To write, perchance to dream

You would actually be amazed at how much I think about writing.  Much, MUCH more than I actually write.  What can I say?  I'm a single working mom, volunteer, chauffeur, maid, nurse, laundry bitch, personal assistant, and oh so much more.  Hence why I'm writing at 3:30am.  It's truly the only time I could squeeze in to do it.

For the last 3 years probably the biggest area of my life that I've been struggling with is, "What am I supposed to do with my life?"  Maybe the real question I have been asking myself is, "What is my calling?"  I know without question that my life is dedicated to being a mom.  That will always be my first priority and my most true "calling" if you will.  I take being a mom very seriously.  It's not just something you do it's something you are.  But I'll save that for my Mother's Day post.

Ever heard the phrase, "Never try, never fail?"  I'm starting to admit that's why I don't write.  Ugh.

A few years ago, I wrote a children's book.  You can see it here if you'd like. It's a story about a boy with autism and I was extremely passionate about it and really felt and still feel a book of this nature needs to be published.  I shopped it around to some publishers (many, in fact) and..........no one wanted it.

It crushed me.

It still crushes me.

I suck at rejection.

And I do mean, suck.

Guess what I suck even more at?

Failure.

Guess what I suck the most at?  Thinking things are failures and rejections when they really aren't.


I'm working on it.

So here's the thing.  When it comes to writing a blog I tend to think, "Why does anyone actually care what I, boring old April Schmidt, has to say?  I'm not an "author," and I don't even consider myself a "writer" per se and I certainly don't find myself that interesting so why would anyone else?"  We won't even START with the "no one would ever read/buy MY book, because I'm "only" April Schmidt" business.  

Here comes the twist.  When I wrote about my baptism people came out of the woodwork telling me in person, in social media, in emails and phone calls that my story touched them.

Hmmmmmmmmm?

Maybe I need to learn how to quiet the voices in my head?  Some of them anyway.

So for 3 years I've been figuring out what to do with myself.  What to do with my life.  Working at a grocery store (as I currently do) is absolutely NOT my calling.  The first time I ever went to church and received prayer, Pastor Steve told me he saw a story in me.  This rocked me to my core because I had never met this man in my life and he knew absolutely nothing OF me and my desire to write.  I continued to get prayed over and Steve kept mentioning my story.  And then one day he actually said, "I'm waiting for you to write your fairy tale."   Thud.  Almost 2 years later Steve was praying over the entire congregation, of which I was sitting in at the time and he was talking about the things he saw... the "ahem" doors opening up for people, and he said, "There's an author in this room."  Was he talking about me? 

Last week I sat down with Pastor Mark and his beautiful wife LeeAnn (who deserves a title of her own, I might add, for now we shall go with "Queen") and I've never really even had a true one on one conversation with Mark and guess what he says?  Yup. "You're going to touch people with your words.  You're going to change people's lives with your words."  He went on to say that people will listen to me because I don't write in "Christian-ese," because I'm just a real person, because I question yanno, EVERYTHING, because I'm honest (to a fault at times), because I put my junk out there, and because I just say it like it is.

It has taken me 2 weeks to merely process that conversation.

Because I think the biggest fault I have?

Is believing in myself.
Is being willing to fail.
Is being willing to endure rejection.

Maybe it's actually math, because that was three things.

I have this amazing partner in life.  And for my birthday this year, he bought me a box load, quite literally, a box load of books about writing, and how to get published, and even thesauruses and sentence starters, and how to develop yourself in social media and even journals to write my ideas.  It was the sweetest, most thoughtful gift I have ever received.  Because that box didn't just contain books, it contained belief.  In me. In that box was support.  Support I've never had before.  In that box was hope.  For me.

That was only part one of my gift.  Guess what else he got me?  A laptop.  To write with.  Anywhere I wanted to, or needed to.  He gave me the gift of being able to stop, drop, and write.

And it pissed me off. 

And I didn't open it for nearly two months. 


And I told him to return it.  


Because inside THAT box, was fear.   Inside that box was potential rejection.  Inside that box was potential failure.


Inside that box was expectation. 

Not from R, but from me.  I expect myself to fail, I expect myself to be rejected.  That's just real.  That's just a glimpse into the inner workings of my mind.

And no, I have yet to write on that laptop.  I'm writing now on "old faithful," my desktop.

That.  Will.  Change.  

The point in all of this, is that for 3 years the answer to my question has been all around me.  I haven't been willing to listen, I haven't been willing to surrender to the notion that I can, will, and should be doing this.  I haven't been willing to take the leap and stop working at a grocery store and dedicate the time to work on me, work on writing, and to yanno, actually, DO IT....... write. 


And I haven't been willing to close the door on my own fear and open the door to hope.

Sometimes I feel like I should apologize to y'all for how much I  mention Elizabeth Gilbert.  But I won't because I unabashedly adore her.   There's a part in Eat, Pray, Love in which Richard from Texas tells dear Lizzie that she will have the potential to love the entire world.

“Big deal. So you fell in love with someone. Don’t you see what happened? This guy touched a place in your heart deeper than you thought you were capable of reaching, I mean you got zapped, kiddo. But that love you felt, that’s just the beginning. You just got a taste of love. That’s just limited little rinky-dink mortal love. Wait till you see how much more deeply you can love than that. Heck, Groceries—you have the capacity to someday love the whole world. It’s your destiny. Don’t laugh.” 


The first time I read that, I did in fact, laugh.  What a hippie!   The only person who has the potential to love the whole world is God, right?  But guess what?  Liz wrote her book, her story, her life, her way.  She spoke of her journey through divorce, and life, and finding herself, and finding God and guess what?  You may have noticed that it became a kind of popular book, then movie, and one might use the word, phenomenon.  

Because she wrote her story. 

And my dear friends, if you don't know it, let me tell you.  Elizabeth Gilbert damn near does love the entire world in the literal sense...  because she has touched quite a few of us.  She has a worldwide following and is adored and loved by millions of people. Her writing has changed lives.  Her words have changed lives.  She's no self help guru, she's no expert, she's just a woman who surrendered to her calling. And through that, she has loved the world.  Just like Richard told her she would.  

I am NOT repeat, NOT trying to be the next Elizabeth Gilbert. I don't have aspirations to have Julia Roberts play me in a movie (Angelina Jolie please!).    But I am trying to love the entire world, one person at a time.  

The thing is, you don't actually write to become famous or rich, or even to make a living.  You write for you, because it feeds your soul and you just........ have to.   And as I've said before if just ONE person likes it, loves it, smiles at it, takes something away from it.  Then you're a success.    And that one person.

Might just be me.
  


Lord knows for as much as I have mentioned Elizabeth Gilbert, I owe you all the story of how THIS happened.  And you shall get it.  Soon.  

Because I'm surrendering, and I'm listening, and I'm opening this door.


And the laptop.  

Comments

  1. Truly inspirational April. I have a feeling you are going to exceed your wildest dreams.

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  2. So much of this resonates with me too. I have read Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott three times, and she speaks to many of these things, the fear, the voices that say you are not good enough, the warped idea that you have to be published and accepted by others in order to call yourself a "writer"...You ARE a writer April, and I'm so glad you are making time to share yourself on here again :)

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  3. I love how you put your heart into your words. You do have the power to reach people through your writing. You have not been rejected - you just haven't walked through the right door. But you will find it and it will open. Start with the laptop and keep on keeping on! You write so beautifully and Liz would agree.

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