On Writing

I haven’t made quite the progress on my book that I hoped I would. Having a full-time job and writing is hard, ya’ll! But I am farther along on it than I was on the novel I attempted to start last November, and I count that as improvement.

I am not giving up, though. I will persevere. I will keep writing. Because I think it’s a message that other girls need to hear.

I have been publishing with an online publishing company, Coffee House Writers, for the past year, and I have learned so much. I quickly progressed from a writer to being an editor to being a COO of the team, and I love everything about the group. It has helped me become a better writer, and it has helped me plan out articles. If you’re interested in joining such a group, shoot me an email at digitalinkandparchment@gmail.com or comment here, and I would be happy to provide you with information.

Not only did it help me rediscover my passion for writing, it also led to a bit of healing. I was able to find my writers voice again, discover the things I want to write about, discover my passions, and say things I never thought I could. It has helped to shape me into who I am now.

That is why I am thankful for not only the abilities and passion God gave me for writing, but also that He led me to Coffee House Writers at the time I needed it most. I can honestly say that I would not be as sure and as motivated as I am today about making writing and blogging a career if it were not for this team.

Our passions and abilities were given to us for a reason, and God has a purpose in leading us to opportunities where those passions and abilities are used. I encourage you to think about and be thankful for those opportunities. Because there may come a time when those opportunities help you more than you thought they did.

When You’re Found

Have you ever encountered someone you “know” and they said they found you online? By “know” I mean you are familiar with them, perhaps talk to them, but you’re not intimate by any means. Perhaps you have told this person you write, you blog, without really thinking they’d ever even try to find said blog. Then, one day, they say to you “hey, I found your blog.”

How did you react? Did you panic? Were you totally excited? Were you torn between panic and excitement?

I fancy myself a writer. I want my writing to speak to people. As anything with communication and writing, the interpretation is up to the reader, the audience, but my intent is always to help others, to connect, to establish community. If those are my aspirations, then, of course, I have to be open to others, strangers and friends alike, seeing my work. All of it.

. . . . . .

Last night, one of my students told me before class that I was easy to find on social media, specifically Twitter. I laughed and responded that it isn’t that I don’t wish to be found, rather that I like to control if I would like to connect with those who find me, but that, yes, my Twitter is open. As our conversation progressed, he said he found my writing and he really liked my Bambi story. Of course, as a writer, I was thrilled. But then he continued.

“I’ve read the marriage stuff, too.” It was an offhand comment.

I paused. I felt my heart stop, just momentarily. I’m sure my face betrayed some form of emotion.

“Oh, you found my blog?” I asked. I hoped it came off as more curious than frightened, but I was definitely nervous.

“I think so, yeah.”

Eventually, I came to terms with this conversation, and I used it to discuss computer-mediated communication in society. But it got me thinking.

I have been honest about a lot of things on my blog. I have shared my story as it has unfolded; I have shared articles and stories I have written; I have been open about my faith, my desires, my goals, and my heart. And posting that online has the automatic assumption and understanding that anyone can read it.

As an instructor, I have always desired to keep my personal life out of the classroom, and  I’d like to think I achieve that. I share stories about communication as they are relevant, since sharing stories is one way I communicate. I use personal experience to relate to my students. At the same time, I don’t announce to the class what I battle daily. Yet, now this particular student knows, or knows at least more than any other student.

And as I’ve been thinking, I realize I’m okay with that.

As I said, I am a writer, and I always hope my work sees the light of day and can resonate with others. My tagline on my writing profiles is “sharing authentic stories.” I can’t achieve authenticity unless I am open. I can’t be open unless I don’t restrict access.

. . . . . .

This encounter really caught me off guard and had me thinking about my credibility and if my students would see me differently, negatively, should they come across any of my writing.

Would you? Would you judge your instructor off their blog or their writing? If they shared their life experience–good, bad, or indifferent–would you think them unprofessional or unworthy of respect?

That is my fear.

Yet, I am hopeful my own experiences will speak to them. I hope that if they encounter my stories, they will see credibility extends beyond academics. I hope they see that we all make mistakes, that we all make choices we regret. I hope they see that communication can play an important role in life and in relationships and that it goes far beyond just the words we use and how we speak.

I hope I can help them beyond the classroom. Because I am first and foremost a Christian writer.

. . . . . .

So, to that student, if you are reading this: thank you.

Thank you for telling me you found my writing. Thank you for making me question so I could come to my own conclusion, so I could stop questioning. Thank you for expressing that what I have written has helped you, even in a smaller way.

Thank you for showing me I am doing what God created me to do.

 

 

I Finally Did It…

Stomach in knots. Racing heart. I feel like I’m shaking. I close my eyes and pray, “Father, if this is your will…” I open them again to find minutes have passed. There are papers piled on my desk, but it’s the paper hidden at the bottom of the stack that’s causing my anxiety.

Why is it we are most anxious to do something when we know it’s something we must do? Shouldn’t we have peace from God in that moment, especially if we feel He is the one telling us to do the thing?

I needed to take back my decision-making ability. I need to find what I am capable of. I need to find what really gives me that spark.

. . . . . .

I walk into the office, the feeling that I’m shaking more pronounced. I don’t think I am. I take my time, allow this to flow naturally. The time comes. 

“I would like to take this moment to tender my resignation.”

. . . . . .

I’ve thought about ways to use that phrase, “tender my resignation,” since I started my first job. It always sounded so adult to me, so professional.

In case you are wondering: yes, you have interpreted correctly. I quit my (main) job today. Rather, I gave my notice.

Once I did and I walked out of the meeting, I felt better. Calm finally settled over me. I had the conviction that I had done the right thing.

. . . . . .

I am going to take this time to do a few things.

First: I am going to invest in my writing. I’m going to buy a big pin board to use as a giant, physical story board or idea board. I need to physically write things down, post them up somewhere, and look at them frequently. I need to be able to move them as needed, to touch them.

I’m going to work on my memoir. I wrote a brief one for a creative nonfiction class in college, and I’ve always wanted to expand on it. I just never felt I had the time. I know, now, that was an excuse. I had the time, I just wasn’t managing myself properly.

Which leads me to the second thing: I’m going to work on managing myself and my time. For those logical people out there, I do still have a job—an adjunct position. I’m basically going to start from scratch, though. Whatever I did in college is out the window. I’m going to try new techniques.

Finally: I’m going to learn about myself. I realized recently that I’m not really sure what I want out of a career; I just knew where I was wasn’t it. I’m going to take time to find what makes me tick, what really gives me a spark.

. . . . . .

We have to realize God has created us for something special, something unique, something only we can do. When He calls on us to move forward into the unknown, it’s a test of our faith.

Do we move without knowing what will happen, but trusting He has a plan? Or do we keep plugging away at something He has not designed for us? If we do the latter, we may never find fulfillment, and we may move through life completely unsatisfied.

If we do the former, though, so many possibilities await.

The unknown is terrifying. It’s the unknown after all; by definition, we don’t know what’s to come. But if we put our faith in God and remember all things will work for the good of those who believe…then, just maybe, the unknown can be less scary.

It’s still something I am working on, believe me. I still have to practice my faith. I still have to work to reorganize my priorities. I have to constantly work to reorganize my mind to focus on Him. When I do, though, I can feel a change.

Like now.

. . . . . .

Do I feel better? I think so. The anxiousness I initially had went away as soon as I handed over my letter.

For the first time in at least five months, I feel like I have control of something. And, right now, that is important for me. For the first time since graduation, I do not really know what’s going to happen next. My life has turned so many ways in the past few months, I’m not sure what to expect. For once, though, I’m okay with that. I’m getting better at taking things one day at a time. I don’t know what’s in store, but I know God has a plan for me, that I am made for more.

I may have decided to quit my job, but, for the first time, I don’t feel like a quitter.