For those who have been reading my stories for a long time, you know there's been a shift in my writing life. I walked away from Two Writing Teachers in order to find the space to tell a story that's been knocking around inside of me. For the past few months I've been learning to give brain space to some new writing territories. It's time I begin writing to find my voice in the topics of adoption and family and marriage and faith.
I've decided to dedicate the season of Lent to writing 40 stories. Lent is a season of preparation leading up to the Easter celebration. It is designed to be 40 days of preparation, with a day of rest each week.
I'm learning rest is crucial to my writing life. I like the idea of a big challenge with built in rest. This season, I'm giving 40 stories of family and faith. I'm not "allowed" to rattle off a story about teaching or writing. These are natural and easy for me to write. I've had lots of practice, beginning to blog in those territories in 2005. This challenge is about training my brain to find and compose stories in these new writing territories. (I'm learning I craft a lot of my writing in my head. In order to write like I want about family and faith, I have to retrain my brain to think in new territories.)
I've shared this plan with two friends who both laughed when I told them the rules. Neither were surprised that I'd have rules. I, however, was a little surprised that they expected me to have rules. I don't consider myself a rules sort of person. I do, I suppose, like to know the exact goal and then go after it with all I'm worth. This is both comforting and a hassle.
In addition to offering 40 stories, I'm also giving up comments on them. I'm finding I'm determining the worth of a story based on the comments. I don't want to write a story because I think it'll get comments. (This is not to devalue comments. They are often the fuel for my writing life. It is simply that I want to depend on my heart to know the value of these 40 stories.)
I want to write 40 stories to find my voice, to learn how to handle tough back stories with dignity and respect, and to be fueled by a writing challenge.
Without a doubt, CELEBRATE This Week will continue on Saturdays (with comments!) during the six weeks of Lent. Beginning on Ash Wednesday, March 5, I'll offer a story six days each week until Easter Sunday, April 20. I hope my stories will inspire you to shine and love and and celebrate and collect some of your own stories too.