'm sitting at my usual table in this small-town Starbucks, a two-seater exactly halfway to the the back right, staring at this blank computer screen for going on two hours. My old friend, Frustration, has come into town and I'm scheming about ways to induce his departure. He's here because I haven't been able to write anything for days now, and after a steady multi-week stream of constant word vomit, a road block appears catastrophic.
To anyone who's reading, I guess it's time I let you in on my sharpest change of direction to date: I want to become a writer, not just recreationally, but I want to write for a living.
It's been almost three months since I first entertained the thought of chasing such a seemingly pretentious dream, and about two since I finally said the words "I want to be a writer" out loud. It sounds unattainable right? I know. The best dreams always do.
Upon admitting I no longer want to pursue youth ministry, but instead a career in writing, reality has started to close in, in a good way. Friends, acquaintances, and strangers have either looked me in the eyes or shot me a text saying they believe in me. After switching my minor from education to nonprofit leadership, new and exciting opportunities arose, and the distance to what first appeared as a long shot began to shorten.
With each passing day, each conversation had, each article or book read, I obtain a little more knowledge and understanding of why I'm here and how this is going to be possible. I've learned dreams have to be well-thought out, and that the Father doesn't want us to settle for what we're good at, but He desires for us to run after what we're passionate about, despite our current abilities. I've also been shown that our abilities cannot be cultivated overnight, and most recently, circa about 30 minutes ago, I now know writing doesn't just happen-- it goes hand in hand with living fully wherever you are.
As I sat here at my table, trying to express the right words, I got bored of failing at the task. So I started looking at some old pictures to reminisce on time passed, hoping for some inspiration. Gosh, that sounds so cliché (yet so accurate). I scrolled down, stopping every now and then at the photos where the scenes sprang to life. I remembered songs played, jokes made, and words spoken as the camera snapped.
All the pictures my eyes lingered on had one underlying trait in common, a trait I'd failed to notice before. Those deeply important experiences were documented in some form or another besides a photograph- they've filled lines in old journals, they're the sole topic of several poems, and a few are even the sparks that have fueled stories shared after swallowing my fears.
Words don't just happen, not even if you stare at the screen or the paper until your eyes are bloodshot. Sometimes they'll come when you read others' work or when an old thought resurfaces, but I believe the best words come from your own perspective on what you see or do now. Getting up from your desk, closing the laptop, and pushing back your chair are the first steps to creating. Going, doing, seeing, experiencing: these are the components of the soil where goodness is to be grown, or in my case, written.
I've never noticed the vitality of my love for driving to new, out-of-the-way places, nor my need to really take in and digest what I see as much as I notice it today. The two are woven together in an intricate tapestry; one without the other is... well... cheapened. As a writer, I'd sooner not write at all than capture a moment blandly. The writing should be rich and it should be raw and it should be real. We all have stories to tell in our own manner and time, but I'd be willing to place a bet that we're all yearning for the same kind of rich, raw, and real.
I am unsure of specifics: where I want to live, what I want to write, who I want to write for, or how exactly I want to go about any of this. What I do know is that I want to be patient, to continue asking for help, to be open to my vision changing, to keep taking chances and frivolous road trips, to keep paying attention, and to keep telling stories-- rich, raw, and real stories.