It has been the most amazing weekend, and I have so much to tell you about...but today is going to be an extremely busy day for my husband and me, and I also need to collect my thoughts before I can adequately describe the way my second-oldest son asked the girl of his dreams to marry him on Friday. So while I'm getting it together to compose that post, here is one that's been languishing as a draft since I wrote it up last week:
I was reading a post by one of my favorite Catholic bloggers not too long ago, and I found myself saying out loud, "That's it! That's how I feel!" Sarah Rhinehard is the Vice President of the Catholic Writers Guild, has authored several books, and regularly publishes articles and book reviews--she is busy, busy, busy writing, but currently not working on a book. And here's what she had to say on the subject of being a writer:
...that whole "I’m a writer" thing? It feels…crazy, phony, unbelievable. I feel very much like a hack. And no, it’s not that I doubt my ability to write. It’s not that I’m insecure, because I know I’m okay at what I do.
It’s more that defining myself as a writer feels somehow untrue, like it’s a past-tense or a future-tense thing, not a current-tense thing."
Even when I was working on Finding Grace, I had trouble thinking of myself as a "writer." I was just plugging away at my project in secret, wondering if anyone but my husband and myself would ever read it. For those four-and-a-half years, when I was writing and re-writing and editing each page to death, if you'd asked me what I was the last thing I would have said was, "I'm a writer." And now, with no new book in the works (Nicholas Sparks I am NOT!), I feel less like one than I ever did. I have a few ideas that I've been kicking around, but so far I haven't had the motivation to sit down and get to work on a second novel.
Shortly after Finding Grace was published in the summer of 2012, I contacted author Therese Heckenkamp to see if she would list my title on her Catholic fiction website; she not only did that, but also read the book and posted a nice review (FG's first review by a published author!). When I emailed her a thank you, she replied that it was her pleasure to help out a fellow author. When I told her I felt funny about using my name and the word "author" in the same sentence, she said I needed to get used to it. Almost two years later, I'm still not.
I blog almost daily, and that's writing--so...I guess being a blogger makes one a writer. And I've been doing a good number of book reviews lately for Amazon and Goodreads. I am a contributing reviewer over at CatholicFiction.net as well (although I haven't done a whole lot of work for them lately). But If you're writing reviews--even when you're doing it pro bono--then I suppose you would have to consider yourself a writer. (Right?)
But still, the tag "writer" (as a job description) still seems much too surreal to me, because I make no money doing it. But as my husband reminded me recently when this subject came up, I have never been paid for the work I've done throughout my adult life (since I was always a "stay-at-home mother/housewife"); but that doesn't mean my work has been without value.
Well said, oh hero of mine.
So if I use whatever writing talent (or compulsion!) I have, doing my best to employ the written word in such a way that it will give glory to God, then it doesn't matter if I make any money or not. It doesn't mean that my writing--whether it's Finding Grace, or this blog, or the reviews I pen for Catholic works of fiction--is without value. This is something I must continually remind myself.
I have always had a laminated copy of our wedding article (from the small hometown newspaper where my husband and I grew up, and then met in high school) on our fridge. After 33-plus years, it's yellowed with age, but it never fails to make me smile when I look at it.
Now that I am a writer (pinch me? Am I really?), I almost wish I'd had the guts, way back when I was a 22-year-old newlywed, to say that I was aspiring to be one. It took until 2007--when I was a 49-year-old mom of grown kids--to get inspired to start Finding Grace, and a few years more to start this blog. I'm so happy God sent me the grace to do it, and that I found it. (See what I did there?) With Him, all things truly are possible!