Last year was a busy one. We moved house and then six days later Little brother was born. So, physically it was pretty full on but it also felt like a big year, creatively.
I have always enjoyed writing but I think I didn’t really consider it as something I could intentionally pursue. However, over the last few years, I have been thinking in the background about whether it was something I could do.
In the summer we go away for a week to a Christian house party. It’s a great marker each year where I can reflect on exactly where I was at a year ago and see how I’ve grown. This year Big brother got ill and we spent most of the week in quarantine whilst Pete led worship. It was a pretty horrendous week. However, in one of the sessions I did get to we did a reflective thing where we pictured ourselves sat with Jesus talking to him and had the opportunity to ask a question.
Over the last year I’d found myself wrestling with what I wanted to do for work, unable to particularly express it but really wanting direction so I found myself asking Jesus, “what should I be doing for work?” And I heard him ask back, “what do you want to do?” Everything within me screamed, ‘please just tell me, I’m struggling to figure it out!’ but I found myself replying, ‘Write’. When it came to a quiet moment of reflection and connecting with God I knew exactly what I wanted to be doing. How I was going to do it I had no idea but I found real clarity in knowing that deep down my heart was to write.
After that week I felt myself commit to seeking out opportunities to write. Before this, I really struggled to see myself as a writer. (Actually I still struggle now to be honest.) I was blogging and I’d written some bits for work but I wasn’t convinced that I was good enough to do it more than that. However, I found a real shift when I decided to pursue it in spite of my feelings. Obviously I hope what I write will be good but if I write because I have a real desire to communicate what’s on my heart then I know that’s a good place to start.
It was also a choice for me to believe that I am a creative person. For someone reason I have always desired to be creative but found it hard to believe that I am. Growing up I always thought there was someone better than me in art class or that the label of ‘creative’ was reserved for people who oozed creativity. Not for me who is good at organising so gets popped in that box, often by myself. But, the reality is that I can be both those people. The creative and the organiser.
I am particularly grateful to my husband, Pete, for constantly encouraging me in my creativity and my friend, Rachel, for encouraging me in my writing. You have both helped me to embrace who I am more than I have before and pursue what’s really on my heart. (I didn’t anticipate this being such an emotional post but I think it might be heading that way!)
Anyway, I decided to pursue writing just to see what might happen. I emailed a friend who edits a magazine with some ideas of pieces I could write for them and I responded to some other emails I hadn’t quite found the time or confidence for previously.
Then I arranged to have coffee with someone in publishing (one of those friend of a friend/Aunty type connections) so I could ask lots of questions about what I needed to do in order to get enough writing experience to write a book in the future. Way, way in the future. Also, at this point I was thinking kid’s books. The conversation was so helpful and then she said to me, “so at the moment we’re looking for people to write about motherhood and faith…” If you already read my blog or follow me on social media you’ll know that’s what I already write about so I replied, “oh! That’s what I already write about…”
Long story short, I’m now writing a book. (I want to apologise here for how easy this sounds if you are currently seeking to publish a book. I know how hard that process can be. It has been a longer journey than I can write here and I didn’t quite anticipate writing a book but I am so grateful for the opportunity). And, as well as writing the book I’ve now written for YCW magazine and have some other pieces I’m writing for other publications and websites.
Although just writing for work would be dreamy it is not the big money earner it needs to be for us to keep living in our house and eating actual food so I also needed to look for some paid work (as I’d decided not go back to my job after maternity leave). Having already decided I would pursue new opportunities I was way more open to trying something different and when the opportunity to work as a Funeral Pastor came along I was really excited! It’s such a different opportunity but one that allows me to speak and write and be pastoral, all in a flexible role.
Now this might all seem idyllic on paper/screen but the reality is I have two working days and a whole lot to fit in. I would feel a whole lot less nervous if I could write the book in all my spare time so I knew I’d finish it in time but it’s not possible. So, I have a lot of things open and in progress in my brain all the time but I’m excited about this season and all of the new opportunities and challenges. Also that I get to do these things alongside being a Mum. It’s an enormous, possibly tiring but worth it, privilege.
So, here’s to a year of creativity. A year of seizing new opportunities and sharing what’s on my heart through my writing (and speaking). A year of honest conversation.
My heart is always for honest conversation. I have always wanted to write pieces that inspire people to be open and vulnerable. I want my book to do the same. I want to write things that make people feel ok to say they’re struggling, or that things are hard, but to also share out-loud the things that make their hearts happy. So, in line with the year ahead (and what’s already gone before) I’m having a little re-brand on my blog and social media. I’m still writing about parenthood and faith but my title will reflect what I hope to share and to inspire. I hope you’ll join me.