The Writing Journey: Transforming Lives

By: Marilyn Schwader

When I was growing up, my parents took an annual two-week camping trip that took us to many places in the U.S. and Canada. They'd pack the car with all the equipment, clothes, and food for them and their brood of five kids. Eventually the family grew to seven (plus the occasional friend who came along). As you can imagine, there were plenty of adventures and memories to fill a book! In fact, on many occasions Mom would say, "Someday I'm going to write a book about these trips!" For some reason, the book never made it to paper. While the list is long for several reasons (for starters, seven kids!), my guess is it was because she was never completely clear about what form the writing would take. Would it be a travel guide, a comedy, or a how-to or how-not-to book? Could it be all of those? Erma Bombeck was a popular writer during those times. Could my Mom stand up to that example of using real-life stories to humor readers? Oh, the pressure. And so, the book remained in her mind and unwritten.

The writing process is different for everyone, but sometimes the potential writer never starts because they don't know where to start or where to take the subject if they do have a start. Sometimes, they feel like they're standing at a crossroads, with signs pointed in dozens of directions with varying distances for each one. They are frozen with indecision about what step they should take first. If indecision isn't the problem, fear rears its ugly head and stops the writing dead in its tracks.

Let me give you a simple suggestion. Just take the first step, no matter what the direction. You might think this goes against the idea of having a vision in mind before starting. But actually, it will help with clarifying the view. Because once you steer clear of the crossroads, the way will be easier to see. If you start down a path, and it turns out not to be the right direction, you will be much more likely to see that than if you were still standing back at the signs, scratching your head.

Once you start down this path, your life will change. I've seen it over and over. Writing about your real life experiences causes tremendous healing for both the writer and the reader. Storytelling is one of the oldest traditions, beginning well before the written word. When you can take the story you tell and put it to words on a paper, you will be carrying on a legacy that has been passed down through millennia. So embark on the writing journey with pride, conquer your fears, and find your voice. You'll see amazing changes when you do.


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