March 18th 2020
Step One: The Core – Your love of writing has a core buried within your journey as a writer.
I was inspired to write at a very young age, not by a person, but by the release it gave me to set my emotions free on the white page. To watch line after line, fill up and my tension and anxieties held captive between the prison bars lining my pages. The beautiful art of finally saying exactly how I felt without fear of reproach, appropriateness, or judgment. My love of writing began simply for myself. I progressed from diary keeping when I was ten, to prayer journaling and poetry throughout my teens, to songwriting in college when I earned my first degree in music. Just as I grew, my writing grew, but never with the purpose of sharing it, always for release.
It wasn’t until I decided to write my first memoir about the conditions of my classroom that I even considered to put pen to paper for someone else to read. I never considered myself a writer. I would never have thought to pick it up as something I’d loved, I just had an intense urge to out the truth behind our public education. So I poured details and daily moments onto the page. I barely finished this before I was blindsided by my husband’s brain cancer and began my second memoir on the heels of the first. I still didn’t consider myself a writer.
I worked on my memoir for years, vented my pain, recorded every fine detail in the hopes it might help someone else, earned myself one hundred and twenty thousand messy words that had little shape but all of our miracle in one hugely fat manuscript. I worked until I didn’t want to ever see the thing again. So, to distract myself, I wrote a writing curriculum for the middle school I worked for. I hated how there weren’t any truly good resources that I could use with my kiddos. That was fun. I shared it with my colleagues, and they loved and hated it. LOL. (Still, I didn’t consider myself a writer)
Then one fateful day in August, my principal asked me to teach a Creative Writing Course. I decided to do something real with the kids. I wanted to write a book with them. I wanted them to write what they wanted to, to show them they could dream and pursue that dream, and I as their teacher would help them. We wrote horror, comedy, fantasy – so much fantasy—and we loved it! They never finished their books, but I did. I read it to them. We ogled over the greatness, and I decided maybe I should be a writer.
Since then I’ve written four fiction novels, a ton of blog posts, a short story, and am now playing around with writing a devotional.
What is your core? What is your pathway that carried you to the moment you believed you were a writer? Get back to that. Whatever you have to do. Spend time. When I’m at my worst in discouragement I return to the poetry and songwriting. It’s a relief to vent my emotions and the change refreshes my spirit.
Step Two: Inspiration – Your love of writing has to be fed by other great authors.
I devour fantasy books. I consume them so quickly that I need, not want, a Kindle Unlimited membership. I literally cannot afford my fiction habit! That said, one of the best ways to rekindle your love for writing is to stop writing and go read. Read your favorite book again. Read your favorite author.
I adore Karen Moning’s books in the Fever series. They are fire! Her imagination is so fresh and unreal. A monster that’s a book. A girl that is ever-changing and transforming. A man that is oh so gorgeous, but also a monster who might kill the girl. It’s just the stuff of greatness.
Whenever I feel like quitting, I pick up a series that I love. Not a new one that I have to develop a new relationship with, but an old one whose characters have become my friends and whose world has become my home in my mind.
Step Three: The Tribe – Your tribe of writing buddies are a must if you are going to remain in love with your writing after the cruelty of putting it out there. Make writing friends. It’s a MUST!
I probably go to far with all my writing groups on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, but I’m addicted to having writing friends. Each one of them brings something invaluable to the table. If you don’t have a tribe yet, find one. If you can’t find one, make one. If you don’t know how, follow other authors that seem to connect and feel inviting to you. No matter what, don’t try the query road without a tribe. They will pick you up when you fall, encourage you when your down, tell you when your wrong, and hopefully know the way to getting right with the written word.
Check out my friend Melisa Hightower’s blog about the psychology behind and within writing! https://wewritepsych.com/persistence/
Or pick up a free devotional from my friend Michelle Keener at https://www.michellekeener.com/.
Read up on great editing and writing tips from my friend Maria Tureaud at https://mariatureaud.com/blog/
Or get involved in a writing retreat with my friend Jeni Chapelle who also has an informative and fun podcast at https://www.jenichappelleeditorial.com/retreat or https://www.jenichappelleeditorial.com/post/podcast-roundup-indie-chicks-podcast
My point is, I wouldn’t know any of this stuff if I hadn’t met these wonderful women who’ve each inspired me, pushed me forward, encouraged me when I was down, and showed me when I was wrong. They are a part of my tribe, my heart, and their amazing work has become a part of my life.
Just read my friend Rebecca’s post Keep Swinging and you’ll know that she’s just the perfect friend to have in your tribe. (Plus, she is INCREDIBLE with characterization!) https://rebeccafryar.com/2020/02/17/keep-swinging/
In Love’s Closing
Just like in any relationship there are ups and downs. I don’t always love my husband’s breath, or my teenage son’s angst, or the mess on my daughter’s floor, but I always do love them. Writing is a relationship, and it is going to ebb and flow, wax and wane because it is not the fount of perfect flowing creativity. Not only that, we aren’t always going to be the perfect person to write. Sometimes we are sick, have families that need us, pets that demand to be played with, and that is fine. Just remember why you loved writing in the first place. Seek others when you’re down and out, and you’ll find your flame for your writing reignited.