When the Guy Wearing Ray-Bans Says Those Four Words

Less than a month after God and I decided to try out this writing thing, I met someone.

A man I had never before heard of stood on stage at a conference telling some story about asking a girl out in middle school. I think he wanted to convince us to take risks, but I really heard only four words:

I am a writer.

That’s all I needed to hear before I felt God say, “Go talk to him. You want to write, he’s a writer; talk to him.”

He wore Ray-Ban glasses and cracked himself up at his own jokes, but I was still intimidated by those four words, “I am a writer.” After his session, I made up every excuse in my head of why I shouldn’t talk to him.

What are you going to say to him? What good is telling this guy anyway, what can he do? You can’t really be a writer. He’s going to laugh at your ignorance. And (most importantly) It’s lunchtime. 

Before I could throw out another reason to not talk to him, there I was, hand extended, introducing myself. “Hi, my name is Carrie and I am supposed to talk to you.”

Spoken like a true writer.

He agreed to meet with me and asked that I send some writing samples for him to read ahead of time.

Right, let me just get you my portfolio.

The next day we met outside the training center. Sure, it was January, but January in Georgia, and the sun shone between the wooden beams of the pergola making the temperature difference between the shade and the sun about 12 degrees. The shadows danced across the ground as a breeze blew through the tree branches above us.

We talked about Spain and traveling and dreams, but more than anything we talked about writing and how it is all about deciding to do it. And right in the midst of my bouncing in that brown patio chair he said the four words I never thought I would hear:

You are a writer.

My chair was still. Even though it made no sense and no one had ever published anything I had ever written and the fear in me was so apparent as if written across my forehead, I believed him. I actually believed the guy in the Ray-Bans who laughed at his own jokes.

Because he believed in me.

Until you acknowledge this — that you are a writer — you are depriving the world of a gift it longs for. One that stands the test of time. One that could leave a legacy.

Jeff Goins, You Are a Writer

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What Do You Mean Denial Can’t Stop the Calendar?

2012 ended with a bang. But not the fireworks, bubbly and confetti kind of bang, more like you and the nurses in the ER are on a first-name basis kind of bang.

Bang.

I stuck my heels in the ground of 2012 because of the change 2013 brought with it. Some change I knew of and the unpredictable I feared. Sometimes change is awesome. New places, new people, new adventures: the great unknown, the great perhaps.

Other times, change is not so great. Especially when it is happening everywhere around you, but you’re standing still. Roommates go back to the mission field, friends leave town for other jobs, people are getting married and having babies, or breaking up and moving out. You have to leave loved ones in the hospital and return to your home 1,000 miles away. And you’re thankful you have a month-to-month lease because you never know where you will be in 31 days.

I somehow tricked myself into believing that if 2013 never came, neither would the change.

If you’ll notice, it’s February and it’s the first time I’ve blogged this year. That goes against everything I’ve ever learned about writing, blogging, and building any kind of platform.

I broke the rules because I somehow thought I could get around this whole 2013 thing.

Wrong.

I broke the rules because I have been so caught up in my own swirl that I couldn’t bring myself to sit still long enough to write.

Write.

My dream, my passion, my outlet.

My radio silence came from a place I can compare only to having too much coffee and not enough food. All caffeine and no sustenance. And a place where I let resistance win because I was too tired of fighting.

After a tearful phone call and a trip to Nashville, God reminded me of a conversation we had a little over a year ago. Sitting on my bed at my parents house having returned from one pretty epic journey ’round the world, the weight of life in the first world hit me in the face.

Me: God, really, what do I do now?

God: Remember my promises, I will give you the desires of your heart.

Me: Yeah sure, ok. But right NOW. What do I do?

God: What have I put inside you? What is a gift you have that you can give away? What do you love, but are too scared to do?

Me: (eyes rolling) Write.

God: So write.

Me: Okay, God, if you want me to write, you had better figure out a way for that to happen because all I’m seeing are dead ends!

God: Trust me, Child.

Georgia Night

Surprise! 2013 came and, in fact, we’re already over a month into it. Some changes came and some have yet to happen.

So here’s me getting vulnerable in front of you again. Saying I am sorry for the dead space since last December. Hoping that I have just enough faith in God, just enough people who care about me, and just enough passion for the thing to take the time to do what I love. To beat resistance and give what I have to anyone willing to receive.

Because when everything is swirling, you don’t give up on your dream.

Sleep When You’re Dead {live to tell the stories}

I am too wired to sleep. Maybe it’s the chai tea or the six cups of coffee, or the fact that I’m a little hyperbolic at times.

But I’m rather convinced the real reason I can’t sleep is that I’m a writer. I’m a storyteller. I’m an artist. I’m officially a part of this sacred group of elitists, these people who will always be needed no matter which direction society turns.

And I’m a part of this group because I say so.

Have you ever read Anne Lamotte’s Bird by Bird? Well I have and you should, writer or not.  When I finished reading it, I found myself too inspired to do anything but create great lines and plots and scenes in my head, words batting back in forth in my mind like a bright yellow ball in a heated tennis match.

I love to write, not for the hope of one day becoming famous or rich or even published because truthfully that scares the—er— it’s terrifying.

I love to write because of the feeling it produces within me. I’ve taken note and put something on paper. There’s a part of me that will go on existing and a story that has been told.

It’s not enough to tell your story; amplify it, tell it beautifully and proudly.

But it can’t stop there, either. Don’t just allow your story to be loud and amplified, you have to let it reverberate, resound. Let God’s voice echo in the sound waves of your story because he’s the original author. I’m the facilitator of the story he’s writing with my life.

It’s my job to observe, to take it all in, deep breathes and long sighs, and to let it echo throughout history, even if only on the pages of my journal or blog.

Ernest Hemingway and I have a similar work routine:

“I write one page of masterpiece to 91 pages of shit. I try to put the shit in the wastebasket.”

Writing isn’t  about getting your story perfect, it’s about getting your story outside of you and into the world.

I’m learning a lot about writing (thanks to this guy) and the most important lesson is this: writing is a gift.

And  not the kind of gift like the way Michael Jordan is a gifted athlete. But writing, this practice of sitting down everyday and getting the true, honest and innocent and bold thoughts out into the world with the hope of leaving it a little brighter, a little better— that’s the gift.

So I’ll give. I write.