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Becoming a Writer

My eyes opened slowly this morning. It took me a few minutes to realize that there was light in my room, and no sounds, yet, from the bedroom across the hall. After nearing two and a half years of my daughter's life, I can still count on my hands how many times I have had the chance to wake up after the dawn of the sun.

And yet, that's life. It is the routine I have adjusted to. And there are worse things than waking to the day with (or usually before) the birds. Too bad I don't like worms.

As the haze of the morning lifted, my brain kicked into roaring gear as it usually does - to-do lists scrolling under my eyelids like ticker tape. Assessments of life: grocery status, finance status, writing work status, plans for Violet for the day, predictions for when (if ever) my husband will come back home (from work, that is, not abandonment...yet).

And then, today, the words of the last page I read before going to bed skipped across my brain: There are no limitations to the mind except those we acknowledge (Napoleon Hill).

It has been almost a year since I wrote in this blog. It is stunning how quickly time slips past. Frightening.

But this morning I am full of rejuvenated motivation.

See, here's the thing. Recently I became a writer. It's true. Sounds strange, right? Maybe not to you, but to me. Became a writer. Even writing that down feels funny. But there's a certain truth in that statement that has made all the difference to me in the past, well, let's say month at the very least.

Last month my mother and I went to a psychic fair in Kelowna. I went last year with a friend and, though I shy away from expressing this with everyone, it had a profound effect on my life. Last year I went more as a lark - to sample eccentricities from the minds of spiritual and unconventional believers. But this year, without knowing it until I got there, I had a purpose. And that was to define my purpose.

I've been somewhat lost as of late. For those of you who are mothers, this may be familiar. In redefining myself as a parent over the past few years the rest of my identity has become hazy and subdued. Necessarily, in some ways, in order to perform this new and extremely demanding role. But being someone with a previously fiercely independent nature and a mile long list of things to accomplish in life as a strong and self-sufficient woman, it has been catching up with me - my need to be me.

To make a long story short (yeah right, Shawna), I needed an outside, nonpartisan source to reconfirm what information I knew to be there in my heart. I needed someone to put it in words. I needed someone to say, "Shawna...write."

And that's exactly what happened. Not one but two "psychics" pointed directly at my head and said "kid, slow down and focus. You've got too much chaos up here. I don't know why you are trying to do everything under the sun, but you're a writer. So just write."

And that, literally, was all it took.

I came home and rearranged my house (one, for the new baby, and two, for myself). I carved a space into my room for an "office" that felt authentic and inspiring and comfortable. And then, more importantly, I carved out a space in my life for a career.

I like saying that. A career.

Because here's what's true. We create our lives and ourselves. Period.

I like "self-help". Trite and obvious as it may be, sometimes you just need to hear words one more time or in one certain way and suddenly something you've read ten thousand times has meaning. It changes you. It helps you remember, and life really is a constant forgetting and remembering. It's like psychics: sometimes you just need someone to say to you what you already know.

So I'm reading "Think & Grow Rich" by Napoleon Hill. Because I need to remember. The truth is there really is a secret in life. A secret to getting what you want. You have to be what you want. And to do that, you have to believe. No matter what anyone out there says.

Oh, how utterly cliche :)

So, anyway, there you have it. I read it. I listened. I heard it. And I, in an instant, became a writer.

I finished the manuscript for my first novel. A year ago, the idea of actually writing a *gulp* novel was insane. And now it's done. The first round, anyway.

And more importantly, now there's a sense of confidence there wasn't before. I've stepped up a wrung in the ladder. What was once fiction in my brain is reality - I can write a book. Whether it is well received by others is yet to be determined.

We all have so many fears that seemingly protect us. From pain, isolation, loss, regret, embarrassment. But we are also the gatekeepers of meaning in our own lives. We define, ultimately, what pain and loss and embarrassment means to us. And when we truly grasp this, we have a special kind of power. The power to do whatever we want. The power to control, or work with, our fear.

I am like everyone else. I have spent my entire 33 years on this planet fearing rejection, isolation, and ostracism. I want respect. I want love. I want acceptance. But there is an absolute guarantee that when you put yourself out there on the table, you will face this. Everyone has different tastes, values, jealousies, priorities...not everyone will ever love you. It's a losing battle.

But no one will love YOU if you don't put YOU out there at all.

So, in the 'immortal' words of Kanye West, "Fuck it."

If you're a writer, be one. Be a freaking tightrope-walking magician who tames antelopes. Just be. Own it. Because no one else can do it for you. And you don't, really, need anyone else to tell you what you are, either.

But, if you do, go see a psychic. I won't tell a soul.

(As an aside, after writing this I noticed that one of the few posts from last year also dealt with a psychic reading I've had. I assure you that I do not make all the decisions in my life based on the advice from intuitive readers. Just the important ones ;) )

Losing Out Loud: Sharing Ourselves Through Story

Faith in Possibility...and Saving Sea Scallops