Just Write

Before going to a four-year college, I went to community college. There, I took so many of the English courses one counselor, during a scheduling session, told me I had to stop and take some other classes. I decided I would go on to be an English major.

I loved the writing classes at Riverland. They were edifying — an easy A. I learned how to b.s. a really strong first draft and rarely put much effort into revising. I go back and read those short stories and essays sometimes, and they’re not terrible, at least, not as a starting point. They could be much better.

My professors at University of Northwestern were able to sniff out bullshit easily. After struggling through two semesters, I resolved that I would probably never finish a piece during college. I had to learn to be okay with a C on a first draft, and content to get no better than a B+ on a final draft. I got an A- on a short story once and almost went back to demand an explanation — I couldn’t possibly deserve the good grade.

A pencil chewed until broken in half.

Source: Flickr – Benjamin Watson

By graduation, I felt burnt out. I made promises to myself to write every day that summer so I wouldn’t lose what I had learned the past two years. Then summer was over, I packed up and moved from beloved Minnesota to Iowa with my husband, and I hadn’t touched a page.

I convinced myself that now I would make time for writing. I chastised and bullied myself. You have to foster the habit now so you don’t lose it completely when you have a baby, I told myself. I prayed for motivation and opportunity, for content, for words. And then I gave myself permission to take a break on purpose. It was like a fast — giving something up to devote myself to prayer.

I started to set goals for myself. First, just write. Then, decide whether to make a blog. Once I felt confident in that decision, I started to brainstorm ideas for topics — I wrote pages of story and thought to find something that linked them, something resembling theme — then brainstormed names for the blog. And I set my goal to have it ready in February.

So here I am, your shaky fawn, learning to walk again.

This blog is the closest I ever plan to get to writing memoir. I love telling my story, but I don’t think it wants a book. When I think about what belongs here, the content I want to put out into the world, I think about what kind of world I want my daughter to live in.

This will be a Christian blog to the extent that I am a Christian. I will write with wisdom and in truth, admonishing my readers to live with conviction and compassion — honestly, vulnerably, authentically.

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