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Friday, November 18, 2016

 

Friday Speak Out!: Writing With Love

by Jeanine DeHoney

Just when I was having one of those days when I was saying my husband didn't get me as a writer, you know, how he doesn't understand how it’s possible to sit in front of a computer for an hour and have one paragraph to show for it, he comes out with the most amazing, insightful words that make me fall in love with him all over again.

Let me explain. Lately it seems as if I haven't been enjoying writing as much as I used to. Sometimes I outright dreaded opening my eyes in the morning to see a dark computer screen waiting for me, sometimes seemingly taunting me knowing I had a laborious feat ahead.

I felt like I was writing on the edge all the time, ready to fall into an abyss that threatened to steal my passion and joy as a writer. Even when my words weren't playing a game of hide and go seek, when I was busy- recycling old stories, creating new stories, writing queries, editing my novel in progress -my mind wasn't connecting to my heart. I didn't love what I was doing.

I was concerned more about the end result than the process even as I wrote. I rushed to finish stories to produce quantity instead of taking my time, writing as if I was sipping a cup of tea on some Southern porch taking in the sights, sounds, and smells around me so it could add another layer to my stories. I wanted to relish in the sweet taste of being salable and successful as an author so I wrote with that in mind and it chipped away at my passion.

When I voiced my feelings about this uncomfortable place I was in with my writing to my husband one evening, his words suddenly shifted me, probably because this was the season I needed to hear them.

“You have to stop writing from that place of anxiousness,” he said. “You always used to complain about not having the time to write, now that you do, write because you love writing and tell the stories you want to tell.”

He was so right. Even though it hadn't come as I expected it would come, I got a chance to write full time. But through the years, especially of lately, there were loose threads I unintentionally kept tugging at that began to unravel the passion and love I had for my muse. The only way it could be mended, stitched together to close the looming hole threatening to ruin my garment, was to rekindle the tinder, find that spark I once had and relight it.

Relighting that spark meant writing with a renewed voice those stories I yearned to write, stories about the dynamics of families as I sifted through the beauty and the ashes of my own. It meant writing fearlessly, without the need to conform and write stories that were deemed more marketable, but ones that didn't show the depth of who I or my characters were. It meant having faith as small as a mustard seed and a belief that when I did what I loved, all of my cards would align perfectly and success as I knew it, which wasn't in monetary terms but in how it inspired others,would follow.

At a time when our country is so openly divided, when children are crying wondering about their future, we all should be an example of living a life doing what we love so our inner light won't dim.

Our world could use more love; love of self, love of our neighbors and love of our muse especially as writers whose distinctive voices can fill the crevices of a hurting world and spread healing. So today I choose to fall in love with writing again. And I thank my husband for showing me the way.

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Jeanine DeHoney, wife, mom and grandmother "extraordinaire" has had her writing published in several anthologies, magazines and blogs including "Chicken Soup for the African American Woman’s Soul," The Mom Egg, Literary Mama, Mused Bella online, Writing For Dollars, True Stories Well Told, Underwater New York, Mutha Magazine, Metro Fiction, My Brown Baby and ScaryMommy.com. She was a 2013 finalist in the Brooklyn Art and Film Festivals Nonfiction Contest and the winner of that contest in 2014. 
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Would you like to participate in Friday "Speak Out!"? Email your short posts (under 500 words) about women and writing to: marcia[at]wow-womenonwriting[dot]com for consideration. We look forward to hearing from you!
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6 Comments:

Anonymous KAlan said...

I'm so comforted by this post Jeanine; I am suffering almost exactly the same issue. Since I've found myself with time to write, I've been unable to do so (or, at least, to do so well; the best I can do is force myself to produce numerous unsatisfying pages). Like you, this may be related to the circumstances that gave me the time, which are on my mind always. The light of each day travels past my home, leaving me reddened by a beautiful sunset that only reminds me of wasted moments.

Once the volume of NaNo is past, I need to rediscover my mantra, and your advice will be a starting point for the attempt. In the meantime, you know what they say about loving company... so thanks for yours.

4:05 AM  
Blogger Sioux said...

Jeanine--You have to write for yourself first... and if others love your writing, that's gravy.

I'm so glad you've started with yourself when it comes to acceptance. It all begins with ourselves--when it comes to our writing and when it comes to our country.

Thanks for posting. I look forward to reading more of your writing--on the Muffin or in other places.

4:10 AM  
Anonymous JENNIFER BROWNBANKS said...

You go girl! You grow girl. I'd say "Stella got her groove back." We can feel the love.:-) Congrats.

7:46 AM  
Anonymous Evelyn Krieger said...

Jeanine, your post hits home this morning as I struggle to craft meaningful writing during the gift of hours before me. Isn't it strange, how many writers say that once they actually were allotted the time, they found it even harder to write? The idea of not writing from a place of anxiousness is an idea I needed to hear. Thank you.

9:08 AM  
Anonymous Jeanine said...

Thanks so very much for your comments everyone.

9:41 AM  
Blogger Angela said...

What a gorgeous post and well said, Jeanine. :) I related to this quote, unfortunately: "I wanted to relish in the sweet taste of being salable and successful as an author so I wrote with that in mind and it chipped away at my passion." I'm so glad you were able to overcome the blocks. You are so right when you say that our country and world needs more love, and as writers, we have the opportunity to spread that love. Thanks for the post!

12:15 PM  

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