Welcome to Seekerville, Curtiss Ann!
Thank you, Cara Lynn, for inviting me to blog on Seekerville. You’ve given me a chance to dig down and find out more about myself as a writer. I read a great quote today by historian David McCullough: “Writing is thinking. To write well is to think clearly. That's why it's so hard."
My mind opened up. So that’s why writing is such a difficult endeavor for me! But the growth is in the trying.
Nearly two years ago, when I finished the writing of the final book of my Valentine series, LITTLE TOWN, GREAT BIG LIFE, I said, “That’s it. I’m worn out. I’m done with writing for a while.”
To myself, I said, “Forever.” I had written book after book for twenty-five years. Burn out, is the term, and I also believed God had other avenues for me. This has proven true in wider ways than I could have imagined. In the past two years my husband and I threw ourselves into a dramatic lifestyle change, when we moved our solitary, two-person household from Oklahoma, where we had lived for thirty years, to Alabama, where we have family coming and going, are renovating a house, gardening, and actively grand-parenting.
It was during the upheaval of all these changes that I made a surprising personal discovery: I am a writer. It is part and parcel of who I am, who God made me to be.
This may sound a curious statement on my part, considering all the writing I did for all those years. But then I did not feel like a writer. That is because feeling so never makes anyone anything, but, in my case, it was mostly because I was too busy aiming at polishing craft and more publication and spots on the bestseller lists. Always striving, I was distracted by the ego and all of its misconceptions, fears, pretenses, and self-doubt, not to mention making a living.
I don’t mean that I was not being a writer during all that time. Every day when writing, I would eventually, and without fail, drop down the creative well and be thoroughly absorbed by my writer self. But I was not consciously aware that this trait was the trait of a writer.
I did not understand that writing is one thing, being a writer is something else.
Every human has something important to say and the inborn impulse to express it in words and pictures. Look at cave walls, Twitter and Facebook for confirmation of this. All of us are given to writing, if not skills.
Being a writer, though, is a way of processing life through writing. Being a writer is a personality trait, a way of operating in the world, and, I think, a way of seeing the world. When one is a writer, one sees details. And one is writing all the time, not only at the keyboard or with pen and paper. One of my favorite places to write is on the tablet of my mind during driving trips. I look at the land, and houses, read signs, and have all manner of musings and enlightenments.
In the midst of the past year’s upheaval and change, when I was not pressing myself to write, I discovered that I kept on writing. I journalled, began a new novel, wrote to friends and enjoyed blogging, putting into words my experiences of change, within and without, about the move, grand-parenting, the new house-- about life, which is what I have written about in novels all these years.
So it was that during this time I awakened to the fact that I am a writer to the bone. As has been said--this is my gift from God, and what I do with this gift is mine back to Him. I’d like to share with you five things I endeavor to practice each day, as a way of making the most of what I’m given:
- Commit to a seriousness of purpose.
- Commitment to the long haul. I’m in this for life.
- Study craft and creativity daily.
- Learn to listen to the still small voice, the Writer within
- Trust the process.
Curtiss Ann's Bio
Curtiss Ann Matlock is a writer and tea-drinking girl raised in the South. She is the author of thirty-eight novels, including the tender and funny Valentine series. The two most recent of these are LITTLE TOWN, GREAT BIG LIFE, and CHIN UP, HONEY. Her books have earned rave reviews, spots on the USA TODAY bestseller list and numerous awards, three RITA Finalists among them. Born in North Carolina, she lived thirty years in Oklahoma and now resides with her family near Mobile, Alabama. You can find out more about her at CurtissAnnMatlock.com.
Today Curtiss Ann is giving away one copy of LITTLE TOWN, GREAT BIG LIFE to one Seekerville commenter. Winner announced in the Weekend Edition!