I always wanted to write a novel. I wrote plenty of stories, most unfinished and short. I finished one in high school and two in college and I was proud to finally finish an idea and bring it to fruition. Yet it was not an easy task. I struggled to pull out each word from my mind and fill the page. I wrote scene upon scene and never finished them. In college I took a fiction writing class. My peers said I wrote such detailed description and got into the characters, a trusted friend said I was a natural with dialogue, but the blow came with my writing portfolio I got a B on because the professor said I had no conflict. Nothing really drove the story. My writing would go nowhere without it and that’s exactly what happened. Years of nothingness.
Until I wrote about something close to my heart. I dug deep for answers to questions I had always pondered about someone dear to me. I wrote poetry, which comes easily, but for my graduate assignment I had to write a story too. The fear arose in me. How could I do this? I’ve rarely finished anything. My husband, who had recently finished a book in five months, helped provide the support to keep me going. He was great at asking questions to guide my writing.
“Okay so he’s on a drive and you don’t want it to be boring. Well what happens on his drive? Does he get a flat? Does he stop for gas and something remind him of his past? Does he see a person that triggers a memory?”
This was exactly what I needed to push through and complete the story, which I gave as a gift to a loved one. This sparked my writing again. Maybe I could write a story about a small town like the ones I like to read with quirky characters, or write about things I struggle with from an Orthodox perspective for people to think about and help them? I always wanted to write about bullying and how to cope with it. So I started three more stories. I even wrote about five pages for each and really liked them. Again I got stuck. I had a basic story outline but couldn’t move the plot from one event in the outline to the other. I opened the documents, tried to fill the page, failed, and closed the document for months.
For years I was pushing to write a book, a story, anything. I pushed for my dream. I had to step back and be put in situations to accept that maybe that wasn’t what I was supposed to do, thoughts I had sadly pondered before but didn’t want to give up hope. I wanted to have something valuable to offer people, something to say. Yet I felt like I had nothing and my gift was going to waste.
Or was it that I wasn’t using my gift in the right way? Maybe I had to let go to see God’s purpose and let God provide windows of opportunity to see where my gift of writing had value. Poetry. I had written plenty of poems to uplift people. That was easy. What else? Nonfiction. I love research and I take good notes. I also am really good at taking situations and seeing connections, or reflecting on how a situation could’ve been better. Maybe God could use these gifts in writing to help others? And so this blog was born. Take nonfiction, reflection, poetry, and a desire to help others to use my gift in a Godly way.
May you be open to how God will use your gifts.
Questions to Ponder:
- What brings you the most joy and brings you closer to God and others?
- What am I good at (skills: people, relationship, creating, nurturing, homemaking, sports, literary, organizing etc)?
- How could I or have I used these to help others? Are there opportunities that unexpectedly arose for you to use them? Could you do it more often?
- Are there multiple obstacles that have gotten in my way that could be a sign I need to pursue a different path?
- Am I pursuing the right path but am not ready to take the next step yet? Is there something else God is telling me I need to do first?