It Takes a Family: 5 Life Lessons I’ve Learned While Writing

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This month is all about our writing and those who support us on the journey. Here are five lessons I’ve learned along the way along with the people who taught me:

Lesson #1: Communication=Love
Let’s be honest, writing takes time. The more you want to accomplish, the more time it takes. In between home, family, four kids and a marriage, that time can be in seriously short supply. Except for this one secret. Communication.

My husband can be my biggest supporter if I’m clear with him about deadlines, goals and the family calendar. There isn’t always time to do everything in a day, but if we work together we can accomplish much more than days we get busy and don’t communicate. I’m so thankful for the love he shows me on our journey together. He always shows me this dream is important and worth the effort. In return, I want to love and value him by making our communication clear.

I love you enough to communicate.

Lesson #2: (Little) People Are Watching
This year for Mother’s Day, my oldest daughter wrote all the things “I am” to her. It was the kind of list that tells every single thing you’ve ever done, be it successful or no. Many “accomplishments” were writing related, and it made me think how I’ve brought my kids along on the journey. I’ve shared how my thirteen year old and I rotate writing shifts on the laptop, and I love the way this writing journey is impacting my kids in a positive way. Little people are watching, and I hope they see, “If I can, you can.”

Lesson #3: Goal Setting & Balance
It’s only right that my next lesson comes from my parents. Growing up, my mom’s mantra was, “You can do anything!” I’m not sure how well I understood it then, but I’m getting pieces of it now. I watch my parents set goals for their “projects” and finish each one. My mom says she’s not great at finishing what she starts, but she’s amazing. Why? Because she gets up and does it.

My parents would never say that they’re wildly successful at just about everything they do, but the fact is—they are. They know how to get things done. They also know how to balance their lives. I watch them take time with the family and love on their grandkids, and I’m internally taking notes. Only now as an adult am I starting to appreciate and apply this balance of goal-setting and loving on others. Love takes time.

Lesson #4: Share & Enjoy!
We all need “safe” people in life to share the crazy with. In my life, my sister-in-law is that person. Several times I’ve shared a few pages of writing when I just needed someone to read it and laugh. She’s a reader, and I can always ask for her input. I value her so much because there are honestly “no strings attached”. If it’s good writing, great. If it’s not, she’s going to love me anyway. We can both laugh and enjoy this time together along the way.

Lesson #5: You Are.
Sometimes it feels like I have too much going on. I’ve plotted and researched more than one novel while I completed and sold a few magazine articles. I’ve prayed about which is my genre, while serving on a conference planning committee and editing client books. I’ve clocked in hours on a women’s fiction novel while writing both paid and volunteer blog posts on deadline. This year, I had the privilege of recording the first one of my original songs ever.

So, the reason it feels like I have too much going on is because I definitely have. These are the days when I question myself. What am I doing? What should I be doing? What do I cut? Am I even a writer?

One such weekend, my mother-in-law came to visit us after church. Our kids were playing with friends in and out of doors, we passed out the popsicles and fixed the afternoon coffee so we could have just a few minutes to sit in the living room—my husband, my mother-in-law and me. We talked about several things and then she said, “The Lord gave me a word for you…you already know what it is.”

“What?!” I asked while pouring and serving coffee.

I made her wait so I could sit down first and she said, “I watched you in church today. You were taking notes and writing everything down, and then… Then you circled something. And I just felt in my spirit—You are going to be a writer!”

I have to confess, I laughed out loud.

She went on to explain, she knew I was writing, but not to stop and she believed God was really going to use that writing. I wasn’t all spiritual that day in the living room with giggling girls down the hallway and little boys running in and out of the house with pretend weapons. I believe I asked her to please pray for God to tell me—Write What?!

“Now, He’s not going to tell me that!” she exclaimed.
It wasn’t some deep, spiritual discussion, but it was enough. I needed to hear it that day. You are a writer. Don’t stop.

What are the questions in your heart about your writing journey? I want to encourage you to ask Him and watch for the unique ways He may answer. You are a writer. Don’t stop.

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