Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Getting My Voice Back

A few weeks ago, I read this beautiful blog post on How I Got My Voice Back and it definitely hit a soft spot. I had asked myself: How can I get my voice back? How do I start writing again?

Last week, I ran into Jo who I met in a class I signed up for in 2009 called Finding God in Your Writing. I shared this blog with her and she sent me a message: Just visited your blog. Well done. A pity not to use your gift. (Thank you, Jo!)

Last night, I joined her and other writers for a couple of hours to write and rediscover how God works in our lives through the gift of writing and sharing. We had five prompts to respond to and we were given five minutes to write, preferably without any rude interruption from our inner editor or critic.

It was a joy to see my messy handwriting again and a few pages of my well-ignored Moleskine coming to life. I initially felt shy sharing what I wrote but their smiles and nods were encouraging (how approval dependent we writers are!). By the third round, I had to have a heart-to-heart talk with my inner critic: So what if I sound shallow or like I'm just rambling? I know I can't write poems but that's okay. Just write what comes naturally to you, you're not here to impress or seek approval. You have a story to tell so just write and stop thinking, stop over-analyzing. So what if others don't like it or get it. Just write for yourself. Write because you love it.

My inner critic shrugged it off then walked away. I continued to write.


Prompt: Nothing that you write is wasted because it all contributes to your growth as a writer.

And when a writer writes nothing, then a gift is wasted. It took me a while, and I sometimes still hesitate, to say that I'm a writer. I have been writing since I was a young child: love letters to my parents, projects for my creative writing summer class, mini novels with my best friend in grade school. Newsletters. Yearbook write-ups. Ten-page essays. My journals. Children's stories. This blog and other blogs I started and abandoned. Research reports. Copy for marketing collateral. A chapter on leadership. So much has been written, so much has been said, a few have even been published.

And when I stopped writing for myself as I did last year, I felt like a part of me stopped. I stopped sharing. I stopped giving. I stopped growing.

Writers write for themselves but writers also write to share, to give, to grow.

Writers write.

And tonight, I write.


It's not much and there's a long way to go, but I think it was a good first step to getting my voice back.

Thank You for the gift of words.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Connecting the Dots

I have not written much in the last year, and I think it made a huge difference. I tried to start a 365-word-a-day blog project. I said I'd find a publisher for a new piece of work. I said I would write in my journal more. But I procrastinated. I stalled. I thought I could catch up. I shelved it. I spent too much time at work. I ran away from it. I failed. Boo. Blah. Writers write, I told myself; and since I stopped, I really let myself down. 

And the days of blah-ness stretched to weeks... and months... and... no, I don't want to feel like this anymore. So I will start writing again. Even if it's just a few words here, and a few more words in my journal. A few lines today, an article tomorrow; who knows, maybe another picture book by the end of the year.

When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you achieve it. - Paulo Coelho

I believe that God allows the Universe to conspire with the dreamer. He provides signs that lead us (back) to our deepest desires, especially when we're teetering over the edge or veering away from where we need to go. He sends little nudges that remind us to dream again and to trust with a childlike heart, even if we can't quite make out the road in front of us. 

In the last two weeks...
  • I got an email asking if I would be agreeable to convert one of my books into an e-book
  • I found out that one of my books sold more than 2,000 copies in the last four years
  • I met a fellow TCK who chanced upon this blog some time ago and remarked, "But you stopped writing!"
  • I went to a dear friend's photo exhibit where I ran into a nice lady who used to host these writing sessions; she scheduled a meet-up on Monday so we could all start writing again
  • I was invited to be featured in a magazine for tweens as part of International Book Day in April
Wow. You think Someone is telling me something?

You can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something - your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life. - Steve Jobs

My life has been one big happy conspiracy so far and I don't think the Universe will let up just yet. I just have to once again trust in the goodness of signs and have faith that my God always knows what's best for me even if, or especially when, I can't seem to connect the dots.