The journey became official on July 4, 1988. I was 12 years old, going into 7th grade. I cracked open my hot pink diary with an ice cream cone on top and began writing. It was an innocent act, for sure. But to me, it’s proof of my purpose.
I’m convinced. Or perhaps God’s convinced me quietly, time and time again.
Writing isn’t my hobby. It’s my calling.
I just haven’t gotten paid for it yet.
One diary turned into two, then three. Diaries turned into notebook journals. Notebook journals turned into store-bought journals. Teenage-angst journals turned into gratitude journals, love journals and pregnancy journals. Store-bought journals sufficed, yet again, post baby one and two. Then there was the seven-year computerized, therapeutic journal you’ve heard about if you’ve lingered long in this space from the beginning. Yes, all of this led to baby three and my blog launch in July 2012.
July is clearly my month of birth.
The past 3 1/2 years have been marked with tremendous personal and spiritual growth. My inner life is deep and incredibly rich. To know me well is to know that I’m much quieter on the outside than I am on the inside. 368 blog posts have been published and made public. 65 posts sit unpublished in my blog’s draft box. A leather, store-bought journal stamped with “A Penny For Your Thoughts” is nearly filled with notes and dreams of great big things, thoughts and truths I needed to speak out loud.
Some of you have listened.
Some of you have heard.
Some of you have loved my dreams.
Some of you have held them close.
Some of you have quietly affirmed.
Some of you have stood by me.
Some of you have pressed, asked and challenged.
Some of you simply don’t know.
Some of you I’ve been too afraid to tell.
Two of you called me an author last week – even though I didn’t believe it, even though I don’t believe it. “I’m not an author until I’m published.”
I’m a writer.
I own that.
But here’s the thing, friends.
I didn’t set out to become a professional blogger.
I wanted to become a writer.
I dreamed of becoming an author.
All those diaries and journals dating back to 1988? They’re proof that God was working something in me from the beginning, that He had a plan greater than my own, a plan to draw me and others closer to Him through words, through the Spirit moving in and through the everyday fabric of our lives.
The birth of my first baby marked the birth of the dream. In 2003, the dream began taking shape.
I wanted to write books.
I wanted to become an author.
I wanted to move people, to relate to people, to connect with people, to change people, to draw people closer to God and the purpose He has for their lives….in quiet and personal ways, through the written word.
I wanted to write words that make a difference, a lasting difference.
After my baby was born, I was shocked. Motherhood wasn’t anything like I expected. Heck, it still isn’t today. Motherhood is the hardest thing I’ve ever done, the hardest thing I’ll ever do. I needed to know I wasn’t alone in this mothering gig. I found solace and solidarity in the pages of real-life books on motherhood. Those books were unlike anything I’d ever read before. They opened my eyes. They helped me feel understood. They helped me realize I wasn’t alone. They changed me from the inside out.
Those books inspired me.
I wanted to move people like that. I wanted people to know they weren’t alone. I wanted to use my life exactly like that…to inspire and change people through the written, printed word.
So I began dreaming. I wrote the dreams out loud.
First dreams of authoring books appeared in my journals in 2003.
In November of 2006, I spoke my dream out loud to an established author and speaker who’s still alive and kicking today.
In March of 2007, I wrote a simple goal – to author one book on mothering. I defined the long-term vision. (It’s still the same vision I have today, only today’s vision is broader.) I brainstormed 19 book titles. No kidding. I even met with a local author for tips and researched domain names. (See, I was supposed to start blogging way back in 2007 when it was hip and new and the up-and-coming thing to do.)
The dream never went away. It just shifted.
In January of 2010, I started a blog, but never wrote a post.
In July of 2012, after being so exasperated with all the dreaming and writing in my head, I launched this blog. At that point, I’d been called to write publicly for nine years and hadn’t taken a LICK of real action. God is SO patient with us, friends, SO grace-filled. But he will gently remind you of His plan a million times if you don’t listen. After all, He’s a relentlessly loving God, too.
In October of 2014, I was presented with the opportunity to spend 20 minutes with a highly published and highly regarded author at a writing conference. From here on out, let’s refer to her as “Mama Bear.” When I approached Mama Bear, all I intended to do was thank her for her incredible leadership of our generation. All I wanted to do was tell her that I greatly respect and admire her, that when I “grow up,” I’d love to lead, love and write like she does. I told her all of those things. But she invited me in for more. I had no idea what was about to unfold. Add another dear writer friend and 20 minutes of conversation later, we found ourselves revealing our greatest writing dreams to Mama Bear. I told her about the book I wanted to write. I told her about the other book I wanted to write. She told me which book to write first and left me with “You’re more ready for this than you know.”
I met with a literary agent that afternoon. She told me she wanted to see my book proposal. She told me “go do it.” She gave me her business card and even hand-wrote a note on it, telling me what to write in the subject line when I sent in the book proposal.
Those words have echoed in my mind for 13 months now…
“You’re more ready for this than you know.”
“Go do it.”
But I haven’t written a book proposal yet.
I haven’t believed I’m ready for this. I haven’t believed I’m ready for this at all. I haven’t believed I’m good enough. I haven’t believed I have a big-enough platform or a loud-enough voice or beautiful-enough words. I haven’t believed I’m connected enough, that I’m Christian enough or secular enough, that I’m courageous enough to write any book proposal. I haven’t believed I’m strong enough to withstand rejections and criticisms that are part and parcel of any published author’s real life.
I haven’t believed in God’s dreams for me.
I haven’t believed in the plans He began setting out so clearly in 1988 with that hot pink ice cream cone diary.
I’ve started doubting my words.
I’ve started doubting my purpose.
I’ve let the enemy creep in and try to kill, steal and destroy all the plans God ever laid out for my life.
I can’t do it anymore, friends.
It’s coming to a stop today, whether I like it or not.
I’m not playing this game of tug of war anymore.
A plan and a purpose has been playing out in my life since 1988. In case you didn’t realize, it’s the end of 2015, friends. I’m almost 40 years old. God’s been calling me to this since I was 12 years old.
Will I listen?
Or will I not listen?
Will I deny the story He’s written, the story He’s writing today?
I never set out to become a professional blogger.
I dreamed of becoming a published author of books.
When I left my 14 1/2 year career as a speech-language pathologist in December 2014 to pursue writing and photography, one of my writing goals was to publish a blog post 2-3 times per week. I’ve met and kept that goal all year.
Today, I’m making a new goal and I’m making it public to keep myself accountable. Effective immediately and until further notice, I will be publishing blog posts at a frequency of 1-2 times per week maximum. With the exception of my upcoming Africa series (which I’ll write as much as I feel called to write), you can expect me to be writing on the blog with LESS frequency.
Why all the detail, you ask?
Why make this public?
Because I’m tired of the fight. I’m tired of the internal battle. I’m tired of keeping this all inside.
I started writing in diaries and journals when I was 12.
I began dreaming of writing books when I was 26.
I began blogging when I was 36.
I’m still dreaming of writing books and 2016 will mark my 40th birthday.
I’m not getting any younger, friends.
I believe God’s still calling me, still purposed me to author books. If I don’t write those books, nobody will. With that in mind, I am forcing myself, behaving myself out of this place of disbelief and inaction. I am taking the next leap of faith and I’m making it public for the purpose of internal and external accountability.
I have one, great-big book I feel I need to write.
And who knew, I have a children’s book series dreamed up as well. One’s drafted. The second is drafted in my mind. I need to sit down and write it all out ASAP – before it escapes me. As in, it needs to get on the screen within the next week or two or the heart of it will disappear into writer’s oblivion. I’m convinced the children’s series is more than two books. I just don’t have inspiration for books three plus, yet.
There are books beyond that…on calling, friendship, marriage, mission and maybe even motherhood (the original dream). All potential. All possibility. All completely unknown at this point.
I didn’t set out to become a professional blogger. This blog is not the end all be all.
I set out to become a published author of books.
God’s been calling. It’s been persistent. I can’t work my way out of the feeling that I’m supposed to do this. Maybe I’m crazy. Maybe I’m delusional. Maybe I’m a dreamer. Maybe.
Worst case? Call me crazy, delusional, a dreamer. At least I tried.
If my daughter wanted to become a doctor, I’d tell her to try, I’d tell her to go for it, I’d tell her to do what she feels called to do. Why is it so different for writers? Why do we continue to dream in the quiet? Why do we say we’re working on “projects” when in reality we’re writing books? Why does it have to be so mysterious? If my daughter wanted to become a doctor, I can guarantee she’d have no problem publicly proclaiming she was applying to med school.
So there you go. I’m reducing my blogging time with hopes of freeing up time to work on my first book proposal. At this moment in time, I don’t know which book is first. And yes, you might call me crazy. My intention is to pursue traditional publication. (Sigh. Deep breath. We’ll work through this whichever way it goes.)
I’ll be honest. This may be slow. This may be a no go. I know this is NOT an easy road. But I have to try. There’s no more denying it. This is the next right thing to do. This is the next thing God’s calling me to do.
So if you ask me what I’m doing now, how I’m spending my time, what it’s like to be a stay-at-home mom who blogs? Yeah. Stay-at-home moms don’t sit around eating bon bons all day, that’s for sure. (Random ode and props to the bravest of the brave.) I’m not really identifying as a SAHM, anyway. I’m identifying as wife, mom, daughter, daughter-in-law, sister, sister-in-law, niece, cousin, aunt, friend, work-at-home photographer and writer who dreams of becoming an author.
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