Have you ever wondered what you should do with your life? Have you ever felt incomplete, like there’s part of you that’s dormant, that needs to be awakened?
That’s how I felt after my second manic episode, while the after-effects of depression were still lingering. My therapist at the time challenged me to write for 15 minutes every day. She knew I loved to write, and she knew I was a writer before I knew. She called me to embrace my writing and call myself a writer. She saw glimpses of a gift and stirrings of a passion to create and called me to bravely walk into that gift and passion with more intentionality.
On April 6, 2012, I opened a document on my computer and wrote for 15 minutes. I did the same thing the next day. And the next. For the next three years I wrote most days for at least 15 minutes and I still pull from that document’s content today for some of my essays. In 2015, I applied for an MFA in creative writing program because I had never taken any writing classes. Days after my 40th birthday, I was accepted into that program and started that August. I soon began professional writing as a freelance copywriter and continue that work today. I also write about faith (even though I’ve tried multiple times to NOT write about faith). I’m working on a manuscript about loneliness that I hope will become a real book one day. And I’m launching a podcast about loneliness because I’m fascinated by the subject and there’s no way to fit everything in the book.
I love books and words and stories. These are things that helped me recover from the effects of bipolar disorder. These are the things that keep me sane(ish?) today.
I believe we are drawn to stories because stories can be a balm for our afflictions. When we engage stories through reading, writing, and other creative pursuits, 1) We become more of who we were designed to be, 2) We develop more empathy for others, 3) We see the world around us with more clarity, and 4) We are able to connect with others in meaningful ways.
Stories are at the heart of everything I do. When I write creatively, I use stories to explore ideas and questions and to know and be known. When I write professionally, I use stories to help businesses and brands share their messages. When I write about faith and loneliness, I engage my stories and others’ stories to gain more understanding about God, who He is, and who I am as His child. And, one day, when I practice spiritual direction, I will help my clients unearth and give attention to the stories of their souls so they can know God more intimately and who they are as His children.