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To Write or Not to Write.

The thought, can I write a book? never crossed my mind until the year 2008. The year I was taking classes through Liberty University. One day, as I was finishing up an assignment, my passion to become a counselor (associate of arts in Christian psychology) was unexpectedly carried away as if by a flood. After that, a blusterous wind followed, ushering in a new passion-writing. The thing is, I’ve never written anything lengthy except for essays. Long lists of To-Do’s included. Anything that had to do with creative writing and a hefty word count was nonexistent. Foreign. 

Yet I had this immense desire to write a book.

As if the impulse to switch directions wasn’t crazy enough, something crazier followed…I dropped out of school to venture off into the unfamiliar world of literature. Was it a leap of faith? Or a leap of stupidity? I think it was faith. But I’m sure others would argue. Anyhow, textbooks were replaced with novels. Essays were replaced with manuscripts. And my new assignments consisted of writing blog posts and articles. Instead of helping others (with mental and emotional issues) through a degree and inside an office, the art of writing was the chosen prescription to administer hope and encouragement to others. 

Nine years later, my passion resulted in a published book. Better said, it was my obsession that saw me through. 

God gave me the desires of my heart, so why did I feel guilty? Because my desire to write overshadowed my priorities. For nine months-the time it took to publish my book, including the various stages of revisions-my family and friends were pushed to the side. Not to mention the lack of self-care. Like sleeping.  I was too busy spending time in a made-up world. A world full of unique and lovable characters-most of them, anyway-whose lives I lived vicariously through.

Even though the real world is full of disappointments, hardships and darkness, it’s also filled with hope, joy, and God’s grace. Holding a physical book and admiring your bookshelf (with all its bookish items) is a wonderful feeling. But spending time with a loved one, or embracing them in a hug, is incomparable. Which is why nothing can ever compare to my family and the life we live. The good and bad, the ups and downs. The real-life adventures. 

Was writing worth it? Yes and no.

Yes, because a manuscript reached completion. But no because of the time lost with loved ones. And the exhaustion and isolation that came with it. The very thing I was called to do…backfired. Compulsion and fear overtook what impassioned me. So instead of confronting God with my writing struggles, I avoided them. Which only prolonged the next encounter. The cycle had to stop. It had to be broken. And the first thing I did, was pray. Nonstop. It didn’t come easy, but eventually my priorities, self-control and balance replaced my shortcomings.

Have I relapsed since then? Yes, but not in the same way. After my book was published in 2016, I laid down my writer’s pen, only to pick up my editor’s one. For a little over two years, I edited the wonderful stories of fellow writers, enjoying them more than creating my own. But family time, personal time and, time in general, was on the line again. Mental and physical fatigue had returned as well.

In December 2018, I shut down my editing services and took a much-needed break. A nine-month break, to be exact!

Then in August of 2019, I began writing again. Right here. On WordPress. If you’ve been following my blog, then I’m sure you’ve noticed what I’m passionate about: mental and emotional issues, fiction writing, and my smile journey. And I’m sure you’ve also noticed my bad blogging habit-inconsistency. I went from one extreme to the other. The reason why is because I made a promise to God, and myself, that I would not allow the obsession for writing to return. Up until now, I’ve done pretty well to honor my promise. But there’s something else that holds me back. Depression. It makes it all the more challenging to show up on a consistent basis. To remain present online. There’s another enemy, however, that zaps the joy out of the writing process. It goes by the name of Impatience. Ugh. Writing requires SO much thinking, planning, focus and commitment. But in order to create your best work, it cannot be avoided. 

What do you get when the joy of writing is harassed by fear? Excitement and then dread. What about depression? Love and then hate. Impatience? Sloppy work. But what about discouragement? Unfinished blog posts and manuscripts. Or worse…the deletion of them! 

But I’m not giving up! As I continue to work on balancing my time spent with loved ones while addressing other responsibilities, and pursuing other passions, I will do my best to enjoy the process of creating. Without making myself sick. That said, The Story of With by Allen Arnold comes to mind when thinking about my past struggle/obsession with writing. And how it affected my relationship with God as well. It’s an inspiring story infused with fiction and nonfiction, expressing the beauty to create with the Creator. But even more so, it’s a much-needed reminder to invite God into every area of your life. Writing included. 

Your turn. Do you struggle balancing your priorities and passions? Let me know in the comment section below and I’ll pray for you. And if you feel led, please do so for me. 


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