Write On!


I once had the opportunity to meet Maya Angelou at a book signing during college. It didn’t work out that way though because Dr. Angelou became ill and was unable to make it at literally the very last minute – like I was waiting in line for her when they announced that she wasn’t going to be coming. She graciously offered to autograph our books anyway though, if we just sent them to her in the mail.

So I wrote her a little note about how I wanted to be a writer as well, and now I have a copy of All God’s Children Need Traveling Shoes with a beautifully penned note in the front that says, “Joy! And write on!”

And now, almost exactly 14 years later, I have done nothing significant with my would-be writing career, and truth be told, I haven’t even cracked open the book she signed for me.

S-L-A-C-K-E-R.

Lest you think I am completely illiterate, I WAS reading a different Maya Angelou book today, and I found something that really stood out to me that I thought I’d share. She was talking about how she had kind of become an “acting agnostic… not that I had stopped believing in God,” she said. “It’s just that God didn’t seem to be around the neighborhoods I frequented.” Then one day she was introduced to the book, Lessons in Truth, and she had been asked to read a sentence from it aloud several times. The sentence was, “God loves me.”

 “After about the seventh repetition, I began to sense that there might be truth in the statement, that there was a possibility that God really did love me. Me, Maya Angelou. I suddenly began to cry at the grandness of it all. I knew that if God loved me, then I could do wonderful things, I could try great things, learn anything, achieve anything. For what could stand against me with God, since one person, any person with God, constitutes the majority?” (Maya Angelou, Wouldn’t Take Nothing for My Journey Now, p.75)

Lately, my mind has been swirling with the many directions my life could take right now. The lack of focus has been almost debilitating. And the main question is, will I choose to take the difficult path of the unknown, or will I settle for mediocrity and continue with the easier but unfulfilling and un-amazing route of the familiar?

It seems like the answer should be pretty easy. Of course I should take the higher road. Of course settling for mediocrity is not the answer.

But I’m telling you it is WAY easier said than done. The reality is that the familiarity of my current mediocrity (which I am quite comfortable, if unsatisfied, with) stares me in the face every time I walk down the hallway strewn with toys, unread library books, and shoes kicked off just a few feet from where they should be put away.  And that’s just the hallway, nevermind venturing out into the rest of the house.  It seems overwhelming sometimes.

Maybe what I need to do (and what we all need to do, I’m guessing, if we are trying to be live more amazing and purposeful lives) is remind ourselves every single day that God loves us. That we are amazing creatures with talents, skills, and abilities that God (or the Universe) gave to us to use. We CAN try great things and achieve anything. But the only thing we will achieve if we are content to settle for mediocrity is mediocrity. (Yes, I have a gift for stating the obvious.)

So. In an attempt to be more amazing myself and actually work toward my would-be writing career, I commit to write a short article within the next 30 days and submit it for publication. Somewhere.

Now tell me, what are you going to do to be more amazing?  Or what I should say is, what are you going to do to tap into the amazingness that is just waiting there inside you?

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9 Responses to Write On!

  1. melanie says:

    Wowza. I too, slack. I’m right there with you in the “mind swirling” paragraph. (I almost feel like I’m “up on the moon”. Ha! 😉 For me, my answer runs deep, although it’s likely going to sound cliche. But I will commit to start working out regularly and that regularity will include running. For me, although I do want to look better, it runs much deeper than that and so I commit.

  2. Laurie Chamberlain says:

    Well put! I read this and thought it could have been about me (switching out the writing part). I’m going to look forward to you letting us know how the article goes.
    I thinking it’s going to take more for me to make my leap, but I want to get serious about trying to get into law school. Not just saying I want to do it, but actually try to study for the LSAT. It’s going to take longer than 30 days, but I think I can commit to try to get past being comfortable with mediocrity and embrace the unknown. Thank you for the inspiration!

    • Awesome, Laurie. I know it will take longer than 30 days, but I also think that having a deadline helps you to just get started. So what COULD you do in 30 days? Study one section of the LSAT prep book? Find out when the next LSAT test is and all the logistics surrounding taking it? Maybe just check in with your intuition (or God) to see if this is really the path you are supposed to be on? Whatever it is, I think you’ll have more luck getting to your goal if you pick something small and measurable that you could check in with in 30 days. Good luck! I’m excited to see where this takes you.

  3. cornabys says:

    http://www.deseretconnect.com – Go get signed up there as a good starting place. 🙂 You can suggest articles to go on ksl.com or in the Deseret News or you can sign up to take on articles that the editors are asking for. You certainly have the talent and they work really well on a mommy’s schedule. They only pay for articles that they put in the print version, but getting your name and your writing out there is excellent no matter where it goes. They’re working on a system where other papers will eventually be able to dive into this pool so that articles you write may end up in papers anywhere in the US and bigger paychecks. It’s fun.

    Jana

  4. cornabys says:

    Also Bryan Brown, who is my husband now, says to tell you HI. And he seconds that you should get writing again. 🙂

  5. KCA says:

    30 days, huh? Maybe I’ll make an attempt at getting my house clean. That would make me spectacular! Or at least a little more amazing. But it’s one of my very worst things.

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