Remember on Monday how I said I was going to post on M/W/F and once on the weekends? If you haven’t looked at your calendar today, it’s already Thursday. If you’re a regular follower (you regulars need a moniker – how does “Chickette” grab you?), you noticed that nothing went up yesterday. Oops. Wednesday’s post got written off like a bad debt. But I’m here today. I also said on Monday that I’d fill you in on the details of my adventures from the hiatus .
When I oh-so-gracelessly stumbled into my break from writing, I was a wreck. Actually, I was more like a minor fender-bender that you don’t want to tell your parents about when you borrowed the car in high school that time. I was frustrated at how life was going. Specifically, I was frustrated that it didn’t feel like my writing was going anywhere. I was blogging, tweeting, and editing. I was building my platform like “they” keep telling me I need to do (they = industry gatekeepers). I felt like I was running, running, running, but that I was a hamster on a wheel.
So for the first several days, I kept thinking, “Maybe I’m not cut out to be a writer.” I couldn’t fathom writing book after book after book with a seemingly endless supply of imagination to feed the stories. I despaired of ever writing anything that, when it crossed a publisher’s desk, would make that person stop and think, “Wow – this is good!” I thought this was God’s way of gently letting me know that my 5-year writing experiment was over.
Then I went on a date with my husband.
We decided to try a spot we’d heard of but never visited – the Ó Eating House. Over some scrumptious appetizers (the best calamari I’ve ever had), hubs started telling me about a book he was reading, “Hipster Christianity.” The part of the conversation that directly related to me was when he said that the book postulates that churches don’t seem to place much value on artists, but that some churches are incorporating various forms of art and using it as a platform to reach out. For example, some churches have started hosting art shows. Hubs went on to say that this is how he views my writing – as something from a Christian that is used to reach out to others (believers and non-believers alike).
As I munched on a piece of fried squid, I tried on that description to see how it felt. I liked it. It felt good. I remembered how, in my early days of writing, I wanted to write funny stuff that appealed to other moms like me. I didn’t want to pretend that my house is always clean (yeah, right), or that my kids are always sweet (Ha!), or that my life only had ups – never any downs, big or small (have I mentioned that I’m on antidepressants?). I wanted to be a Christian writer who encouraged other Christians to laugh. About everything. I’d forgotten that until now. But I still wasn’t sure I had anything to write about.
A few days after our date, I read an interview given by C. S. Lewis that a friend sent me. This was the part I kept thinking about:
Professor Lewis, if you had a young friend with some interest in writing on Christian subjects, how would you advise him to prepare himself?
“I would say if a man is going to write on chemistry, he learns chemistry. The same is true of Christianity. But to speak of the craft itself, I would not know how to advise a man how to write. It is a matter of talent and interest. I believe he must be strongly moved if he is to become a writer. Writing is like a ‘lust,’ or like ‘scratching when you itch.’ Writing comes as a result of a very strong impulse, and when it does come, I for one must get it out.”
Hmmm – scratching when you itch. I couldn’t remember a time when I felt that way about writing. It was something I wanted to succeed at, something I wanted to conquer and mark of my bucket list. Become a published author.
Wanna hear something funny? Part of me was wishing and hoping that God would reward my faithfulness with an offer from a publisher. Every time I went to get the mail, I secretly hoped that there was a letter in there saying, “You’re awesome! Let us publish your book!” but I knew better. God is not Santa Claus. Just because I’m doing the right thing doesn’t mean that He is going to reward me with something from my wildest dreams. Nor is Christianity like a math formula. I can’t plug my behavior into the variable slots and know that I’m going to get a certain outcome. All I know that that He asked me to stop writing for Lent.
The longer the 38 days went, the more I thought about writing. I thought about grabbing my manuscript and working on the edits. I thought about my blog and you, my Chickettes. I wanted to sit down and write posts, but I never let myself. The point of this exercise was to not write. So I amused myself with other things (I found the Draw Something app!) and carried on. By the end of the 4th week, I realized that my manuscript and my blog are the itches that I need to scratch. When I’m done with the manuscript (finally), I may or may not find that another writing project has captured my attention. This blog, however, will quite possibly be with me for a long time.
So for now, I’m going to keep blogging and I’ll work on the edits when I can. I know that the 38 Days of Silence (sounds like a good book title, right?) were good for me because I was able to clarify my thoughts and goals about writing. Maybe someday I’ll be a published author, but right now I’m a wife, a mom, a friend, a Bible study leader, and a Sunday school teacher. Probably in that order.