Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Epiphany, Expectation, and Icing

There have been times in the past few years—long before I was actually writing daily—that I would say to myself and sometimes even out loud, “I just need a book advance!” This notion seemed the quick and easy way out of a day job that bored or frustrated me more often than not. The book advance would help me catch up financially too. It was a ridiculous notion given that I was not showing up to do the work that would result in a book advance.

These days I've changed my tune. I still want the book advance, but not as an escape from my real life. The book advance would be proof that I showed up and did the work. I've also had an epiphany about this writing life. I like the back story emerging about me as a writer: I wrote a 212-page rough draft in 30 minute increments before my daughter woke up every morning. I accomplished this goal whilst working a full-time job (where I write all day) and raising a daughter. What I like about this story is that it debunks the myth that writers need vast swaths of open time to accomplish their written works.

The other part of my story that I am only beginning to tell is that I wrote my way through a divorce. It was as peaceable and amicable a process as one could imagine, but nonetheless, it was a stressful time as the dismantling of a family's life was taking place. Astrid and her friends met me every morning and created a place for me to write out my emotions, questions, anxieties. They kept me from chewing my nails and worrying excessively. Times throughout my day where I might have let the unknowns of the process overwhelm me, I was able to fill my time and thoughts with meanderings about what was coming next for my characters. Writing during this difficult time created a healthy outlet and a rhythm to my day that distracted me from the stress that was inherent in the process. 

Writing fiction is just the newest way I can see God sidling up to me and saying, “Hey girl, I've got something to help you through this time. Check this out.” Then the miracles lined up: my friends talked about me writing fiction, a frustration at work planted a story idea in my imagination, car trouble inspired Astrid's future career as a mechanic, my friend told me to write only Astrid's story. And ta-da! A work of fiction was born.

My epiphany was to stop daydreaming about full-time writing as my sign that I was a success. I already AM a success. I wrote two-hundred-twelve-pages of fiction that will soon be reshaped and sculpted into a manuscript. And I have other stories waiting to be written. I am remaining open to what the future holds. Maybe there WILL be a day when I write my own words full-time. But my epiphany is focused on my expectations. I am a writer because I write. 

I've already got the cake. Everything that follows is icing. Sweet, yummy icing.

12 comments:

  1. Writing itself is a great reward, isn't it?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Julie, I cannot express enough how fantastic your writing plan was/is. It is epiphany on paper! I love it. I WANT to read Astrid's story - when?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Your guess is as good as mine, ha! I'm starting the second draft in earnest when #write31days is complete. It will still be awhile, but I'll keep you posted.

      Delete
  3. I love your statement about writers not needing great swaths of time - because that is what I have been thinking I have been needing and have been lacking. I thought once we reached an almost-empty nest, then I would have time to write. But now we are taking care of my m-i-l in our home, and I have wondered if this is a dream I need to put on hold. But more and more I am hearing about writers squeezing in time to write into very busy lives, so I am asking Him for wisdom in how to do that and the mental capability to do so.

    ReplyDelete
  4. It's amazing what we can do with the spare minutes in our day, even if there are only a few of them. The trick is harnessing those few minutes and being intentional about using them.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Well, this is just encouragement. It's hard to write every day while teaching. This, this icing, is just what I needed! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm so happy this encouraged you! Keep writing!

      Delete
  6. Love that you made use of just 30 minutes a day to do something great!

    ReplyDelete
  7. I needed to hear this as well. I have been finding the time to write with working full time, 2 teenagers and a busy ministry. But you are right, I don't need great chunks of time, I can just use 30 min a day. Thanks for sharing this. Love your series!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for reading the series and commenting. I am so happy that the post was an encouragement!

      Delete
  8. I am loving your posts. I have spent the past year embracing excuses to not sit down and write. thank you for your transparency! Praying healing and restoration for your heart as you embark on your new life.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Tammy, thank you so much for your feedback, encouraging words, and prayer. I appreciate them all!

      Delete