Day 4’s assignment in the 21 Day Intentional Blogging Challenge is to write the story of why I decided to take part in this challenge using the following questions:
- Why did you start this journey?
- What do you hope to accomplish?
- Was there an inciting incident in your life that made you feel like you had to write? Tell us that story.
My first post on this blog really gives the reason why I started this 21 day journey. I recognized that a generational pattern of passivity was at the root of my failures as a mother, and as a fully functioning human being. Since having this revelation I have taken up the challenge of overcoming passivity and taking action, and being more intentional about pursuing my faith, my goals and my dreams. Jeff Goin’s challenge came along at just the right time for me.
My writing journey started a long time ago. I have wanted to be a writer since I was a little girl. I have always loved books. I read voraciously as a child and had such a vivid imagination that I entered into the books I read in a very personal way. Rosemary Sutcliffe was my favourite author, she wrote historical fiction about the issues that young people in mediaeval times faced. I also read every Walter Farley book I could get my hands on, I loved horses! I had a collection of comic books too, but especially loved the Classic Comics. I pored over the issues about Joan of Arc and Saint Bernadette of Lourdes – not because I was particularly religious, but because these women heard the audible voice of God. I wanted to be like them, especially Joan. I longed to be given a mission directly from God Himself that would change the course of history – and to be courageous and faithful enough to obey. I was a tomboy who hated wearing skirts and so dressing in armour and, of course, riding a horse, both appealed to me very much.
I can’t remember when I first started writing, but I wrote constantly as a teenager. It was a turbulent time for me, and writing allowed me to vent and express the pain, the fear and the anger I had no outlet for while I experiencing extreme physical and psychological abuse on a daily basis. I wrote a lot of poetry then; I tried writing short stories as well. In a high school English class we were given an assignment to write a short play. We had to find a partner and, probably because no one picked either of us, I was paired with a girl who also came from a dysfunctional home, in fact she was a foster child. The protagonist of our play was a girl whose life was like ours. She was an orphan who went from foster home to foster home, and experienced abuse. There’s a saying, “Write what you know,” we were writing about what we knew. We were very excited about our play and worked on it diligently every day in class. Our teacher, who was kind and wonderful, came to read it over and see how we were doing. She told us it was too melodramatic, that people would not believe it. She advised us to fix it or choose a different topic and start over again.
I still remember the sight of her walking away from us.My partner and I both felt stunned and disheartened. The story we were writing didn’t even come close to the melodrama and chaos that was going on in both of our lives on a daily basis. We were crushed by our teacher’s glib approach to our beloved creation, and I lost all desire to continue on with the assignment. I don’t remember how it all turned out, except that we didn’t get a very good mark on our altered project.
So I kept writing for myself alone, journaling every day. I continued to read voraciously, so many wonderful authors in the 70’s. When I was a young mom I got myself a typewriter and began writing short stories. I submitted some of them to various publications but I never sold anything. I started a humorous novel as well, about a hapless but lovable young woman named Dorothy Goodbody. Dorothy is still with me – somewhere. I hope to finish her story one day.
Over the years I have accumulated boxes and boxes of journals containing my daily writings, but since becoming a follower of Christ in 2000, the focus of my writing has changed drastically. It went from being a form of personal expression to a way of worshipping and praying and acknowledging the amazing works of God in my life. I especially record the things I learn as I grow in the Lord, and the revelations I receive from His Holy Spirit. I didn’t attempt to write anything for publication until I began my first blog in 2007 or 2008.
Then on the morning of December 31, 2011 – New Year’s Eve – I had a dream. In the dream I was given an assignment to research the Holy Spirit; to find out all I could about Him. I saw myself holding a book over my head, it had a pink and green cover – not very pretty since I really hate pink. (The tomboy lives on.) I thought the book was one I was supposed to find, that it was one that would help me in my research assignment. After I woke up, I sat down with a cup of coffee and wrote about the dream in my journal. I asked God, “Where can I find this book?” and He said to me, “The book is yours.” I was stunned as I realized that it is a book I am supposed to write.
For the past two, almost three, years, I have made four or five attempts to write that book. I have four or five unfinished manuscripts on my computer hard drive. I’ve always been very good at starting things, but finishing is another matter. Whenever I try to write a book, I tend to get overwhelmed and bogged down as the body of work grows. I find it hard to find my “way in” each day. It’s like starting all over again; I don’t know where to start. I realized recently that I have to set a writing goal each day. To approach the task of writing a book by just taking one chunk or chapter and focussing on that instead of looking at the big picture and the end goal of producing a finished and comprehensible manuscript that is fit for publishing. But sometimes I lose heart, just let when I was in high school, when I read what I’ve already written and it doesn’t live up to my expectations.
So this is my purpose in joining this challenge. I want to overcome the bad habits, the fears and the doubts that have held me back all of my life. I’m grateful to Jeff for his leadership, and am sp excited to be part of a community of people with the same goals and challenges. It’s already been incredibly encouraging to read some of the feedback from others and to read their blog posts and encourage them.
I pray for each and every one of us, may God bless us all with the courage and perseverance to complete this challenge and take hold of our destiny!
6 thoughts on “Why did I start this journey and what do I hope to accomplish?”
Catherine, I’m so glad I clicked on your blog post tonight. I was touched by what you shared and am better for reading it. Never allow one person’s opinion to deter you. Always keep pressing forward with your writing and other goals in life. One opinion is just one opinion, even when it’s a teacher or some other authority. We were listening to the radio tonight on our way to dinner and heard in an interview that when Queen first performed their song Bohemian Rhapsody for a number of other artists, including Elton John, they were told it would never sell. It was strange; didn’t have a repeated chorus that people could sing along with, and other criticisms. Elton John dismissed it and told them they should just burn it. It is today the number one single of all time according to somebody (can’t remember the source). People go to concerts and sing every word of the whole song from the audience. I also know the words to the whole song and can sing along with it. Just goes to show what we would have missed if Queen — as a band — had listened to Sir Elton John. Keep writing!
Press in, press through, press on, these were words spoken by my best friend and I see they’re timely for you as well. I look forward to seeing the good work God is working in you.
I love your story Catherine. I had (not as bad as you by the sounds of it) a similar childhood and I thought to myself just lately – why did my teacher not ask questions? They’re trained to notice things but it sounds like yours (and mine) didn’t want to rock any boats. I’m glad you’re finding your way and growing stronger all the time – we’re becoming quite the little community on this Intentional Blogging challenge so there’s lots of support – worldwide. Isn’t that the best thing ever?
Another really inspiring post, Catherine. I have had one book published but it didn’t sell well and is now long out of print. But I write for my blog all the time, and have a couple of pieces of fiction up there. But you write very well, your style I think is a lot more fluid than mine. I’m glad I found your blog!
Hi Tim! Just wanted to thank you for the encouraging words you wrote in response to my first attempt at blogging. I recently began again and discovered your comment tonight. I have read your blog in the past and enjoyed reading your fiction. Will look it up again and follow you! God bless you brother!
I’m so sorry for your experience with that teacher. But I’m glad that you are overcoming that negative experience and pursuing the writing. Can’t wait to read more.
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