A Time For Regifting

Blissdom - Jeff Goins Workshop

I am a writer.

This is what I wrote in my notebook during Jeff Goins‘ workshop, “How to Fall Back in Love with Your Writing” during Blissdom.  I even underlined it twice, as if I might not remember the significance once I got home.

I want to believe it, I really do, but with the exception of my soul, all the other parts of me dispute it.  Whether out loud or with my actions I tell myself I am most certainly not a writer.

I am not a writer when:

  • I choose diversions and clutter like Twitter and crap television over writing.
  • I just-ify myself.  People ask me what I do and I answer with “I’m just a stay-at-home-mom” or “I just blog, it’s nothing special” or “I just work a few hours a week in retail.”
  • I have amazing, creative thoughts and I choose not to pause and write them down.
  • I feel the truth in me and I squash it back into its darkest crevice, to write what sounds better instead.

I know this stuff is in me – the writer, and I know it needs to come out, but it scares the hell out of me.  It doesn’t strike fear in my heart because I think if I wrote it you wouldn’t like me anymore.  It’s actually the opposite.  Nobody likes inauthenticity.  No one is moved to action or tears by fluff.  Most bloggers look back at their early writings and photography and want to cringe.  They feel like they’ve come so far in their craft.  I look back and I cringe at what I’ve become.  Too stuck to let the words flow.  Too passive to pick up the camera.  Too scared to confess that amidst my blessings I struggle to feel good (how dare you!), too sensitive to share that amidst my struggles I have moments of pure joy (how dare you!).  I’m frightened because to go back to that other place is to admit that I’ve been doing it wrong.  It’s to stand up in front of God and everyone (well, a few of you loyal readers, anyway) and be held accountable to truth-telling again.

And so I write about chore charts or makeup, or even worse, I don’t write at all.  I’m not saying that writing about those things isn’t worthy.  I read other writers who do it, and do it very well, but that is not my gift, that is not my passion.  My gift has been to write about life, as a mother, wife, daughter, friend, with honesty and emotion.  My gift has been to take photos that aren’t perfect, but that manage to capture my family and my world as it is.  And because somewhere along the way I convinced myself that I wasn’t a writer or a photographer, I wrapped that gift back up and shoved it in a closet.

I think it’s about time to regift that puppy to myself.  And hopefully, back to you.  I’m awfully scared, though.  I might need you to hold my hand.

 

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Comments

  1. Hell yes!

    I am SOOO guilty of just-ifying myself.

    I absolutely cannot wait to see this session on Blissdom at Home. I’ve heard the most wonderful things about it.

    <3 you <3 you <3 you

    • It was amazing … so many people, including me, had breakthroughs during the session. Leave it to two guys (Jeff Goins and John Acuff) to be the ones to make me cry at women’s conference! I heart you right back.

  2. I’d be glad to hold your hand… I love the real stuff you write. Don’t let the fear of “admitting you’ve been doing it wrong” keep you from doing it anyway. That would be so tragic.

    • Thanks for sticking with me through the authentic and the, ahem, not-so-authentic. I will take you up on the hand-holding.

  3. I justify myself. Wow. What a terrific way of putting it. And you’re so right. People asked me what I do as a day job and I’d say “I’m just a data processor” and make a face. But you know what? This job has supported me for 8 years and has given me stability I’ve needed desperately. It also allows my husband to stay home with his dad during the day.

    In the end, though, it’s my way of putting myself down for not living my dreams – even when I don’t exactly know what those dreams are. It’s time to brush off my gifts and start using them again.

    I’ll be here to hold your hand any time you need it.

    • Pass that gift around! In the short time we were together, I could tell you have some magnificent stuff inside you. Whether or not it ever is seen, I hope you release it. So glad to have met you.

  4. I want to be a writer. I am enchanted with the idea of blogging my innermost thoughts so that I can set them free into the universe—that’s how I think of it when I dream about writing. I imagine that something magical will come from doing it because I have experienced that through conversation.

    “I have amazing, creative thoughts and I choose not to pause and write them down.” Yes. All the time I find myself composing blog posts in my head that never materialize. I don’t make time to write them because I minimize the importance of doing so because I’m scared. I’m scared of being vulnerable enough to admit that having a blog is important to me. I’m scared that my writing won’t be good enough.

    I think more than being a writer I want to be a storyteller. Just this morning I had the thought that maybe I should attend a storytelling workshop. It would completely outside my comfort zone to perform an original story of my own in front of a group of people…but maybe that’s just what I need, right? GROWTH is important. This is as close to saying it aloud and I’m strong enough for at this moment.

    If holding you accountable to truth-telling again means you will send your stories and photos into the world, then I will do it. I find your stories and your photos refreshing and inspiring and wonderful.

    • I know you’ll hold me accountable and I love you for it. It’s funny, I can write things down all day long, but I could never, ever tell a story out loud. When Elena was smaller she used to always ask me to make up a story and it made me physically uncomfortable. I couldn’t do it. It makes me sad now, to think that fear of disappointing a 3-year-old, who was really just craving attention from me, kept me from thinking out loud creatively. I hope you do it – I think you’d be fantastic.

  5. hand extended.

  6. “I shall live badly if I do not write, and I shall write badly if I do not live. “-Francoise Sagan, playwright and novelist (1935-2004)
    Angie, I’m here with my arms outstretched. Forget this holding hands stuff – I want to hug your neck. I love your bold self! Write on!

  7. (I’m finally catching up on my blog reading…) Just wanted to say that I’m a huge fan of your writing. When your blog shows up in my list of updated posts, I get a little excited and it’s the first one I click on to read. Your blog was what inspired me to start my own blog and for that I’m thankful. I enjoy reading about your family, and the other stuff too. I think you have a wonderful way with words and I hope you share even more of them with us. here’s my hand (sorry, it’s probably sticky) :)

  8. Oh sister, THIS. Yes, completely. I’m guilty of so many of those things too. I read this article right before Blissdom and it only helped to underscore everything Jeff said in that session. http://terribleminds.com/ramble/2012/02/21/25-things-i-want-to-say-to-so-called-aspiring-writers/

    I will gladly hold your hand and might need a little hand holding of my own.

    And I’m so glad we got to spend that time together at Blissdom! <3

  9. Thank you so much for re-gifting this, friend! I’m visiting from Jeff’s blog — from his write-something-dangerous post — and just joyful to have seen this. Recently, I too have been learning to call myself a writer. It takes much courage to do so, but always feels good when I do. Grateful to have found your blog today!

    • I’m amazed by how hard it is to say the words “I’m a writer,” but how easy it is for those around us to accept it. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment, Sarah.