National Novel Writing Month changed my life.
Ok, I know I sound overly dramatic, but it’s true. It really did change my life.
Before I signed up for nanowrimo, I was a writer who didn’t write. I read about writing. I journaled about “should I write?” and if I did “what would I write about?” I told stories in my scrapbooks. I told the kids stories about all the ways God had taken care of us. I dabbled with writing poetry. I suppose that was all warm-up for what I’d really wanted to do all along.
Four years ago, I started a novel with the words “It was a dark and stormy night.” It was the hardest project I’d ever started. More times than I can count, I was ready to hit the delete key and go back to being a non-writer. Why go through that kind of headache for a story no one would care about, let alone read?
My husband and children and friends urged me on. In the end, I had a story I was proud of. In the middle of it all, I discovered that I’m a story person (as my then eleven-year-old son called me). I have more stories in me than I can keep track of. I don’t know if I’ll ever write all of them, but I’m sure going to try.
There are still days when I wish I weren’t a writer. As Shirley Hazzard said, "It's nervous work. The state you need to write in is the state that others are paying large sums to get rid of." My husband and children would agree. When I have writer’s block, it’s not a pretty sight. But I persevere, and when I’ve written my fingers off for the day, I’m pretty pleased with the result.
I once wondered what my purpose in life was. What did God want me to do? What did the world need from Michelle Gregory? I found this quote and had my answer: “Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive and then do that because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” - Howard Thurman
It’s been a difficult, yet freeing journey. Writing has helped me find more life than I ever thought was possible. As I walk in who I am, my children and friends are finding courage to try things they’ve always wanted to try. I'm bringing life to the people around me. That would never have happened if I'd ignored my desire to write.
So I'm here to say, that published or unpublished, understood or misunderstood, I'm a WRITER and always will be.