Inspiration from my Son

I love writing. When I was little I wrote stories, like many kids do. When I was older I dabbled in fan fiction. As a young adult in college I learned how to write arguments and connect theories from academia with the practicalities of my life and events around me. I loved that moment in writing when I realized what I was trying to say, when the act writing is what got me to the truth of the matter. Sometimes it took me quite a few pages to get to this point, but I always experienced a brief euphoria when I got there.

After having my two children and focusing more on my writing instruction as a teacher, I have delved  into the world of writing more deeply. I wrote a post-a-day on this blog for a year, and continued to aim for weekly posts when I returned to work. I wrote my first book: a guide to make-ahead meals. I’m working on two other books; one that I think is going to be closest to memoir and the other that is more along the lines of another practical guide. I also have started writing more posts about creating balance between family, work, and personal fulfillment as the voice of my Create Balance consulting business. Through these writings I still get a bit of “writer’s high” when the act of writing helps me figure out something important about life in general.

Lately I’ve seen LP, now almost 6 and a thriving kindergartener, engage in writing. He has P1060782started writing stories in school where he is given pages with pictures to color in, or where he writes captions. One weekend he wrote “A Ps Day” all about a letter “P” who played, bounced, ate, and slept through the day. For two weeks he was slowly but steadily working on a book for me during free-play at school. He made a point to tell me which days he had got to work on it since it was dependent on the stencils being out and available. I’m watching has he is learning new sight-words, spelling rules, grammar rules, and also stretching his creative mind to develop characters, settings, and more. Most importantly I’m watching him thrive on the creative energy of crafting a story and writing.

Watching my kids grow and learn is always exciting, rewarding, and sweet. Nothing can really describe the feeling of pure joy when my son showed me the book he wrote for me and then settling down to read it with me, snuggled up on the couch. As a parent I’ve come to expect that this type of magic will appear in unlikely times and places, and often when I need it most (such as right after this same lovely son had been whining and crying because we wouldn’t let him bang a hole in the wall with a large stick). What surprised me was how much my son has inspired me as a writer. As he told me about plugging away at his book project, page by page, whenever he could during free time, I admired his tenacity and then took a hard look at my writing. I was doing well with posting blogs and writing short pieces, but I was not working on my book projects as much as much as I wanted to. I realized that, as with many people, there as an element of fear that was keeping me back. If I write a blog post that isn’t very good, or that people don’t comment on, it’s one post of out of many. If I write a book that people don’t like, or worse, that I end up not liking, it feels worse, like maybe my time was wasted, or that it proves I somehow don’t have it in me to really write.

But my son doesn’t have that fear. He is writing for the pure joy of creating, and then sharing his creation with me.

The whole family writes together!

That is the energy I’m going to capture. That is the inspiration my son has given me and the lesson he is taught me once again. Don’t worry about the fear. Find the joy, the excitement, and the fun in the process. The process is where the happiness lies, no matter how the product ends up.

So I will immerse myself in the writing process as much as possible, even if that means grabbing moments here and there, much as my son had to wait for free-play days with stencils. We are both writers he and I. We are both creators. And I’m glad he reminded me of the joy in that simple fact.

Now if only I can write a narrative with the same epic qualities of “A P’s Day” I’ll be all set. 🙂

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