Why Write?

I've been out of town this weekend (my first trip to Canada, WooHoo), so I'm a little late on the Happy Thanksgiving wishes to all of my online friends. So happy belated Thanksgiving everyone.  I hope your day was wonderful!

I have a lot to be thankful for this year, not the least of which is getting to know so many of you.  Forgive me for getting a bit personal on a writing blog, but on this Thanksgiving I want to say what writing has meant to me personally over the past couple of years.

In January of 2007  I was a stay at home mom with one two-year-old little boy and the wife of a graduate student.  I was active in my church and community and had several good friends.  I had quit my career about a year before we adopted our son .   I LOVED being a stay at home mom.  I had no desire to go back to work and leave my beautiful child alone during the day.  I loved my life, and I was grateful for it.  Yet, I felt the desire to do something personal, to set a difficult goal and accomplish it, to prove that I still had a brain capable of tackling things other than impossible stains on my son's clothes or trying to figure out how to make dinner without ever cooking.  I was craving mental stimulation.

I didn't want my college education to feel like nothing more than a certificate printed on nice paper.  Unfortunately, my college brain... mush (it happens after sustained periods without adult conversation, I learned).  I wondered what to do.

Then one day as I was jotting down random thoughts in one of my notebooks about characters I was imagining I realized the answer was staring me in the face. I had always loved writing, but I guess I'd never considered that I could actually do anything with it.  But with more alone time on my hands (my husband working and going to school and my son still young and napping) I decided that rather than watch Oprah or the like in the afternoon, I would apply myself and write a novel.  What could it hurt?

At first I was very private, even a bit embarrassed about what I was doing.  After all, who was I to write a novel?  I was no expert in law or medicine.  I didn't have epic or tragic life circumstances.  I was just a simple stay at home mom with lots of random characters and places floating around in my head in a sort of mishmashed, chaotic way.  But then I was talking to my wonderful and supportive best friend, Kasie, and she mentioned that she was writing a book (I think she had already written a couple by that time), and I told her I was writing one too.  After that we began holding weekly writing groups with just the two of us.  We would discuss what we had read and what we thought about what we had read.  We discussed our own work and read each other's drafts.  We read agent blogs and decided to start our own.

Looking back that was the best decision we made along the way.  A new world of information and friendship opened up to us.  We also joined a local writing group that met twice a month.  We connected with writers of various genres and experience.  In short, we immersed ourselves in the writing world and culture. 

Since that time some wonderful things have happened. I've had the opportunity to get to know some of the most creative, most fun and most wonderful people around.  I've gotten to meet several of you in person (Jenn, Michelle, Natalie, Jenni, Linda, Tricia) and found that you are every bit as wonderful, intelligent and full of life as your blogs would suggest (I just have to put a plug in here for Renee too, because, thought I haven't met her, I feel like I have!).  Many of my blogging friends (including Kasie)  have finished multiple books, signed with agents, sold books and had personal successes, or overcome personal obstacles.   Every time something wonderful happens in your life, I sit and my computer and cheer for you.  I love seeing dreams come true on a regular basis. 

You have all taught me so much about writing, friendship, balancing life's demands, and believing in yourself.  You've taught me that I don't have to have extraordinary qualifications to be a writer, but I do have to work hard and persevere.

About a week ago I told my husband that I worried that writing had become too big a part of my life.  I worried that it took up time during the day that I should be doing other things (like cleaning for instance).  I said something like, "Maybe I should just walk away from it all."  He said to me, "Only you can decide what's right for you, but I just have one thing to say, The Candi who writes is much happier than the Candi who didn't write.  I don't think twenty years from now our children will remember how clean the house was, but I do think they'll remember that their mother was happy and that she pursued her goals. It seems to me that's a lot more important than a clean kitchen." (I know, isn't he the best!) 

So this year, I'm thankful for supportive friends, family (all of my wonderfully supportive siblings and parents), a loving husband, a totally impatient son (what else could be expected from a four-year-old), and the joy of writing in my life, and you!

25 comments:

  1. Your husband is right. Don't give up, ever. If something came to you, it is for a special reason. God is speaking to you and wants you to pursue your dreams.

    Besides, cleaning is over-rated ; )

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  2. Aw, Candi, I'm so glad you got writing, too! I wouldn't have met you otherwise, and that would have been a crying shame.

    I think what your husband said is wonderful—I got teary! I wonder that same thing more often than I admit: Should I really be doing this? Well, he said it perfectly. Tell him thanks for me:)

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  3. Thank you so much for sharing your writing journey with us, Candi. I think we all wonder what it's like for others - do other writers experience the same roller coaster range of emotions, frustrations?

    Your hubby sounds brilliant! ;-)
    www.shannonkodonnell.blogspot.com

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  4. Isn't it great to have such supportive friends and family? I just started blogging recently, and I've met so many people who "get" me.

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  5. V.S.
    My husband is totally right, but shhhh... don't tell him. ;)

    Natalie,
    I'm so happy I got to meet you. Now I just have to get to Utah and see you again!

    As far as the writing support from Neal, I got super teary when he said it. Okay, let's be honest I cried like a baby. Because it was sweet, but also because I know it's true. I'll pass along your thanks.

    Shannon,
    Some of the best support I've received has been by simply reading other writer's thoughts on writing. I never feel alone.

    Melane,
    I am constantly amazed at how much I share with other writers. I think that's why so many of my writing relationships have become so strong. They really do get me.

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  6. wow, cool response from the Hubby! Following what makes us happy can never be the wrong thing to do. It's taken me 50 years to figure that one out, you are ahead of the game! Yay you!

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  7. Brenda,
    Thanks for reading my blog. I think what I've had to realize is that moderation is a huge part of happiness. I love writing, but if I do it too much (especially to the detriment of the people I love the most) it will cease to make me happy. But the same holds true in other aspects of my life. If I clean the house all day long and take no time for personal enrichment I'm not as good a wife or mom. Of course I've heard that used to justify selfish behaviors, but I hope that I don't do that. Moderation and balance, it's a lifelong pursuit. :)

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  8. What an awesome post, Candice! I loved it. I love learning more about your journey. :)

    I just want to ditto the others in thanking your husband for his inspired words. It's something I think we definitely all need to hear. If I could, I would have you and your hubby and your adorable son over to dinner. :)

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  9. Renee,
    Neal facetiously says he's going to start a blog of his own since his advice is apparently so popular. :)

    If I lived by you we would definitely accept your invitation! Dinner is another one of those things that is not quite a nice as it was pre-writing days.

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  10. Awwww, I love your story. I'm glad you're my best friend. You've supported me so much. Also, could I get Neal's blog address, I think I need to start following him? :)

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  11. Your husband must have graduated in communication lol. That was perfect :P Anyway, great story. I'm so interested to hear how people like you and all my new blogger buddies ended up doing this.

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  12. Thanks for sharing your story. I got back into writing in a similar scenario to yours--SAH mommy burning with IDEAS. I'd had a good 12 years in the workforce first, though, so I was kind of secretive about the whole novel thing for a long time. I thought neither my working friends nor my SAH friends would quite get it. You're so wise, finding support online. I wish I'd tried to meet other aspiring authors online sooner, those first few years would have likely been more productive and less lonely.

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  13. Voidwalker,
    He graduated in political science (I'm not sure if that makes you a better communicator or not, lol), but then he went on to become a psychologist, so I guess he learned how to listen and be diplomatic along the way. And I'm with you, I love hearing other writer's stories. It keeps me motivated!

    Laurel,
    I'm so glad you have connected with writers now. I think I would have quit long ago if I didn't have such a great support group. Welcome to the online community!

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  14. Wandered over here from Natalie Whipple's blog and found myself raising my hand and chirping, "Me, too! Me, too!" as I read this post. It IS all about balance, but I'm certain that balance can include writing - and be better because of it.

    P.S. I love your illustrations:) Oh, and what a great thing to adopt. I'm adopted, as it turns out, and I'm convinced it's one of the best things that ever happened to me:)

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  15. Hi again, Candice! I've chosen you and your blog for an award - I'm sharing some blog love! Stop by Book Dreaming and see what you've won. :)

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  16. I've often asked myself the same question, wondering if I should quit or not. It's hard sometimes to keep writing, but I've met so many great writers in person and through blogging that I honestly couldn't imagine where I'd be if I didn't keep writing.

    Anyway, thanks for the post--I really can identify with a lot of what you said.

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  17. What a great post! Thanks for sharing so much of your journey. Keep going after your goals, and stay happy!

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  18. Your husband is a smart (and sweet) man. Your writing journey sounds so much like mine. Writing makes me happy too (and cleaning doesn't :)

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  19. Your husband is brilliant. I'm so glad that you are happier writing than not. It must be wonderful having such an amazing support group around you. The online writing community is fab, but it would sure be nice to have someone nearby. Some time I'm going to come out there and get together with your whole crowd. NC is just too far from UT.

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  20. Krista,
    Welcome! Adoption is wonderful and a miracle as far as I'm concerned. I thank God everyday for my son and his courageous birth mother.

    Shannon,
    Thank you! I will head over there.

    Dara,
    I think most writers ask themselves that question at some point. It helps to always have someone to answer it with a resounding, "Don't give up!"

    Tere,
    Thanks! I'm going to go check out your blog.

    Natalie,
    I knew we'd be friends. ;) Anyone who loves to write and hates to clean is a-okay in my book!

    Lois,
    But it's not nearly as far from Ohio where I am. :)

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  21. Candice,

    I chose your blog for an Honest Scrap award. Go check out my Monday post and then pass on the love! ;-)

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  22. Happy late-Thanksgiving! What a WONDERFUL husband you have. Your story warms my heart :)

    (And I know! How *amazing* is the online writing community? I can't fathom my life without it.)

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  23. So awesome. I did much the same thing: after my girls were born, I said, "How can I tell them to take chances and chase their dreams if I don't do exactly that?" And my hubby encouraged me every chance he got. I've lost track of the times he's said, "I told you so." :)

    I think we need a Supportive Hubby Fan Club. I'd totally join.

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  24. Stephanie, Thanks. Late Happy Thanksgivings are great! We should have them all year long if you ask me.

    Carrie,
    I would definitely join that club and it would definitely need it's won devoted blog. A whole slew of potential accompanying blog titles just came to mind, but I'm thinking we should go real snotty and call it, "Things you wish your husband would say." What do you think? ;)

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  25. Lovely post, Candice. I'm so glad to have met you in the writing circle. I wish you hadn't moved away.

    Your writing origins resonates with mine in many ways. And I can especially relate to the embarrassed part. I was so secretive about my writing that no one knew I was until two months into it. Now that every one knows I have pressure to perform. :-)

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