From my rear-facing seat, I watched as the train hurtled through the countryside, and I saw fields, flowers and forests whizz past and fade into the distance before my eyes.
So much beauty…
For a moment, the train slowed by a field of purple flowers, which were dancing peacefully in the breeze under the morning sun. Nearby, a horse was grazing.
It was such a pleasant scene that, for a moment, I longed to stay and savour it. However, I knew this was not my place to settle. I had boarded the train- a yes to the journey.
No turning back.
Gathering speed, we raced on once more, into the great unknown. This was not a journey I had taken before.
I could only hope that, despite my apprehension, something better lay ahead, and that the journey would be worth it.
These were some thoughts I penned on Saturday morning as I travelled to a meeting with some other writers.
I was struck by how the physical journey mirrored my writing journey.
When I said yes to writing and boarded the “train” almost three years ago, I had no idea what I was getting myself into!
There was an increasing sense that this was a journey I had to embark on, but I have never had a master plan or been able to see the path in front of me. The journey has unfolded step by step as I have attempted to trust God and keep going. Sometimes it has been scary to move forward without being able to see the path, but there has been so much beauty along the way, and it has definitely been worth it!
As I travelled on Saturday, in my rear-facing seat, I looked back over the journey so far and was hugely encouraged.
Later, at the meeting, I spoke to another writer… well, she hesitated to call herself a writer as she heard about the accomplishments of others who were present and began to compare herself. She had never published a book or submitted an article. She had only been writing for a short time, dabbling in blogging. She had an idea in mind of what she wanted to write, but she was just getting started…
She was like I was not so long ago.
It was a privilege to be able to encourage her- to share a little of my journey, and some of the things that had helped me along the way.
It got me thinking about what I would share with someone who is just getting started. Obviously all of our journeys will be different, but there is still something to be gained from hearing each other’s stories, especially those who are slightly further along the path than we are.
So here are three of the key things I have discovered over the last few years, three reasons to say yes to the journey:
As you write, you find your voice.
Don’t wait until you think you can do it perfectly- just begin. It’s only as you write that you find your voice and refine your technique. Even if you’re not sure exactly what you want to say, just write! Check out this recent post for more on this.
Unexpectedly, I have also found that writing has helped me to find my voice in life as well as in writing. It has given me confidence and helped me to speak up in several situations where I would have remained silent before.
As you write, you find your focus.
Gradually you discover your niche. You begin to identify the topics that energise you and stir up passion. You learn what you want to say and who you want to say it to.
For me, that has only been possible by giving it a go. It took me two years of blogging before I came up with the tagline “speaking truth, sharing hope,” which sums up what I aim to do. It was only by writing about various topics, and eventually writing my series on Kintsugi last October, that I discovered that I loved to write about God working beauty in our brokenness.
It was only by experimenting with submitting my writing to different places that I found two websites where my writing can fit: Gracefully Truthful, which links with my passion for “speaking truth” and helping others go deeper in exploring the Bible, and Journey To Heal Ministries, which is about support and encouragement for women who have experienced sexual trauma, and links with the “sharing hope” aspect of my writing.
As you write, you find community.
When I started blogging, I had never imagined that such a beautiful online community existed. I have been truly blessed and encouraged by the connections I have made, and I know that I would have struggled to keep going with writing without the support and encouragement I have found here.
There are several people I would count as friends, although we have never met in real life!
(Click on some of the buttons at the bottom of this post if you are looking for some blogging communities to get involved in.)
Over the last year, I have also enjoyed getting involved in some “real life” writing communities and that has also been a huge blessing.
On Saturday, as I was able to encourage someone who was slightly further back in the journey than I am, I was also able to receive encouragement from someone who is significantly ahead of me. As she shared the early parts of her writing story, I related to so much of it, and there was valuable wisdom to glean from all she had to share as she spoke of the successes and challenges she has encountered along the way.
Writing is an adventure.
So often we can’t see the path ahead, but I’m encouraged, as I look back, that if God calls us he will lead us, and I’m grateful as I walk with others that it’s not a journey we have to make alone.
What about you? What has encouraged you in your writing journey?