The writing muse seems to have taken a little vacation from me in the last several months. Adjusting to farm life took a back seat to adjusting to pregnancy, and it’s hard to imagine that I’d keep many readers if every post began with an update on the number of times I’ve vomited recently. I’ve attempted to write on some deeper topics that seem good as I get started, only to shut the computer in frustration and give up when it becomes obvious that my ability to relate the topic to others has somehow been broken. How do I get back on track with writing my blog?
One of the things I’d really like to do is go back to school for a Masters of Fine Arts (MFA) in Creative Non-Fiction. The degree would polish my skills and open doors into professional (i.e. PAID) writing. And as I’ve learned over the years, a little education can go a long way to taking something good about yourself and making it amazing. Since taking on the new role of mother has most of my attention right now, it’s not a good time to start a degree program. However, I decided that there’s no reason I shouldn’t pursue an education in the field at my own pace during this time – preparing myself for the day I pay someone to give me feedback on all I’m reading and writing. So I’ve been slowly reading more and more books on writing. The subject fascinates me and I want to absorb all I’m learning. Right now my bookshelf is full of two important subjects: babies and writing.
A theme I’m finding in my writing books is that whether we are fiction or non-fiction writers, we must learn to write from our own experiences. Our experiences are the only things we can truly rely on (unless we’re science fiction/fantasy writers). I always assumed that literary fiction writers had tremendous imaginations and made up everything they wrote, but what their imaginations really do is look at the world around them, circumstances and people and things, and ask, “what if…?” Then they allow their imaginations to take hold from there. The details of the books are often fictionalized versions of their own lives and experiences. (I’m feeling every day like it’s more and more possible for me to actually write literary fiction, although I’ve always felt like it was not my gifting.)
Because we must write from our own experience, it’s no wonder that writers are often full of angst, depressed, frustrated, and confused. We must write to sort out the mess in our heads, get it down on paper (or screen) and make sense of it all. By examining our own thoughts and feelings, we are able to make sense of the world. As we make sense of our world, we relate it to others in a way we hope they will understand and appreciate. So does that mean that a writer without angst, depression, frustration, or confusion is not much of a writer at all?
That’s the question I’ve been asking myself recently. Has my world become so smooth, so joyful, so peaceful that I no longer have anything to write about that the world may relate to?
Um. The answer to that question is a resounding NO. While aspects of my life that I used to write about no longer fill me with fear and angst, there are new problems that come with every new stage in our lives. But since my current sorrows involve people I love dearly, it’s hard to know what is appropriate to share and what is not my place. How do I write about finding out several of my dearest loved ones have cancer, especially when they have chosen to manage their illness privately? How do I write about the miseries of pregnancy when I’ve wanted for so long to carry a child in my womb – and wanted to be full of grace and beauty in the process? How do I write about daily frustrations with sorting out married life, adjusting to a new family, and all that goes with it? Are they my stories to share or is it disrespectful to drag those I love most dearly into such a public forum?
Is it really writer’s block, or is what I’m writing too deeply personal to publish? Because I HAVE been writing. It’s that I’ve been unable to share.
Lastly, I’ve been questioning if I want this to turn into a “mommy blog” like so many I follow. I thoroughly enjoy reading about the joys of motherhood and money-saving tips on raising a family. I could post more of my favorite recipes and share the information I’ve found on handling extreme pregnancy sickness. But is that what I want to write about regularly? The answer is no. While my experiences inform my writing, and I’m currently experiencing major adjustments as a new wife and expectant mother, my hope is to share nuggets of truth and lead others closer to Christ and a healthy, biblical world view. That isn’t to say I think my world view is the healthiest, most biblically-centered world view. But as I grow in my understanding of that concept, my hope is to find a way to communicate it to others. I have to write from my experiences, so the backdrop of my postings will center around my daily life as a wife and mother, but I’m hoping for something more to come out as well.
The Lord has turned my mourning into dancing, blessed me with all that I wanted and more, and I am grateful. I want to find a way to share that with the world. In that sharing, my goal is to be respectful and honoring to those who share their lives with me and to earn their trust, so if they ever do show up in one of my blog postings, they will feel blessed.
So for today, I will not write about cancer, the shocking difficulty of this (healthy) pregnancy, or the latest negotiation I’ve had with my husband over what we do or do not need for a baby. My life is not perfect nor stress-free, and finding my voice in that reality is a struggle. Please bear with me as I stretch to find new ways to communicate effectively and respectfully.