I published this post in October 2014, back in the early days of my blog. I came across it the other day and realised that it still rang true. So I thought I’d share it again.
As I walked home from school after dropping my daughter off the other morning, I pondered, as I usually do, the latest plot twists in the book I’m writing. Then it struck me that this is what I do now. I thought back to a couple of years ago, before I started writing about Ambeth and all the other stories coming through me and was amazed by how my life has changed.
‘Will I always be like this?’ I thought to myself. ‘Is this it now, or will I look back in a few years time, shaking my head at how obsessed I was, how writing was a compulsion, a daily requirement?’
You know what, I really do think this is it. After forty something years of life, three different continents and a myriad of jobs ranging from martial arts instructor to waitress to casting co-ordinator and photography producer, I think I’ve finally found my groove. My place to stay, my happiness, as they say. Sure, I’ve been writing all my life, just like my bio says, and for the last eleven years or so have been writing for other people. But this is different. This is writing for myself, tapping into the muse and weaving stories to life, words shining silver in the slippery darkness of the pond, fossils emerging from the forest floor. It is discovery and catharsis and creation and desire all rolled into one, a wonderful compulsion to put words on the page, to bring characters to life and tell their stories as they come through me.
So lucky me. I will say this, I have never given up the search for my heart’s desire. Through jobs I’ve hated and tolerated and thought perhaps I liked, through moves across town and state and country lines, I’ve always needed some sort of creative outlet. For a long time it was painting – I’ve sold a few, been exhibited once (just a small show) and several pieces adorn the walls of my own home. There is a peace and joy in painting once I get into the mood, music and brushstrokes a form of meditation. But it is nothing like the fire and excitement I get from writing, the pictures in my mind coming on to the page so much more easily than they did onto the canvas. There are times when I laugh a little and sigh, that my passion is not for some sort of fiendish financial calculation whereby I can make a fortune, but I am rich in so many other ways. Writing has conferred upon me a freedom, a confidence to be myself and express my thoughts, a confidence that grows and brings me back to the true self I came so close to losing some time ago. There is more value in that than in anything else I can think of, for it allows me to love and be free, to care for those around me and appreciate small wonders in the world, seeing them for the story they tell.
I love writing and, even though there are rejections and frustrations to suffer, none of them do anything to change that fact. So I thought I would write a post on how I feel about writing, letting my fingers flow. And so they have, reminding me of why it is that I write now, and why it is that will always be so, as long as I have ideas to dream of.
If you enjoyed this post and want to read more, you can find me on Twitter @AuthorHelenJ, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. Plus my latest book release, A Thousand Rooms, is now available on Amazon.
Love this! I love how you just feel right to write, and how you describe being a conduit for the characters and stories. I totally get it! Fab post 💜.
Thanks so much Fay! Yes, I kind of thought you’d get it 😊 Funny I found this and posted it and saw your post about having a world in your head – being a writer is a wonderful thing, isn’t it?
You are a very special person – and have the gift of writing – painting and combining this with being a wonderful mother and wife.
Thanks, Tamara xx
Write on Helen! You have a natural gift. Isn’t it wonderful when we find our passion. ❤️
Thanks so much, Miriam! And it is the best thing, I’m grateful for it every single day 🙂
A quick break from editing to read this beautiful piece. Thank you! By the way, I totally get where you’re coming from, and I’m glad you still feel the same way. (Me, too!) 🙂
Thanks so much, Louise – glad you still feel the same way too! And thanks for taking a break to come and see me 🙂
That all rings true with me, Helen!
Good to hear, Mick! Thank you 🙂
Beautiful stuff, Helen. And what I needed to hear this week too. Writers are also a blue lot sometimes who tend to focus on the slights and ignore the massives. Thanks for setting me straight…
Thanks, Tara. You’re absolutely right, I think I needed to tell myself the same thing this week too. Glad it helped a little… 🙂
Reblogged this on amo vitam and commented:
A reblog from Helen Jones. What she says here about painting and writing, I could have written myself, word for word (including the “sold a few pieces, been exhibited once, have some on my own walls”). Writing has indeed let me find my passion. I’m still working on finding that daily groove like Helen has, but like her, writing is here to stay with me.
Thanks so much Angelika, both for sharing and your kind comments. Really glad the post resonated with you – this writing bug is quite a tenacious thing, isn’t it? 🙂
It is indeed. I’m the woman of a thousand hobbies – I’ve been into so much creative stuff, but I always got back out of it after a few years, “Been there, done that, got the quilt/silk scarf/bookshelf/painting/whatever.” But writing, it’s different. Aren’t we lucky it’s found us? 🙂
Same! It was like, I knew I wanted to express myself creatively, but wasn’t sure how, so tried loads of things before I realised it had been writing all along 🙂 We are lucky indeed!
Loved this and could relate. I enjoy the flow of your words. Glad you continue to write.
Thanks so much! Glad you could relate. I really do love to write 🙂
“I love writing and, even though there are rejections and frustrations to suffer, none of them do anything to change that fact”.
Such a conclusive statement dear Helen. There is nothing better than responding to an inner call when it carries along so many personal perks!…
Happy writing! 😉 😀
Thanks, Aquileana. That’s exactly it, responding to an inner call. The stories get louder and louder unless I start to tell them 🙂 And I really love to do so. Happy writing to you too! xx
Reblogged this on Sue Vincent's Daily Echo.
Thanks so much for sharing, Sue xx
You are welcome, Helen!
Isn’t it great once you find your passion! I love to write too… It’s my only outlet now that is ‘mine’, where no one else can disturb me! I am no longer mum or Mrs Bhathal, I am free!!!
Yes, it’s the best, isn’t it? I was saying to someone else that it’s like a treat, that moment when you get to sit down with your stories and write them. Editing, not so much… 😀
Lol! Oh to get to the stage where I finish one so I can understand the pain that is editing! My poetry book was a doddle in comparison lol!!!!!
Oh I just find it so tedious! I’m editing at the moment and, well, you can see how focused I am on it as I’m here answering comments instead 😀
Lol!!! I get that impression from all my dear author friends !! 😉
Sounds very familiar Helen; I’ve tried many things, but underlying all the time has been an hyper active imagination. Writing has always been there, but mostly factual in science and education. When I tried fiction there was an instant rush and things flowed as if it was waiting all the time in the background for me to actually start. I rather think a lot of us “late” starters have similar stories there!
Thanks Gary – yes, it’s like the stories are there waiting until we finally sort ourselves out and sit down to write them. I remember that first ‘flow’ as well – it was unstoppable! 🙂
Very true; even though I’ve had a long break from mine I know the characters are still there running scenes and waiting for me to write. I know I have had a routine stumble and need to re-schedule my day to get the time I had back. The think about talking with other people like this is that it helps put that part into perspective and acts as a support mechanism. We are not alone, so to speak 🙂
We definitely are not alone (despite the slight delay in my reply – sorry!) This community is quite wonderful, actually, and I always appreciate the talks I have with people 🙂 And yes, ‘running scenes and waiting for me to write’ – that’s exactly how it is!
No need to apologise, we do have lives outside the blogs, even if half of that is listening to chatacters chunter on in the background! I actually think this community has helped with my confidence in talking about writing too. It can be a very isolating experience at times and people who don’t write don’t really grasp how tricky it is to retain sanity 😱
Oh yes, it’s been a huge help to my confidence (and sanity) too! 🙂 Blogging is one of the best things I’ve done for a lot of reasons.
Same here. I started purely to develop a platform before I looked at publishing. I never imagined the sense of community and friendship I ended up finding. Totally amazing 😊
Yes, absolutely – it’s the best 🙂
I do admire you, writers. It is a gift, one that is not easily learnt though of course the skills can be improved.
Thank you 🙂
Wow! We have a lot in common, I love to write and I also am a semi-professional artist/painter! I always find myself wanting to change and improve on both my writing and paintings and at some point have to remind myself that st some point it just has to be done!!! Haha I loved your post!
Thank you – we do have a lot in common! I’m always tinkering too, and am gradually learning that I have to let things go at some point too 😀 Part of the creative process, I guess…
Great post. I understand your love of writing, because I’m a writer as well. Working on my stories is the best part of my day. 🙂
Thanks, Lisa – yes, it’s like a treat, isn’t it? Getting to sit down with our characters and spend time with them 🙂
I love that no matter what, you pursue your passions! It is a wonderful thing to have a passion, and to share it with others. I hope that the words continue to flow for you!!
Thank you so much – I hope the words keep flowing too, as I feel very fortunate to have found this path 🙂 May it be the same for you too!
Helen, your words sing. I love how you’ve expressed your devotion to finding your path and all roads leading to writing. It’s not all the time that I read something that makes me think, Yes. THIS. But this post was one of those.
Wow, thank you! I’m so pleased the post resonated with you – it was one of those ‘from the heart’ moments I just had to put into words 🙂
“It is discovery and catharsis and creation and desire all rolled into one” Beautifully written and so very true for me as well. You have a gift, Helen, and you use it well. Diane
Thank you so much, Diane – that’s lovely of you to say 🙂