I have a confession to make.
For all I’ve talked about in my life – in real life with friends, here on the blog, in my head with myself – about being real and honest and authentic, being intentional - I’ve been holding a part of me back because I’ve been too fearful to expose it to the world. Nothing earth-shatteringly terrible, nothing scandalous and juicy, just elements of my life that I’ve chosen to keep from public view – and to be honest, from myself - because, well, to bring them out into the light might open up a whole can of worms that I simply don’t want to deal with. And because I can’t predict how people might react (more on that later...).
Over the last few days, I’ve started writing again. I used to write all the time when I was a kid, right through high school, and eventually.......I just stopped. Looking back now, I would say I didn’t really start writing again until I started a blog in 2004, and then when I started uni in 2005, writing became a necessary part of daily life, albeit for taking notes, writing essays and whatever else was required for the subject matter. It wasn’t a practice that nourished the soul, but it did get me back into practice again.
Between writing the blog (as infrequent as that was) and writing for uni, I began to exercise and hone forgotten skills, and I found that it really was like riding a bike, I hadn’t forgotten how to do it. When I came to know Christ as my saviour in 2006, I started keeping a written journal, and I began to feel the need to write again. Fast forward to now, 2012, and my writing practice has been sporadic at best. Blogging was sporadic at best, and effectively went by the wayside as I struggled with how much of myself I wanted to put ‘out there’ in the big wide world, and as much as I felt the need to write, I have essentially been too lazy to maintain the discipline of journaling regularly. And I’ve also been fearful of what I might discover about myself when I start looking.
For the last few months, I have been feeling the pull to write so strongly, it has become like a constant hum in my head, through my whole being. I know it is God calling me to be the person He has created, to be a writer, and I have been resisting Him. Pretty much ignoring Him, actually, and I know it’s because of fear. I have felt physically resistant to the thought of sitting down at a keyboard, or putting pen to paper, and even though I’ve tried a few times, I haven’t been able to break through this very real barrier I’ve felt.
Since the beginning of the year, I have been reading just about everything I can about writing – how to start, what to write, how to develop good practices, and so on. I’ve found some fantastic blogs and sites that are a wealth of information and encouragement. And yet I still haven’t been able to just start. I’ve blogged about creating, about being intentional, about living authentically, but I still couldn’t just start writing. Blogging didn’t feel like ‘real’ writing, and writing became this huge concept that I felt incapable of grasping and acting on. It felt like to start writing, I needed to have it all planned out – what I was going to say, how I was going to say it, what platform I was going to use (which in my warped perception meant being ready to write a book....), so of course it was all too overwhelming, and it was easier to not do anything.
Except it wasn’t.
This whole time, for months, I have felt a growing gnawing in the pit of my soul, a constant battle of wills within, between the truest part of me that knows I need to write, and the controlling part of me that has been too scared to do so.
A few days ago, I came across Jeff Goins’ blog via chatting at the sky (one of my favourite blogs/writers), and I discovered his e-book and the challenge he recently hosted about writing. For whatever reason, I knew it was now or never, and that the time had come to stop resisting and face that which was holding me captive with fear. So I did. I started writing again. And I don’t remember the last time I felt such freedom.
It has only been a few days, but I feel like I’ve started a new life, a new way of living, and I know it’s not because I’ve been sitting and typing words, but because I’ve embraced God’s calling and am following the path He has been trying to set me on, I’ve just been too scared to follow.
As I posted a few days ago, I am a writer. It’s not just what I do, it’s who I am. It’s written in my DNA and in my soul, I’ve known for a very long time that I need to write as much as I need to breathe, and that because I haven’t been writing, I haven’t been really living.
Fear is a killer, and it will destroy us if we let it, in so many, many ways. I have let fear keep me from living authentically for too long, but no more. That’s not to say that I won’t have to face it and deal with it every day, but I am assured by the knowledge that there is no fear in love, that perfect love drives out fear, and that I am becoming who I am because He loves me.
I wrote earlier about not revealing this part of myself to ‘the world’ because I couldn’t predict how people might react, and I’ve realised that’s been one of the biggest things holding me back. People might laugh at me when I say I’m a writer, not that I just write, but that I am a writer. They might think that it’s nice that I have a hobby, or dismiss it because I’m not published, or laugh at me because really, what makes me so special? It has taken me this long to allow myself to accept who I am (and I’m still working on that), then to declare it, and it really is a declaration, as much as I could say ‘I’m a mum’ after my son was born. And as much as I don’t like to admit it, I do care what people think about me, I do value people’s opinions and am hurt by ridicule. I do want people to like me and accept me (gee, I’m full of confessions today!!), so to make a statement like this that may invite criticism and scorn has been a challenge, but here I am.
I am a writer.
Hear me roar.