Have you spent time and money on conferences, workshops, books about writing … but still not figured out how to get the words on the page in a consistent way?
For two decades, I did everything I could to be a writer except actually writing consistently. I went to workshops, read books, and listened to author interviews, but I couldn’t make it happen. I told myself that being a busy teacher and parent meant that I didn’t have time to write books. I told myself … someday.
I’d been telling myself “someday” since I was 8 years old.
When I was 8, I wrote a story for my grandfather titled Why Grandpas Are Special. It was about a little girl’s grandfather who bought her a pony (and kept it in his yard, of course, since hers was too small). And she loved him SO, SO much.
I handed him the story bound in red construction paper, rolled and tied with a ribbon. He read it aloud like a kindergarten teacher to his class, all the while laughing and wiping away tears.
It was thrilling to have a story created in my imagination received so emotionally by my ideal audience, and even though I didn’t get a pony out of the deal, that feeling has long stayed with me. I decided then to be an author.
Sometimes life gets in the way of our dreams.
I had other interests too, one of which was working with children. Life lead me to teaching in public education, where – shocker! – my favorite subject was writing. Coaching students from second grade through college to generate an idea and see it come alive on the page was so satisfying. I saw many of them go from deeply doubting their ability to write to seeing themselves as writers.
When I took a hiatus from teaching when my kids were babies, I founded a nonprofit creative writing program for kids and teens in my community. For six years, we offered free workshops, teen writing conferences, and one-on-one support to local young writers with volunteer writers.
Once again, I was doing everything about writing except actually writing.
I didn’t believe in myself as a writer. I thought I was too busy, too distracted, too unmotivated to ever make my dream a reality. I thought I was unqualified, untrained, unlikely to ever get published. I saw myself getting older, getting bogged down in the details of daily life, and feared I had waited too long. I wished I could make myself sit down and write the book that was in my head, but I couldn’t. I knew I needed to get out of my own way, but I didn’t know how.
We must understand what it really takes.
Finally, I realized that if I wanted to be a writer, I needed to hold myself accountable and be willing to believe in myself and my ideas. And the only way I was going to do that was to learn how to manage my own crushing self-doubt.
I needed to follow the advice I’d been giving my students for years. To help myself sit with the doubt and fear and put words on the page in an intentional way. I needed to learn how to manage my thinking and my expectations.
So I did that work for myself. I still do it, every day. And the result was the publication of my first book, Unspoken, in early 2020.
Why do I do this work?
Because I believe that your story matters.
I believe that the interior story of regular people living regular lives are as rich, complicated, and read-worthy as the most fantastical world-building. I also believe that the self-doubt many writers experience (myself included) is rooted in comparison with others.
If we can explore through story the things that make each person who they are, we can begin to heal our own self-doubt and finally put in the necessary work within our busy lives to make to write the book we have always wanted to complete.
But it can be hard. Really hard.
A lot of us believe that we need to wait for inspiration to strike. The problem is that this belief goes against what we know is true: that consistent practice makes us better writers.
I have personally grappled with this for years. I would sit down to write, feel uninspired, and get up to do something else. Or worse, I would never sit down in the first place.
Then there is writing a book, which sometimes feels like wrangling a wild animal. The story pulls you one way, then another, and before you know it you don’t know the beginning from the middle … and is there even an end in sight?
I’ve got you. Let’s do this together.
Let me help you get there, too.
A little more about me…
I live in Bellingham, WA with my husband, two teenaged kids, two cats, and a new puppy. I love taking walks and taking naps. I enjoy bad jokes and puns more than anyone probably should. My family and friends are my everything.
I’m an avid reader, an introvert, an Enneagram 4, and I’m slightly obsessed with sunflowers and dahlias, though I can’t keep plants alive no matter what I do. When I’m feeling adventurous, I enjoy hiking, paddleboarding, swimming, and basically any other outdoor activity.