“It’s easy to say you’re a writer when things are going well. When the decision is made in the abyss, then it is quite clear that it is not one’s own decision at all.”
Madeleine L’Engle A Circle of Quiet
Madeleine L’Engle has always been a favorite writer of mine, A Wrinkle in Time was one of my favorite books growing up, but only recently have I discovered her non fiction work. A friend recommended Walking on Water to me a few years ago and every since then I’ve found her thoughts on faith and writing to be wonderful food for thought.
I purchased The Crosswicks Journals and have been working my way through book one A Circle of Quiet. While reading this book I’ve had some major changes happen to me in my life and they have been leading to a bigger question of who I am and what I want my life to look like, both as an individual and as a part of my family unit.
It is with all this self reflection that I admitted to myself I want to write. It’s why I have this blog, it’s why I’ve always journaled, it’s why I got into scrapbooking and it’s my go to reflex when I need to unload and unpack what is happening in the world around me. For some reason I have been afraid to admit this and haven’t felt it worthy enough to set aside the time and energy to do the work that I know to be living inside of me. I am currently in the process of figuring out where this fear comes from and why it’s even there, but in the meantime I’ve just… started writing. I have an actual work (a book? I don’t know for sure) that I’ve begun working on and this week I wrote out a schedule for what I want to get done everyday. Basically a personal check in point to make sure I’m sitting my butt down and writing. Even if, like yesterday, I only got 300 words in. That’s 300 words more than I had so I’m looking at every addition as a positive thing whereas in the past I would say it wasn’t worth it and would have found the task overwhelming.
A few months ago I heard Tayari Jones, author of the brilliant An American Marriage speak and she said something that has stayed with me. “Don’t believe you’re too busy to write. If you’ve got stuff to do, you’ve got stuff to say.” There are so many authors that talk about their process and it sounds ideal. They have a dedicated space where they sit for an allotted amount of time and write an allotted amount of words and that is the key to finishing a book. Tayari Jones called bullshit on this and said more authors need to talk about working other jobs, taking care of families, dealing with writer’s block, and the work that goes into writing with all these variables. How fitting in writing into your life is what it takes and that is the key, not some magic number of words or hours a day.
I’m taking what she said to heart and fitting it in when I can. That means sitting here next to my son as he shows me his world on Minecraft and outlining what I want to happen next in my story. It means asking for time alone and getting my partner to take over the kids for however long I need. And it means not being ashamed or embarrassed to tell people what I’m working on. Because it is my work, this is what I’m beginning to understand. I hope one day I can share it with you and my goal for the remainder of the year is to set aside time for my craft and make it something I want to show the world.
“I uncovered the typewriter. In my journal I recorded this moment of decision, for that’s what it was. I had to write. I had no choice in the matter. It was not up to me to say I would stop, because I could not. It didn’t matter how small or inadequate my talent. If I never had another book published, and it was very clear to me that this was a real possibility, I still had to go on writing.”
Madeleine L’Engle A Circle of Quiet