I recently marked my five year anniversary in the Colorado mountains--quietly. No parties or evenings on the town. Not even a Facebook post (that summer hiatus seems to be ongoing!). But I definitely took note of the way it felt. Rather than feeling momentous it simply felt right.
In five years, I've become a new person, doing things I didn't know I could do: I became a mountain biker, a downhill skier and when I feel like it, a rock climber; I wrote and published adventure stories, essays about life in the mountains, and got to tell some really cool stories about other people; I discovered that I had a novel in me and became a writing coach.
Seven years ago I took the steps that enabled me to move here: I started grad school and found the courage to write my story. I didn't know I wanted to move to Colorado and I thought mountain bikers were crazy. I acted on the knowledge that I could no longer ignore the pull to write. I was surprised when I started to write about my life--including those closest to me. My ex-husband, my mom, my dad, my friends.
The draw to write created an internal wrestling match. I sensed that I needed to do it (I would be unable to write anything else until I got it out of my system) but also resisted it:
- What if I made people feel bad?
- Why do it? What purpose did it serve?
- Would I ever publish what I was writing?
- If not, what was the point? If so, what on earth would people think?
Perhaps you've had (or are in the middle of) a similar struggle. The back and forth is natural. It means you care about your loved ones and doing the right thing. But.
What if writing your story wasn't about publishing or writing for an audience? What if writing your story was the key to living in color?
I've been listening to Elizabeth Gilbert's podcast, Big Magic. She coaches artists through their fears and back to their art. One woman caught my attention. She longs to be a writer, but she's stuck in a dry, boring job at a call center. Elizabeth helped her get started on writing a short story... Lo and behold, when this writer got started, she found herself writing about her mother!
She chose to go with it--and here's the part that really struck me--because writing helps her live in color. Without writing, the world consists of black and white and shades of grey.
In a single sentence, this writer summed up why I write and why I help writers tell their own stories (even when that means writing about their most personal relationships, like a mother daughter relationship). It's the key to freedom. It's the key to possibility. It's the key to a life lived in color.
Next week, I'll be sharing a free resource for writers contemplating the pros and cons of telling a personal story (especially if your story involves a mother or daughter relationship or some other close person in your life). But for now I want to hear from you:
- If you found the courage to write your story, how would it help you live your life in color?
Just hit reply and let me know. I've heard from several of you writing (or contemplating writing) about your mothers. Anyone drawn to write about a daughter?
And if you're ready to write your story but aren't quite sure how to move through the fear, let's talk.
This week, I've set aside time to talk one-on-one with you. I want to know why you want to write your personal story and why you hesitate so I can help you find the freedom and courage to move forward.
Feeling brave. Mustering courage. Yes, I'll talk to Alissa.
I'm not limiting the number of calls. They're simply available until I can't take anymore--the only catch is that I need to hear from you by the end of this week. So if this appeals to you, please let me know! Especially if you feel like you're facing a choice: figure out how to write your story or simply stop writing.
PS Feel free to spread the word... Let's share the love.