Additional "I Dwell in Possibility" Articles


Writing is Fun?
Published: 9/27/2011 11:59:21 AM


Yesterday I had a truly delightful conversation with a young writer who is just going into ninth grade. The conversation began when her father asked what kind of work I'll be doing after an upcoming move. When I responded that I hope to continue with my freelance writing and editing, the girl's eyes sparkled and she said, "Writing is fun!" She hovered in the background a moment, saying again, "I like writing," and when her dad's attention was claimed by someone else, she sat down next to me.

"So you like to write?" I asked.

"Yeah, it's fun!"

As I asked her more questions, I found out that she's been writing short stories and "random stuff" for a while, but she's currently working on her first novel. She's written eleven chapters so far, but she's going back and doing some rewriting because she's realized something about her main character that changes the way the story is going. It's a fantasy story, and she's created a world for it, along with a system of magic. And, I learned from her mother, she's writing the whole thing on her iPod Touch.

I felt an immediate kinship with this girl, and a sense of awe. I'm writing a book right now, too, and it's also a fantasy that I've had to create a world for. I've written about eleven chapters, too, but because I'm such a perfectionist, I've whittled those down to five chapters that I keep re-writing until I get them just right. But this isn't my first novel, and I'm writing on a seventeen-inch laptop, not an iPod Touch.

But I did write my first book in seventh and eighth grade, and I attempted to write my first fantasy in ninth grade. And I also thought writing was fun.

As I reflected on the conversation later in the day, I realized that it's been a while since I had fun writing. There are days that I've enjoyed it, but more often than not I've approached it as though it were work, as though it were something that I had to get done and then I could move on to something more enjoyable and relaxing. The more I thought about it, the more I wondered why I keep writing if it isn't fun anymore, and then I finally asked myself...should I stop? Which led to the question, could I stop? The answer came quickly and emphatically: No, I can't stop. Because even if the act of writing isn't always fun, the dream of being a writer is too much a part of me.

Several years ago I had a similar experience, but that time it involved my faith instead of my writing. It came at the end of a very exhausting year that began with a summer working as a counselor at a Lutheran camp and ended with me starting a job I wasn't very excited about right after graduating college. I was worn out and emotionally drained. I had met one of my major life goals--graduating college--but my life didn't look anything like what I thought it would look. I was spiritually drained, and felt dry as a desert, and wondered where God was because I needed His direction and didn't feel like I was getting it. And I wondered if I should just walk away. Should I just stop? And that led to the question, couldI stop? And the answer came quickly and emphatically: No, I couldn't stop. I couldn't walk away from God and the faith He gave me. Because even when faith isn't easy, even when things seem dark and dry and God seems far away, He isn't and His light shines in the darkness. He has done so many marvelous things, and I want to stick around to see what else He does.

Okay, so I'm not going to stop writing and making up stories any more than I'm going to stop growing in my relationship with Christ. But the next several weeks are busy with moving to a new city and then visiting family in Wisconsin and Texas, so instead of writing (and instead of fretting because I feel like I should be writing, because, after all, a writer writes) I'm going to pause and breathe and take a break. I'm going to say goodbye to friends in the city I currently live in and reconnect with old friends in the city I'm moving to. I'm going to spend time with my family because the next time I see them I'll have a child who will undoubtedly monopolize its grandparents' attention. I'm going to revel in the crazy amazingness that is pregnancy and growing a tiny person. I'm going to observe the world around me and look for the joy that can be found. I'm going to marvel in the amazingness that is God and His great love. I'm going to live, because if I'm not living, how am I ever going to write something that will connect with someone else? How can I make a difference in someone else's life if I don't know what life is? And hopefully, when I sit down to write again in a few weeks, I'll have found the fun and the joy in writing again.

Several months ago, I copied this quotation by the author Sara Zarr onto a notecard, "I want to feel the irresistible pull of my work, the exhilaration of creating life on the page. Even more, I want to delight in participating in the creation of life off of the page. To wake up eager for it. To clear out the clutter and make room for the joy." Her words resonated with me then, and they still do today.

Sherrah Behrens

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