Aside

What Is My Story?

It’s been a while since my last post. It’s not that I haven’t been thinking about blogging, in fact I guiltily think about it every time I pass by my computer. Writing is something that I have always enjoyed. Writing helps me most when I am struggling and need clarity on stresses in my life. Most people who know me, understand that writing a book is my life’s goal. It frightens me then, that I seem to be having difficulty coming up with topics to blog about. Isn’t a writer supposed to have numerous ideas from which to draw upon? Shouldn’t a writer have a lot to say? Can a person really call herself a writer if she is constantly wracking her brain for material to put into words? Or is this the consummate job of a writer…to always be on the look out for new schema? A well-known children’s author once gave me sound advice when I asked how she came up with new material for books after being published. She said “Just tell your stories.” At the time, her advice made sense and seemed like an obvious task. This past year I have been reading voraciously in the genre that I would like to write(YA Fiction). Sounds really sappy, but I usually gauge a book on its ability to make me cry. If the book passes this test, I am often left feeling even more inspired to write so that I, too, can have that same affect on readers. For me there is no better escape than reading about characters who need to be strong despite the turmoil and strife in their lives. If the subject matter is appropriate, I then pass on a book recommendation to my students. My students know it is my desire to write and they are constantly asking me how my book is coming along. It seems with every passing month, there is another reason why that book eludes me. I often say that time is my greatest obstacle, yet deep down I know that’s just an excuse. There’s always room to carve out time in a person’s life, especially for something you enjoy. Time is not the reason that novel remains unwritten.

Write about what you know is often another piece of advice suggested to aspiring writers. It’s what I myself tell students when they appear stuck and don’t know what to write about. I prompt them to think about topics that are meaningful and close to them. This year my students gave me that same advice. When I explain that the things I know most about are kids and teaching, they tell me to write about just that. I argue, who would want to read about students and teachers?, and of course they all profess that they do. (Kids are always so good for the soul).

I would like to call myself a writer. I think of myself as a writer. My students tell me I am a writer. Yet here I sit, searching for an idea so that I can “tell my story.” Doesn’t that seem like a paradox? A writer with no story? One of my first posts references the fact that I feel like a hypocrite when my students write and I do not. Are there more of you out there struggling with this very same thing? How can I feel so connected to the written words hidden in the pages of a good book, yet  be incapable of finding my own topic worthy of writing about? In summary, while I know that the process of writing is no easy chore, my biggest obstacle is not the task of writing. Nor is it time. The biggest challenge that I face in this process is finding that idea. What is my story?

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