Writers write.

“I sure hope you write today,” said the text from my friend, and a wave of guilt washed over me, an emotion I am sure she never dreamed her quick message might summon.

I AM a writer. Since my earliest memories, I have loved writing. As a child, I created short story after short story. In high school and college, I thrived on drafting, writing, editing, and rewriting essays. Today, I make lists. I journal. I send letters. I post on Facebook. I leave Post-it notes with affirmations for students or colleagues. I write editorials on occasion. I send motivational emails. For years, I have taught young adults to write, often challenging even the best writers to write better. Why wouldn’t someone who believed in my ability urge me to write?

I AM a writer, so why did the invitation to participate in a public sharing of ideas excite me – inspire me – but panic me – fill me with fear? Weeks before, I had jumped at the opportunity to join felllow writers, quickly saying yes to a writing project in a public forum. My friend’s words carried a positive intention; she meant to encourage me to share my words with the world. Little did she know my emotional response was deeply rooted in my own decades-long fear of rejection. What if my words didn’t make sense? What if my thoughts rambled? What if no one read my heart’s message?

For years, students, colleagues, and family have encouraged me to write – to share my stories – to mentor through the written word. Emilee occasionally asks me how my book is coming along. Laurel, often in the middle of our conversations, exclaims, “You need to write!” Darvoni even asks when I’m going to produce my TedTalk. The invitation to join an online group of writers vulnerable enough to share their craft came at the right time, right at the beginning of the COVID19 pandemic when I found myself with a more flexible schedule, and still I found myself overthinking the format of the blog, making excuses to not step fully into the project, to protect myself from opinions of others.

Ruth’s six simple words “I hope you write today” echoed those of one of my favorite fictional teachers, Miss Pointy. In Sahara Special, this brilliant teacher simply pens “Writers write” in Sahara’s writer’s notebook. Through the relationship between Miss Pointy and Sahara, a fifth grader struggling with her own abandonment issues created by her parents’ divorce, readers watch Miss Pointy masterfully nurture Sahara as a writer, as a student, as a human. With patience, Miss Pointy grows this young writer’s confidence, and in the end, Sahara realizes writers do write.

Like everyone else on this planet, sometimes, all I need is a little nudge; a few words often carry more weight than the writer intended. Sometimes, all I need is the patient observations of someone who believes in me. Sometimes, all I need is to just begin.

After all, I AM a writer, and writers write. #sosmagic

I’m joining an open community of writers over at Sharing Our Stories: Magic in a Blog. If you write (or want to write) just for the magic of it, consider this your invitation to join us.

11 thoughts on “Writers write.

  1. So many can identify with every word you have written here, especially me. I never wrote as a child or as a younger adult. But Ruth changed that for me in 2011. Now I need to read Sahara Special and meet Miss Pointy and Sahara.

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    • Oh, please read Sahara Special. I read this book each spring to my college students – future teachers. Teachers have so much power simply in the way they encourage children and young adults. Come to think of it, we all have that power, don’t we…. if we’re willing to nurture/support/encourage each other.

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  2. “Like everyone else on this planet, sometimes, all I need is a little nudge; a few words often carry more weight than the writer intended. Sometimes, all I need is the patient observations of someone who believes in me. Sometimes, all I need is to just begin.”

    Everything you said here resonates with me. I think I needed to read this for the encouragement too–I’m so glad you were willing to share these feelings!!

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  3. Very honest and compelling post. I have experienced similar emotions when invited to write. I have several self authored children’s books in dusty boxes wsiting to be taken up again, revised, and published. I try not to think about them. Then lasr week, I put one of them on my desk chair so that I cant ignore it. I am determined to begin again and finish that book this summer!

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  4. Oh, Heather! This is a special post. You’re right, I had NO CLUE that it would be an emotional rollercoaster when I sent you a text. The truth is, I always hope you write. A few years ago when you allowed me the privilege to read about the blanket fort your colleagues built for you, was twhen I became one of your biggest fans. I want to read more of your thoughts, to open my mind to a different way to see the world, and to savor the way you craft. I do hope you keep writing.
    Hugs,
    Ruth

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    • I will keep writing, Ruth. You inspire me. And so you know, I often think about your writing, and the time you had with our dear friend Paul Reahard. So many deep connections remind me of the power of words.

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  5. I love your piece so much. These lines resonated with me because I often feel the same way you do, “Little did she know my emotional response was deeply rooted in my own decades-long fear of rejection. What if my words didn’t make sense? What if my thoughts rambled? What if no one read my heart’s message?” I’m going to remember Ruth’s words, “I sure hope you write today.” What a beautiful invitation.

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