Thursday, November 13, 2014

Thursday's Reflection: Am I A Writer?

Storyboard for My Book
"I am no longer a writer, " I announced to my husband at the end of a frustrating day at my desk. "How exciting to think about all the extra time I will have because I am no longer a writer." 

He calmly sat back in his desk chair and said, "How about if we go out for dinner and have a glass of wine? Maybe two." 

That was exactly what I needed, and the next morning I was back at my desk and no longer felt stuck or at least as stuck as I had been the evening before. A way to move through the problem I was having with the assignment for the writing class I am taking, an assignment directly related to my proposed book project, magically appeared. I put my writer hat back on --until the next round of uncertainties appeared.  

I spend much of my days in writerly pursuits: writing or researching posts for this blog,  writing what Anne Lamott in Bird by Bird calls SFD or "shitty first drafts" for my book, and working on the online class assignments. I have ideas and notes for articles for various publications and have even submitted occasional manuscripts. If someone asked me right this minute, "What do you do?" I would probably say, "I'm a writer." However, underneath there are always lurking doubts.

Does having a bookshelf full of books on writing qualify me as a writer? Do the few articles I've had published along the way and the stacks of drafts I have for other projects count? What about the days I only write a grocery list? Am I still a writer then? 

"I am a writer," I stamp my feet and insist to myself. I write letters I am told are treasured by the receiver. I write in my journal and have bins of filled journals to reinforce my longevity as a journal keeper. I write two posts for this blog every week, although I have done little to promote it. 

Do I need to be read in order to be considered a writer? That's like asking if a tree falls in the forest and no one is there, would there still be the sound of the crash. The tree fell, regardless. I write regardless, but I do write as if it will be read and as if it matters. I write feeling that as I reflect and clarify and straighten out a twisted ball of thoughts, it matters. 

I write because it is the best way I know to find out what I think and feel. Writing is a way to clarify, to clear the internal space, to move from muddle to understanding, to see where the outer story ends and the inner story begins, to take responsibility for how I live and move in the world. 

Writing is a God thing for me. 

Writing is a way for me to attend to the presence of God in my life, to follow the tracks of Spirit moving in my life, and to catch a glimmer of what God is asking of me right now. Write now. 

Writing isn't the only way I show up for my life nor is it the only way I connect to Spirit in my life, but over the years I have learned it is an essential spiritual practice for me, and and I trying to give it the attention it deserves. That's why I spend much of my time these days actually writing. If not now, when? 

An Invitation
What is essential in your life? How do you sense God's movement in your life? Is God nudging you to make central to your life what is essential for your spiritual growth and what are you willing to give up in order to make that happen? I would love to know. 


  1. Dearest Nancy, you ARE a writer, and God does work through your writing! I am certain of this, yet I understand those frustrating moments of self doubt, wondering whether all the time and effort is worth it, getting caught up in comparisons and counting ("How many people actually READ my blog?" is an unhelpful question I wish to eliminate from my imperfect writing life.)
    Upon returning from a challenging 8 days in Ann Arbor (helping my Mom to move) your loving letter was waiting for me, like a Divine, magical gift, with exactly the words I needed to read and take into my heart. Thank you for all the ways you use your gifts, and promise me you'll keep on writing, even if it's just grocery lists (and yes, that counts)!

  2. Thank you so much for your kind words and encouragement. I don't think I could stop writing, even if I thought I wanted to. Writing is essential to my life and how lucky I am to know that. I pray that each of us attempting to live a God-filled life or a life of being awake knows what is essential to that life. I am grateful you are in my life.


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