Six LDS Writers and A Frog

Thursday, February 04, 2010

My Love Affair with Writing

by Julie Coulter Bellon

As a wife, mother, teacher, friend, daughter, church member, and writer, I almost always have to squeeze in time for writing because of all the things going on in my life. It's not that I don't love writing, I do, and I want to spend a lot of time with it, but sometimes writing and I have a long-distance relationship because of my schedule.

For example, I was on the Whitney committee this year and have been reading a lot of books recently. (The finalists will be announced tomorrow. I can’t wait to see it!) But while I’ve been reading, reading, reading in the past week alone, my father has come to visit from Canada, I’ve had six basketball games to attend for my children, planned a surprise birthday party for my daughter, the writing muse came back and gave me the first chapter to my work-in progress, I started casting and rehearsing the road show I wrote, while a billion (or at least twelve) BYU students were breathing down my neck to get their portfolios graded. I’m also getting everything ready for my new book, Dangerous Connections, to launch in just over three weeks.

Sometimes my schedule leaves me feeling overwhelmed and wondering if I’ll ever finish my work in progress. But it’s when I’m doing something totally unrelated to writing that the ideas seem to come (and usually someone else is on the computer so I have to go over and over it in my mind so I don’t forget). Lately, I’ve been struggling with a character in my work in progress because she just didn’t seem to have a solid foundation. One day, I was driving down the road fairly early in the morning to drop one of my kids off at school and all of the sudden, there it was. I clearly saw how I was going to start my book out with her, and the first chapter just sort of flowed through my head. I couldn’t wait to rush home and write it. It took me about half an hour (I’m used to writing quickly because of my limited computer time due to my older kids being on it, or my one year old needing me), but that half an hour was definitely the highlight of my day.

For some reason, even with my hectic schedule, writing for a small amount of time grounds me. It fills my bucket, so to speak. I have so many demands because of my job and large family, but my writing is something that de-stresses me, that focuses me, and makes me feel like I am doing something for myself by trying to develop a talent. With my schedule right now I can’t write every day, but I notice a difference on the days I do write.

Even with all that said, there are days when I simply don’t want to write. I know I should, but I don’t. I’m too exhausted, I feel like giving up, or there are just too many things to do and I feel like I can’t justify sitting down at the computer. And sometimes, my mind just feels like there’s nothing up there even worth typing. But even with those days, I know that tomorrow will be better, or that if I can just squeeze in a little tiny bit of writing time today, I would feel better. If I do sit down and at least write a paragraph, I always remember this quote:

“I have forced myself to begin writing when I've been utterly exhausted, when I've felt my soul as thin as a playing card…and somehow the activity of writing changes everything.” - Joyce Carol Oates

Writing can change everything. It can change your mood, your perspective, and how you react to what’s going on around you. I love writing. I love creating something. And even in a very busy time of life, I find writing to be a solace, something that calls to me and has helped me find myself.

Maybe this doesn’t make sense to anyone but me, but I am grateful for writing, even when it’s hard. Writing is my antidote for stress, my ointment for a wounded heart, and my doorway to possibilities. It gives me a sense of fulfillment and is another way for me to share myself and my view of the world. I think it was always meant to be this way for me. And while I don't always make the time for it, I'm glad when I do.


At 2/04/2010 5:33 PM, Blogger L.T. Elliot said...

A timely post for me, Julie. I'm a better human being when I'm writing. I'm a better me, a better mom, a better wife, and a more balanced person.
That quote? Seriously going on my mirror.

At 2/04/2010 6:24 PM, Blogger Laura said...

It makes complete sense to me. Writing does change everything. It's like taking a miniature vacation. It puts your mind in a place that nothing else can.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

At 2/06/2010 2:12 PM, Blogger Traci Hunter Abramson said...

I feel the same way. And I'm always amazed when I sit back and read what I wrote that those words appeared in front of me and actually made sense (at least most of the time they make sense.) :)


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