This tale is a recurring theme in my adult life. Its taken me many years to recognize that the secret to becoming a writer is really quite simple: you just have to write.
For years, I've scribbled notes, sent myself e-mails of ideas, and drafted lengthy letters I never mailed. I reserved my "real" writing for grad school papers, lesson planning, and two torturous theses. This so-called "real" writing occupied countless hours of my 20s. More over, it zapped my passion for honest writing.
Last year, while teaching my 4th grade students how to write, I found myself reawakened to this passion. I lectured enthusiastically about the need to keep a writer's notebook. I felt true joy in teaching the elements of persuasive writing. I met with students one-on-one and urged them to write from their hearts and to document their truths. It has always been my favorite part of teaching. It is the part that most truly reflects me.
Now armed with my own writer's notebook (otherwise known as a MacBook), I am finally taking on the project I have not been courageous enough to pursue until now. Many people have told me that our family's story would make an interesting book. There is so much I haven't been able to write about yet, anecdotes that weren't blog appropriate, moments of such tremendous impact that I couldn't articulate them in the present. This experience has been deeply personal and profoundly powerful. I am ready and excited to devote myself to working on this book while we are in Canada.
I recently wrote an essay that was selected as a semi-finalist in a contest called "Truth in Words" by the organization Notes & Words. I am thrilled that it will be published alongside some incredibly moving essays in an anthology to be released in December. However, the grand prize winner will meet with some very influential people in the publishing world. It would be an amazing opportunity, so I am giving it my best shot.
You can read my essay by clicking on the Facebook link below. The winner of this contest will be selected, in part, by the "likes" and comments shared on this page. You can also help by sharing the essay on your own Facebook page so that others can read it.
Whether I win or lose this particular contest, I am still determined to complete the book. Like someone beginning a diet or training for a marathon, I hope that by announcing it here, I will hold myself accountable for buckling down and doing the daily writing it will require. My goal is to write 2000 words a day while we are away.
Every day I find myself inspired by the people I know who are living their passions. We all recognize the uncertainty and temporary nature of life, yet we often choose safety over risk, comfort over failure. I see now that it is risk that invites opportunity and failure that encourages growth. And it is only by baring our souls and examining our deepest truths that we are free to explore our passions and live our most authentic lives.