You should start a blog, Andrew told me on our honeymoon, as we sat on armchairs in the Caribbean sun, our sandy toes and elbows touching. If you want to be a writer, you have to start a blog.
That’s the thing though— what if I’m not supposed to be a writer? If I was, wouldn’t someone have found me? Wouldn’t my Creative Writing professor in college have thought twice before telling me I should pursue something other than writing? Wouldn’t some editor have passed me on the street, pulled me into an alley and told me that honey, you are the next thing and you need to write your story?
What if, I remember thinking, I have nothing to say?
We aren’t born with labels telling us what we’re made for, and in this country, no one’s telling us what we have to become. So how are you ever supposed to know?
A few days later, when we were back in the United States, I sat by a pond, watching a flock of geese waddle back and forth, into the water, out of it, quacking at and running after each other. Make me a goose, I thought. Geese don’t sit around wondering what they should do and overthinking how they should do it and if they’ll be any good at it. They just are.
The purpose of life, I heard somewhere, is to glorify God and enjoy him forever.
Whether I’m any good at it or not, whether I have anything worthwhile to say, I cannot deny this: I enjoy God through writing. I enjoy making order out of the chaos of thoughts that run wild in my brain; if not answering, at least writing down the thousand questions that keep me up at night. Writing forces me to think more slowly than I talk; it makes me notice things. The world is made up of a million tiny details, arranged in perfect order. Like words. Writing has made strong my faith. And maybe that is something.
So, with hesitant fingers and a nauseated stomach, I began typing up posts and sending them into the world, cringing that no one might read them and cringing that someone actually might. I tried not to overthink it, not to worry or obsess about it, but just to do it.
This is my 100th blog post.
When I started writing, I had no idea if I had anything to say. I’m still not sure I have said anything worthwhile, but I have said it, and maybe that’s what counts. When I started, I had no idea what I wanted to do with my career. Now, I am in my final year of graduate school, about to complete a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing, earning a side living through freelancing. When I started blogging, I had never attempted a book. Now I am nearly finished with a middle-grade fantasy novel, that, I don’t know will get published, but that doesn’t seem to matter as much as the fact that I wrote it.
That, instead of wading in the shallow end, watching everyone else live life, too afraid to dive in because what if I’m not made for water, I chose to jump off the cliff’s edge.
A few weeks ago I taught a two day creative writing course. Above all else, I told them, find it. Find the thing that makes you come alive.
And if you, too, are stuck in the shadows, wanting to chase a tightly held someday, held back by your fear, busyness, or skepticism, I urge you to take a deep breath and join me.
Because I don’t know yet whether I’ll sink or swim, but it was worth it to know the way the wind feels on my face as I fell, to know that the dive in itself was exhilarating.