- Janyne McConnaughey, PhD
Writers! You Are Enough!
All who know me understand I love a challenge! This blog is my entry for the Writing Contest: You Are Enough, hosted by Positive Writer. The challenge was to write a blog that would get others to believe in themselves and their writing abilities. The Storyteller inside of me could hardly wait to get started!
Every dream is a child’s dream. Even when we dream as an adult; it is connected to a dream we had as a child. Maybe we can’t remember where it began, but I guarantee it—it is buried in our childhood. My dream was to be a writer. No, not just a writer, an author. It began long, long ago with the book, The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner. She was a teacher and began to write a series of books that would engage young readers in her classroom. It was one of the first books I remember. I was about seven years old, and wanted to write a book just like it one day.
What I didn’t understand until I turned sixty was that this little girl was a creative genius who wove stories she wanted to live to replace some truly sad stories of her life. Trauma froze her in time and I had to go searching for her to realize where my dream of writing actually began. When I found her, she was still holding The Boxcar Children. She never gave up on her dream.
Along the way, I lost my voice and had my college letters to my mother returned with my spelling errors circled. My creative bent always ran contrary to my English teachers, and my role as a teacher educator forced my witting into academic avenues. Yet, this small-child self buried inside of me, held tightly to her dream of writing a book like The Boxcar Children.
I believe my experience is similar to many who long to be writers—or want to believe in themselves as writers. Life gets in the way. Internalized messages make us doubt the gift we have been given. Probably like me, many have been told, “You should write a blog!” Then we do, and there are never enough hits on any blog to help us believe in ourselves. The belief in ourselves as writers must come from inside of us. We are truly the only person we can ever count on.
As an adult trying to believe in myself as a writer, I continually doubt myself. Too much water has passed under the proverbial bridge of the dream. I will never enjoy the gift of putting my fingers on my keyboard and watching my thoughts emerge if I constantly need to seek accolades for what I write. It isn’t in the writing for others which I find the greatest joy—it is in the choosing of words and ideas. No one will ever love my well-designed sentence as much as I do! And, as my fortune cookie once said, “Ideas are like children. There are none so wonderful as our own.”
We lose the joy of writing when we try to drive through the intersection of publishing before we enjoy the drive. When I send out a blog for public consumption, the appreciation will never be as great as my own during the writing. There lies a paradox. We both desire and fear the reading of our creation. It gives us life and paralyzes us at the same time.
It is the fear of those outside of ourselves that paralyzes us—it is the hurdle we all must climb over. After over 50 years of holding the book inside of me, I found the child who wanted to be a writer. I told her I was sorry she had been ignored for so long and we wrote a book together. There is nothing so contagious as the childish belief that the impossible can happen. It is the child inside of us who must be the writer. Only this child can steadfastly believe we can become an author. This is where our desire to write began; and it is where we must go to believe in ourselves once again.
The day I held my first published book, BRAVE: A Personal Story of Healing Childhood Trauma, in my hands, I knew it had been written with all the creative effort of the child who believed she would one day write a book like The Boxcar Children. It wasn’t a typical memoir written by an adult because the whimsy and creativity of my frozen child-self fills every page alongside the adult who teaches. Her dream had come true. My dream had come true. She is an author. I am an author.
Yes, we are enough when we bring all of us to the writing process!