction. A granddaughter’s request to
join her at a local poetry writing workshop added yet another dimension to my
writing path. Being the FellowScript columns editor meant sharpening my editing
skills and learning many things in the process.
My writing path isn’t a tangled mess of branches hiding
the way and roots waiting to trip me up. It has grown wider but it still has
twists and turns. I can’t see where God will direct me next on this writing
path, but I plan to follow and be a good steward of the abilities He has given.
Carol Harrison now spends many hours on her writing, whether editing her works in
progress or writing something new from her home in Saskatoon. She enjoys the encouragement of her husband, adult children, and grandchildren. You can find out more about her at https://www.carolscorner.ca