I am a Writer: Making My Statement to a Windy Hallway and a Cold Dismissal

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Yesterday, I joined Jeff Goins’ 15-Day Writing Challenge: Mastering the Habits of Great Writers. Today’s challenge is on The Declaration Every Great Writer Makes.

I don’t struggle with calling myself a writer. I took the leap into this identity as writer–standing in that simple, yet audacious statement–in 1999. Even though I thought this was my story for today–how I came to make the leap–I’ll have to tell you about that another day. Because I do know I am a writer.

Jeff’s question took me to a different, deep place today. A naked writer place.

It reminded me of a cold statement in a windy hallway about 15 years ago. So, it is to that statement that I am making my declaration today.

It was the day my dream—this dream of being a writer who writes actual books—was dismissed. Laughed at.

I was in my twenties and I hadn’t yet “proved” myself to the world. I only had dreams. Hints of where I sensed God was calling me to. Hints of where I wanted to move towards … There were echoes in my spirit. A Big Hope I was clinging to.

I felt the calling to writing; to books.

That day, as we walked towards the elevator, I remember saying to my parents: “I’m going to write a book.”

I don’t remember how it came up or why I said it, but I did.

My dad, upon hearing what I said, laughed. Then he shook his head and said: “Dreams, dreams … ”

The dream, like a feather that I had held out to them, so tender and vulnerable, got laughed at. Dismissed.

We walked to the elevator and pressed the button to go to the ground floor. I remember standing in that small, tight space, my dream lying at my feet like a thick wet towel, as we dropped to the earth.

It wasn’t anything new—this dismissal. But the words, with that snicker, felt particularly harsh and heavy.

Now I know my will became iron that day. I had to pull my words up off the floor, lifting up the full weight of my dream, refusing to let it lie trampled and dismissed on that floor.

But I haven’t quite written a book yet. I have helped others write a book. I have co-authored a book.

I have a draft of a book on my computer. I have folders and gazillions of files.

Every day I encourage, draw out and cheer on female writers here.

But I haven’t written a book.

So, my declaration today is not to my identity as writer, but to that snicker in a cold brick hallway.

Today I declare to that young girl in her platform shoes and her big dreams: You’re going to be ok. The dream isn’t dead. You can do it. That book is still in you.

I believe …

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I’d love to hear:

  • How can you relate?
  • Have your dreams ever been squashed?
  • How did you respond?
  • Which part of you or your story needs a declaration today? I’d love to hold your hand as we stand here together.

Crazy as it may sound, I still believe … 

______________________________

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  • http://Danielaschwartz.com Daniela

    I love your written voice and believe there is so much in your future. Thank you for being such an amazing friend and fellow writer. xo

    • http://Danielaschwartz.com Daniela

      Ps I love your piece!!!

    • idelette

      Thank you my friend … So thankful we are doing this together. Thanks for leaping with me!

  • Sherry Naron

    Idelette! Wow, I can relate. My mother dismissed my dream over 14 years ago and I can still feel the pain of it. She’s a kind woman, but she thought I was young and just making a statement that was “in the moment.” After dismissing it, she then took it upon herself to find and pick it apart piece by piece. But I hung on to it tightly, like a mother hen – determined.

    Then, recently, I again was told by a “well-meaning” pastor friend that maybe it was time to let this dream go since it hadn’t happened yet. He was in essence trying to help, but making statements based on how God worked in HIS life, with HIS dream, instead of mine. I had great respect for this person, so I considered it, but reminded myself that God didn’t give me these passions/dreams/experiences for nothing and that each person is different. I believe the way God works in each person’s life is beautifully designed just for them. So I can listen to trusted advisors, but I have to know what God is telling me personally and make decisions based on that. So through my tears and moments of feeling misunderstood by friends who thought I was crazy, I still picked up the dream that took a beating like a punching bag and held on to it tightly.

    MOST recently I was handed my dream, or at least the idea that it was going to happen, only to have it taken away before anything could be done. I was tired of fighting for it, disappointed, and not understanding decisions that were made. I felt defeated and ready to give up. But I still have this burning passion deep within me that this work is for me. Maybe it’s supposed to come down another avenue, so I pick it up again and hold it deep within, trusting that God’s timing is perfect, even when I do not understand.

    So yes, we pick our somewhat “destroyed” dreams off the floor, but I think picking them up makes us more determined. I know it does for me. I’m still trying to figure out the “how,” but every day takes me one step closer! Dreams that God rooted down deep within us are not meant to be let go of.

    When you have time – watch this! Fast forward through the music to about 25:50 and enjoy. http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/1656376

    You can do it! I’ll be the first one to purchase your book – I love to hear what you have to say!

    • idelette

      Sherry–thank you! Thank you for sharing some of your story … I agree with you. These kinds of moments do make us more tenacious and determined.

      I love what you said: “But I hung on to it tightly, like a mother hen – determined.”

      A mother hen to your dream … I love that visual. Keeping it close and guarding it until the moment the chick is ready to be released to the world.

      “Dreams that God rooted down deep within us are not meant to be let go of.” So true … Another great visual–those roots going deep.

      It blessed me so much to see your comment here. Thank you for sharing, Sherry. I am bummed that we didn’t get to be in Burundi (and with Kelley) at the same time this year. I hope it’s in our future–sooner rather than later.

  • idelette

    Sherry–thank you! Thank you for sharing some of your story … I agree with you. These kinds of moments do make us more tenacious and determined.

    I love what you said: “But I hung on to it tightly, like a mother hen – determined.”

    A mother hen to your dream … I love that visual. Keeping it close and guarding it until the moment the chick is ready to be released to the world.

    “Dreams that God rooted down deep within us are not meant to be let go of.” So true … Another great visual–those roots going deep.

    It blessed me so much to see your comment here. Thank you for sharing, Sherry. I am bummed that we didn’t get to be in Burundi (and with Kelley) at the same time this year. I hope it’s in our future–sooner rather than later.

  • Tina/ @teenbug

    Idli,

    You have at least three books in you my friend!!!

    I believe.

    P.S. I think I have one book in me too.

    • idelette

      You bet your wedding sari you have a book in you … or two-three-YES!

  • http://justineh.blogspot.com Justine

    I’ll be in line to buy your book too! Idelette, you are definitely an Author who will give birth to that book one day soon. But I think one of your gifts that can be even more amazing at times is that you are an Encourager, Mobilizer, and Coach to other writers. Your drop in the ocean creates a huge ripple effect! And for that, I’m thankful…

  • http://sarahupdate.wordpress.com Sarah

    You know what I love most about your writing? It’s the difference that appears between the physical Idelette and the writer Idelette. Your passion, your conviction, and your wisdom powerfully shine through your words. You definitely have a few masterpiece books inside of you!

  • http://www.fakeleft.com stephanie

    Wow. I got goosebumps reading this and some of the other participants’ declarations. So beautiful! “I bellieve.” I love that because I find myself saying that about so many dreams in my life…”I believe.” And that seems to be a good starting place. I can’t tell you how much I admire that you are joining in this 15 day writing challenge. I can’t get myself to do it. Haha. No matter how inspired I’ve been feeling.

    As for my story…I think I began declaring that I was a writer sometime last year, after I began contributing for She Loves. I figured…well, this is what I do. I write. I take photographs and I write. I seem to spend a lot of time doing those two things, so I guess that’s what I’ll tell people when they ask. So, that doesn’t seem hard to declare anymore. However, what does seem hard to declare and believe is that:

    1. I’m a good writer
    2. What I write is worth reading

    Gotta work on those two. I think what’s most important is that I keep writing. practicing. reading. searching for words. finding the details.

    Anyway, I’m really excited for you. I’ll keep visiting this space! xoxo.

  • http://ubuntina.wordpress.com neritia

    You my friend….have many books in you + you forget….you’ve co-authored a book…a magnificent one too!
    I’m glad you did leave your dream in the elevator!

    Thanks for calling me out….xoxo

  • ellie hagey

    So interesting to read this. Just this week I remembered the time you spent in our remodled basement working on a book. I thought to myself “whatever became of that book?” Looks like time for a resurrection. I love you dear friend, I believe in you.

  • http://freedombeautytruth.blogspot.com/ lyn

    Idelette, love your heartfelt writing, as always…and identify SO much!

    I started writing stories when I was 8 years old, and poems in my teens…but only saw this as something of a ‘calling’ in my 20s, when I realised I could possibly encourage and contribute in this way.

    I often struggle with the idea that this is all very self-indulgent though, and anyway how do I know if I will ever be ‘good enough’ to publish a book/s…so I studied political science, communications and peace studies – all in the hope of contributing and changing the world some day..

    In the process, I became so busy and exhausted that I lost my habit of writing almost daily, lost my ability to even write, it seems…lost my voice, lost my way…couldn’t see how to contribute through these other avenues anyway…

    And then recently I realised (again) that I CAN contribute through what I love doing best- writing…so I keep resurrecting the dream (it keeps being squashed) and holding onto it- even if in secret, for now..

    I have taken baby steps to rekindle my passion and ‘voice’ – started a blog writing about our return to South Africa, community and other issues I feel passionately about. This is just to keep writing for now though- what I actually want to write about is more imaginative than this – I have a few ideas for totally different sorts of books in me…but for now I am not brave enough to start on them…

    Baby steps. I am totally absorbed with my gorgeous 3 mth old baby girl now anyway…but will get there…eventually, little by little, I hope!

    Keep writing, your voice is like the beautiful, colourful rainbow promise of the possibility of new life and opportunities…

    Thanks!