Wednesday, October 2, 2013

IWSG: Shine

First Wed of Every MonthThis is my very first Insecure Writer's Support Group post! *Excited squeal!* I have followed Alex J. Cavanaugh's blog for a while. . .I read his blog even before I started this baby. It's so awesome to have joined the group! (Check out the website here.)

Ahem. And now for my post. . ..

It's Cross Country and Soccer season.

...which means getting up Saturdays before seven and going to some park for five-plus hours to watch kids run their butts off and then throw up and cry. Pleasent. And it's impossible to know how to dress because for the first two to three hours it's freezing cold and all I can think about is my bed. Then it warms up to like seventy or eighty for the rest of the idea and all I can think is "Why did I wear these jeans?" 

And then there's Soccer Sunday! Which means I have to walk from field to field for three or four hours watching little kids push and shove and kick the ball. It also means I have to miss my Green Bay Packer games. Ugh.

No, but honestly, I love watching my siblings play sports. They have been blest with some incredible athletic-ness that I am in awe of because I greatly lack it. Did I say greatly? Greatly. 


The best is meeting people at these sporting events. 

"Oh, what sport do you play, honey?" The person (usually a woman) will ask, her grin spread from ear to ear.

"I'm kinda the un-official cheerleader. But I'm not like, a real cheerleader." I'll reply, with a small smile. "My siblings all play sports, so. . .but um, I don't play a sport."

"Oh." she'll say, her smile falling just slightly. "Well, do you play an instrument?"

"No, but my siblings do!" I'll say.

"Hmmm. Are you in any clubs at school, sweetheart?"

"Uh. No, not yet, we just moved–"

At this point my mom usually intervenes.

"She's our writer," she'll say, like that explains everything.

She'll nod like she understands. And then I'll make some excuse and leave or change the subject.

Ok, let's be real here. Writing is WORK. It's having ideas swimming through your brain that prevent you from ever getting a decent night's sleep. It's feeling sick to your stomach when you feel like whatever you've just written is terrible and you don't know how to fix it. Writing is finger cramps and sore arms. Writing is staring at a blank piece of paper for hours and knowing what to write but not how to write it. It's an answering machine with thirty un-heard messages and an inbox full of un-read messages. Writing is relief running through your veins, a symphony playing out before your eyes.

Writing sometimes involves hiding under the bed in fear of your manuscript. It also can involve us trying to shove our writing self under the bed.

I have been having a major problem. I act like a closet writer sometimes. Fine, usually. I usually act like a  closet writer.

So I woke up the other day and sunlight was streaming in my window and birds were singing. A voice from the sky said to me: Don't be a closet writer! Let your writer-ness shine. Don't feel embarressed telling people that you're a writer. Why?! Why do you need to feel embarressed?! You have been given a wonderful gift!

And after the voice was finished, I jumped out of my window and into the arms of a guy (who greatly resembled Chris Hemsworth) on a white horse. Then we rode off into the sunset and got married and had fourteen children and lived happily ever after. The end.

. . .if only it was so easy. I have come to the realization of what is means to fully embrace my writer-ness over a long time through sweat and tears. And now that I know I need to do it, the challenge is to actually do it. . .

I think part of the reason that people feel awkward or embarressed is that they feel like the other person doesn't understand or will judge them. First of all, how can it be so bad to be judged as a writer!? What could they say? "Oh yeah, Anne Marie's a writer. She writes. She thinks that she'll be published." Those people are just losers. Prove them wrong! Write, write, write and GET published! And then dedicate your book to them.

Secondly, about people not understanding. You know what I say to that?


Who cares if they understand what it means to be a writer? Who cares if they know anything of the joys and struggles? 

Be true to yourself. Be true to the writer that you are.

...but with realizing our writer-ness, we also need to realize that what we write doesn't make or break us. What we can do doesn't define us.

This has been another recent challenge of mine recently.

I'm a control freak, I admit it. I have to know what is going to happen and how. I sometimes drive my mom crazy with my need to know what's going on=)

I was having a sort-of mini crisis recently. I was feeling like I can't write, so why try? I felt like everything I was putting down on paper was irrelevent and poorly stated. Of course, then I started comparing myself to other writers (the WORST thing a writer can do) and how successful they are.

Let me just say, I couldn't have read TINAWM at a better time!

But more importantly, I think I have been basing a lot of my worth in what I write. I have been basing my worth in how much people like what I write. I've been basing my worth in the success of her writing.

And then it hit me–I am SO much more than just a writer. There is so much more to me than being able to put words on paper.

I am a person, beautifully and wonderfully made. I was DELIBRATELY formed in my mother's womb. I have a purpose. I am kind, smart, and important (thank you, Aibileen). My dreams and mistakes don't make me. Neither past nor future defines me. 

I am a human being, a daughter of God. Who happens to be able to write.

SO, today, remember this:
1. Don't cover up your writer-ness! Don't be a closet writer. Don't be a writer only when you're writer. Be a writer when it's comfortable and when it isn't.

2. There is so much more to you than what you're abilities are and are not. You are an incredible human being. With the gift of writing.

Shine as a human being. Shine as a writer.

What about you guys? Do you have any of these struggles?


  1. Writing is definitely a job, a job that I struggle at if I don't have deadlines. When I have to do it, I do it, but when I don't I have to force myself to do it, even though once I get going I enjoy it. I do things other than writing, which somewhat lessens my writing momentum. However, I still consider myself a writer and I don't keep it a secret.

    And the Packers? :p I'm a Steelers fan, even if they are 0-4 so far this season.

  2. We all go through this, Annie--or at least every writer I've ever met does. Where I'm at right now, so many of my writer friends are published that it can get so discouraging every time I get a rejection... And when I tell someone I'm a writer, their first question is, "Oh, what do you have published?" because they just can't understand all the work and the revising and the waiting. It all builds up so that on bad days I just want to give up...but then I remember that I write because I feel that God made me a writer (among other things), not because of the book contracts. It's all part of being who we are made to be, of honoring God by using the talents He gave us.
    There's a Catherine of Siena quote I love: "Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire."

    1. So funny you bring up that quote, Faith, because our Catherine says that all the time!! Thank you for your comments–so true.

  3. Hi Anne, welcome to IWSG. I agree with you that we must let our writerness shine. Its no use having the talent and potential but not putting them to use.

    Rachna Chhabria
    Co-host IWSG
    Rachna's Scriptorium

  4. Hiya Schweetie - Oh my gosh ... my cheeks hurt from smiling and laughing (with joy) at this post! I love the vivid (and true) description of your recent weekends at the beginning, the heartfelt middle and the challenge to writers at the end. It's like a perfect sandwich cookie post! You know how much I love cookies ... and sandwich cookies ... forgetaboutit. ;) Love you so much and I am so blessed by your God-given gifts. :) + Kempy

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    1. Hi there, Anne Marie! Love the post. I have been a writer my entire life, in drips and drabs. About six years ago, I started a novel which has been dissected, corrected, critiqued and tweaked. It's only been the last four months of really working on it that's finally got my characters on their journey. I hope to have the 1st draft done by mid-January. And I'm old.

      So ... I'm visiting your blog (on the suggestion of Faith E. Hough) to ask if you would like to participate in a KidLit blog tour. The way it works: I post some questions on my blog on Oct. 21 (Monday) and put links to three bloggers at the bottom of my post. You would then post the q&a on your blog Oct. 28 and link to three others. To see an example of how this works, visit here: I hope you can do it.

      And once again, wonderful post on a terrific blog! Your enthusiasm is inspirational.

  6. Such beautiful words. I just love to read what you write. I hope you and the family are well. We miss you in good old Erie PA!