Almost 7 years ago, my father looked at me and said, “I’ll pay your bills and give you a monthly allowance while you live with me for a year so that you can write a book.” It was the most gracious gift I’ve ever received.
It would be easy to say that it was my dad’s generosity that launched my life as a writer, but that would not be true. I launched my life as a writer, and it happened many, many years before that when I made a commitment to writing as my truest way of being in the world.
There wasn’t a specific moment when that happened – no memory of standing on a pier by big water and dedicated myself to a life of worlds. Rather, it was gradual, an accrual of experiences and encouragements and self-awareness that came over time.
All of these moments and many more combined to be the puzzle of my own writing life. But it was that gift from my dad, the one that came with an obligation to him, the one for which I was accountable, it was that heavy, wonderful gift that drove it all home. No longer could I write this off as a side thing, no longer could I pretend it was a hobby that I would reach for years later when I miraculously had the time. No, now I had nothing but time, and I had no more excuses.
It was there in that year that became almost two with my dad that I learned three key things about living a writing life:
These three insights combined with a lifetime of loving words, the gentle encouragement that outweighed the discouragement that came in droves, and the simple fact that writing is the most fundamental way I make sense of and find truth in the world – these things are what got me started in the writing life, and they are, still, the things that keep me going.
Writer, my hope is that you believe in yourself enough to take the gifts of encouragement, time, and support that come your way from others or from yourself and weave them into the words you have living in you. Oh, I so hope that for you.
Love Letters to Writers: Encouragement, Accountability, and Truth-Telling is available from Amazon Australia here, and Amazon.com here, or try your favourite retailer.
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