I first developed my love for writing on my international hunger relief trips. I wrote because I wanted the people who supported our work to be a part of the story. Mostly, my stories were about people I met along the way who inspired me because I wanted my friends in the U.S. to meet my new friends around the world. You can read about some of them in my book, Hunger Bites: Bite Size Stories of Inspiration.
My writing style developed because I didn’t want to write boring reports. Stories of grouchy little old Nicaraguan ladies or village leaders in Africa named Two-Feet resonated more fully.
I also needed to move away from being a religious version of Ask Abby. Spending twenty years writing and delivering sermons, my tendency was to, well, sermonize. Most sermons are put into 3-Points-A-Poem-And-A-Prayer and are laced pretty heavy with should-have’s and ought-to’s. There is a reason preachers sounds like preachers; because they’re taught to preach. I needed to learn how to write without preaching. My narratives provided a new platform.
However, as my workload at the job I actually do for a living increased, I wrote more infrequently. I would write with a flourish whenever I was inspired then fall back into not writing when I wasn’t inspired.
Then I learned the most valuable lesson about writing I’ve ever learned: don’t wait until your inspired to start writing; just start writing.
For example, I began this piece at the worst possible time for me to write; 9:30 in the evening. I discover words better at 5 in the morning, but I didn’t write at 5 AM that morning because I let a long day of work and a cold rain beating on the window of my dark, warm room keep hitting the snooze button.
But I promised myself that I would write every day. So, I opened my computer with absolutely zero inspiration. But I had one hundred percent dedication.
Dedication will beat inspiration six games out of seven.
Why I no longer wait until I’m inspired to write before I start writing:
- Writing is a discipline
- Writing is like work- you show up rain or shine
- I am surprised that I really do have something to write about
- It helps me to collect and organize a gazillion disconnected thoughts in a logical fashion
So if you’ve ever wanted to write, then grab the pen and paper, or computer, and just start writing. You never know what surprises your writing muse waits to spring on you.