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October 30, 2022

Finding the Courage to Write

Currently, I have 1 and 3 half-clients working with me as their Writing Coach.

I say “half-clients” because these 3 have started the conversation of wanting to write their books, but have yet to commit themselves to this emotionally arduous journey. However, each has sent me sneak peeks of their writing.

Their writing is good. Their stories are passionate. Their words are honest and moving, hilarious and lovely, with such clear heartstrings of connection between who they are and what they are going through, that I am cheerleading them on all the way to pursue their writing further.

They can chalk off a few reasons why they haven’t put pen to paper with the intention of writing and telling their stories just yet. Money and time are always a biggie in the list of reasons why, but so is confidence. So is clarity of expression.

So . . . they wait.

But waiters wait. Writers should write.

And herein lies the bigger boulder for each of my half-clients. They don’t see themselves as writers.

Some of them tell me, while their faces light up recalling their ideas, that they can’t imagine writing these ideas into a book or organizing their story into words on a page.

To that I ask them, “But can you imagine NOT?”

What if our tumultuous experiences, our unearthed feelings, all we’ve joyfully learned and painfully loved, what if all our words to tell these stories stay shushed and die with us?

For many, this might be just fine.

But for those who harbor the desire to tell their stories, writing is a flame that won’t flicker out while they are still breathing.

It’s true there are mental hurdles.

The anguish of starting the process, and the fear of committing to their story. The earnest struggle with writing it all down. What stories are included with “all”? Where is their writing taking them? Will it be a book? A blog series? An Oprah’s Book Club addition? Does Oprah still have a Book Club?

But it’s also true, there are victorious moments along the writing journey. Our minds become illuminated with the shiny sequence of words we can easily stitch into a story.

That triumphant moment when our perspective and language align so perfectly like a well-shot, bull’s-eye arrow of truth telling a story that others stand and cheer for.

After the first hurdle has been leaped over, and the “to write or not to write” decision has been decided, the next series of hurdles come into view, inciting panic:

Not knowing where to start.

We start by just writing down the words that come, in all their messy, clumsy, powerful, and misspelled honesty.

Confused with how to structure.

We return to the structure once our words are spread out on the floor

around us, and we string them together from there.

Doubting the power of our stories.

Doubt can be confronted or diluted – whichever approach moves us past it.

Wondering where the story is going and how it will end.

As we write, the story tells us where to go, and tells us when it’s done.

Getting lost in the transitions.

It’s okay to get lost. That is part of the journey and finding our way in our writing.

These are well-founded fears. And mine too, if I am truthful. But that’s the beauty of journeying down this road – the road of a writer.

We can pace the place where the path begins for years, until finally, the inside voice that wants to be heard nudges us mercilessly towards that open road anyway, despite the lack of time, money, confidence, a plan, or a solid belief we are writers.

We don’t have to believe we are writers. We just have to believe in our story.

Like any journey, it’s one page at a time. Maybe one paragraph at a time. Maybe one messy, mistyped, run-on sentence of venting frustration or expression of agonizing love  . . . sent in a text.

To my 3 half-clients: keep writing.

It’s okay if you are never a client of mine. I will still read your story. But it’s not okay to quiet your passion to tell your story if you’re continually drawn to write it down.

It’s okay to doubt yourself. I still doubt myself with embarrassing regularity, but don’t be okay with the doubt keeping your stories hidden in the dark. Trust that your words will light the way.

It’s okay to feel lost or derailed in the telling. A story is not written from beginning to end the same way it is read. A story comes out in pieces. It’s the storyteller’s job to kaleidoscope the pieces into clarity.

It’s okay to have fears, but eventually, you’ll realize it’s not okay to allow your fear to rule the day, and you’ll begin to make brave choices.

So, to us storytellers, and other seedling writers out there, let our fears come. Let the doubts dance in our heads.

That’s what coaches, mentors, and friends are here for. To read our open-hearted joys, the vulnerability in our struggles, the hilarity of our life experiences – all of it.

To read our shaky-handed attempts, and encourage us forward to write the endlessly beating stories deep within our hearts. The stories burning to be told.

~ Christy

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Christy Nichols  |  Contribution: 9,220