Start By Putting The Kids To Bed

Re-invention? It was more a baptism by fire – as I embarked into a new life in 1996 as a recently divorced mother of three daughters, the youngest just weeks old.

The road to re-invention began for me with self-assessment — not the flowery kind where one notes all of the positives and makes excuses for those less-flattering attributes. I am speaking of the mind-freezing, queasy stomach, “this is who I really am” assessment. After I overcame the shock of the reflection in the mirror, the road became smoother. Reflection also led to revelation: I became aware of talents and desires that had been as suppressed as had my most traumatic experiences. I realized that bringing these desires to the surface required concrete actions comparable to healing from trauma. I had to choose either to respond to their call or take out the shovel and bury them deep enough so I could not hear them if they yelled my name at midnight.

During this time, a friend called and confirmed my discovery simply by stating; “This morning in prayer, God sent a message through me for you…He says you should write.” That night after putting my children to bed, I sat down at the computer and began writing what was to become my first novel, Reaching Back.

Writing Tidbit #1: You will never finish the novel that you don’t start!

Every day, I came home from school, and every day, my mother asked me the age-old question …now say it with me…”How was your day at school?” As a teen, I often made up the story of my day, entertaining myself, and hopefully my mother as well. But one day, waiting for me to end my story, she asked, “Okay, now do you want to tell me the truth?” Exasperated, I responded, “I was telling you the truth, I was just spicing it up to make it interesting.” And then without missing a beat, she laughed and said, “Honey, a novel is the truth with a little spice that was just a lie….if you want to give me a story with some spice… write me a book!”

Tidbit #2: Develop a routine and follow it. Be as committed to your dream as you are to your personal grooming.

I bet you wouldn’t let a day or two pass without bathing or brushing your teeth. Typically it is 11 PM. before I start to write – long after the children are asleep. And yes, I have to get up in the morning with them. But like showering, writing in the night is part of my daily routine. It continues as my eldest prepares to leave for her third year of college and the two left behind are now in middle and high school.

Plagued by self-doubt

You would think after writing a book and getting it published, I would be convinced I’m a writer. No way! I sabotage each accolade by demeaning my success; outwardly, I celebrated whenever it was brought to my attention that I had written a bestseller. Was I being humble? No…more like scared to death. Could I repeat my first effort? Did I only have one book in me? Plagued by self-doubt, I decided to get help from my most reliable source….books. Instead of writing, I immersed myself into books that were encouraging, uplifting, giving me a new perspective.

A door had been unlocked and my imagination soared, so here we are at Tidbit # 3: In the midst of self-doubt seek affirmations that will help you see obstacles as opportunities.

By the time I wrote my second book, ReBorn, it was more than just a word, it was my life experience, and my children had also learned a tremendous lesson in personal growth and commitment. They had watched my journey and taken note; we paused to celebrate the successes, and prayed together through the storms. We had woven together the fabric of hope, faith, trust and love to build a solid family. We understood the dynamics and the diligence of fulfilling a dream.

The lesson I learned from reading was that I did not have to sacrifice motherhood, parenting, nurturing and supporting my family to realize my dreams. I was so moved and impressed by the insight of both fiction and non-fiction authors who are able to enlighten and encourage by their words, stories and experiences that I would like to introduce you to them. So, as I write this monthly column, I will focus on the books that support moving into your dreams….digging into yourself and realizing your greatness…Books that force you into action. I hope you will join me on this journey and share the books that are influencing your life….How are you being re-invented? Do tell……