Wednesday, January 27, 2016

My Writing Story | Welcome to The Quiet Writer's Desk

The Quiet Writers Desk is dedicated to helping the shy and quiet discover writing as a way to be who they are, find their way onto the page, and say what is on their heart.

You may know me as the writer, sister, dreamer, friend, person from my blog, The Song of My Soul, but let me introduce myself afresh.

Hello, I'm Kayla, and welcome to my new writing blog.
I'm a writer, dreamer, empathy-lover, shy, quiet, woman of few words - except when it comes to writing stories. But there's a bit of a story that goes along with that.

For years I thought because I was shy and quiet and too afraid to talk that I was wrong. I thought I shouldn't be that way because the world was this howling mess telling me I should be more like my friends who were so fearless, so talkative, so - not alone.

I want to share my journey to writing stories, how I discovered writing as a way to be myself and say what was on my heart. I want to help other shy, quiet girls do the same.

When I was twelve years old I had a identity crisis. I went on to have many more identity crises due to what happened at my first identity crisis.

I was twelve years old and I was already worried about who I was, what I was going to be, and I was experiencing serious self-confidence issues.

I was an introvert, but I didn't know it. And I was surrounded by lots of people who were out-going and knew exactly what to say, experienced no self-doubt whatsoever, and were not shy one iota. It took a considerable amount of time before I was not afraid to order my own food at Burger King, check-out all by myself at Wal-Mart, or even answer the phone(which I still do not like to do).

When I was twelve, I had hardly even begun to conquer any of those fears, and I knew it. So I had a identity crisis. Failure and self-doubt, and trepidation about my future probably had a hand in the moment of my crisis. I hated math and science, and the only things I loved in life were history, reading, horses, American Girl dolls, piano, and being an all around tom boy with my buddy brother. I knew none of these things were especially helpful in the line of deciding what I wanted to be when I grew up.

I spent a great deal of time inside my head without really doing anything but imagining myself in exciting, often historical, scenarios. Mostly, I wanted to be an Indian.

The only other thing that fascinated me was Jo March, and her romantic life as a writer. I had an old black leather-ish binder my grandmother didn't want and it looked old fashioned and sort of like Jo's. So I filched some lined paper from my mother's school cabinet, which was off limits to all her creative children who cared little about order and neatness, and wrote down a scene in my head.

I can remember trying to write a story about a princess and a horse when I was seven or eight, but I also remember telling someone in my family I was writing a story and seeing their skeptical look, and hearing their, “Oh. That's nice.” I could also read their mind—“That'll be the day.” My confidence was ruined and I gave up the prospect at age 7.

And so, after writing a full page in the notebook, I came to a sudden halt. I couldn't finish it. Didn't even know how to finish it . . . didn't even know I was experiencing the infamous Writer's Block (which I am not sure really exists anymore). But I did know a few things:
  • I wasn't good at anything that resembled anything I would love to do for the rest of my life (math was a constant struggle all the way through high school, my father tried and tried, but I refused) and . . . 
  • I loved writing

Writing gave me an escape. In writing I could say exactly what I meant, I could actually SPEAK on the page. I wasn't shy, I was bold and free to be myself, or anyone I wanted to be! I could be all those people who were out-going and knew their path through life so well. I could be anybody in the space of time—I could make up my own people. I could write about horses and girls who were tom boys and didn't care what other people thought. 

But I believed in the romantic, harsh picture of The Starving Artist, so I didn't really think I could do this the rest of my life—until I began studying my favorite authors.

I wrote mainly for myself for the first few years because I was so free when I wrote, and it made me so terribly happy.

So when I experienced my first instance of Writer's Block, that is the first time I noticed I was actually getting Writer's Block and it was something to worry about, I had another identity crisis. Because here was something I loved to do, at last, that didn't involve math, and I could not NOT do it. I loved it so much I didn't understand why I would get up to do it and not be able to write a single word.

So I hid in the bathroom and let the tears flow, and I asked God, “Please, what do you want me to do? I'll do and be whatever you want me to.” I was so utterly convinced that I was an utter failure at writing I was going to give it up. So when He said to be writer I felt such relief and happiness. I had the confirmation to go ahead with what I really did love and I knew that because He'd told me to do it He would help me through it. I remember quite clearly I was waiting for an answer with an empty mind, and I also remember hearing God tell me to be a writer, quite clearly.

So for the next few years I wrote anything and everything and finished nothing. Accept for a lame retelling of horse camp story called Becca, and a short Christmas story called Because of Miss Silver Jacket. Both of which I was proud of to a certain extent and both of which my family was only mildly impressed with.

My older sister was, and still is, a poet, and my older brother once timidly presented my parents with a short story he'd written called Joshua's Jericho. My parents were so impressed with him that I wanted to seek their approval in the same area, and that was another reason I'd started writing. But the thing is—my brother never went on to complete Joshua's Jericho, and my sister had no ambition to make a life writing poetry—so to avoid being disappointed and not really sure if they should encourage me or not, seeing as my older siblings hadn't really pursued writing—I decided not to show them any of my stories.

In fact, I found out really early on that when I told people that I was writing and what it was about—it lost its magic entirely. I was suddenly obligated to finish the story and not free to jump around willy-nilly to write anything that caught my fancy. And once I told them what it was about, hook, line, and climax, I suddenly had no one to write it for and no reason to write it. They knew the ending and so did I, so why write it?

So I stopped telling people what I was writing, and thus became a pantser—writing only when inspired and never planning where the story would go or where it would end up.

But I would talk about writing and my family knew, quite clearly, that I was a writer. That I loved writing. My parents helped me purchase my first writing course, One Year Adventure Novel, and that's when my writing took a turn for the better. My writing filled every drawer in my desk, notebooks overflowed from my room into the family room. I had boxes and boxes of half-written stories and random papers with single scenes, characters who didn't have a story yet—my writing was everywhere. Just ask my little sister—she shares a room with me. I never threw anything away. And I still don't throw anything away.

Yes, my family knew for certain how much I loved writing and never needed to ask me what I wanted to do when I grew up. A writer, and nothing more. And because I chose writing and because I still suffered from severe self-doubt and lack of confidence and many, many more bouts of Writer's Block you can see how I had lots and lots of identity crises because of my chosen profession.

But here I am. Writing stories still and God has been very good.

I don't think any writer will ever out-grow of self-doubt, and I will probably always be shy and quiet. What you can do, though, is find peace about who you are and what you do, and learn to be who you are despite the loud and noisy world we live in.

Welcome to The Quiet Writers' Desk!

So why a desk? Why a messy desk to boot?

The desk represents the quietness in our outward lives, the studious atmosphere surrounding us.

It's a messy desk because it represents how noisy our inward world is. Especially when writing stories.

Even though we're quiet on the outside, we're full of voices and stories and people and words.
And that's why we're writers. 

My goal through this blog is to help young, quiet writers find confidence and encouragement through writing stories, and be who they were made to be

Join the community


8 comments:

  1. Love this blog. I'm passing it along to a few young beginner writers who will love all the information. Once again thank you for sharing your passion and letting us look inside your heart a little bit. Much love, Tracey

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    1. Thank you so much, Tracey! This means the world to me! I couldn't do it without you.

      Love, Kayla

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  2. I am really excited for you at this new beginning! What a bright future!
    Love, Mama

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  3. Hello Kayla!

    Just wanted to say hi and that I absolutely loved reading your writing story post. I love your way of describing the various struggles of an aspiring writer. Your writing journey sounds incredibly similar to my own, except that I think you've had more success in actually getting quality stuff out there than I have. ;) I'm still trying to discover where my writing skills best fit, but I do love writing fiction and reflective non-fiction. My blog is mainly the second one...just a little place where I share my reflections on various aspects of life and following God.

    Best wishes for your blogging and writing!

    Heather

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    1. Hello Heather!

      Thank you so, so much for dropping by and leaving a comment! I just loved reading it and hearing about your writing life! If there's one thing I've learned about the continual struggle of writing is that there is no end to the learning and there is always room to learn more. I'm still learning and I'm so thankful to have a place to share.

      Thank you again! And the very same best wishes for you and your writing!

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  4. Hi Kayla,

    I really enjoyed reading your honest from the heart story. I'm not young but I have always been an introvert. I didn't discover my love of writing until my fifties so if that disqualifies me for being a part of this let me know and I'll leave you alone. I won't bore you with my life story though it is a long one filled with living, loving, loss, grand kids and many accomplishments. I too love to write. It is an escape for me. I hope to one day soon be an indie author.

    Sincerely,
    Eric

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    1. It most certainly doesn't disqualify you. Thank you for stopping by and commenting. I hope you find much success in your author journey.

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  5. Hello Kayla!
    I love this introduction! I'm 32 and yet I can totally Idenify with the never telling people my stories (because then I wouldn't write them), the look of "how cute " When I have told people I like to write. So, I've been keeping all my stories in my journals that I recently named Kenzie. (Think Dr. Who: his body changes, but he is still the doctor.)
    Thanks for sharing your story. I will be back soon.

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