Writing from the Heart

People say I should write about my autistic children, and I have to some extent in my best of year book, Seasons of the Soul. However, there are stories I keep in my heart about them, especially my youngest high-functioning, verbal son.

I could write a book about the days and nights my husband and I sat on pins and needles not knowing what his behavior would be like. Praise God! He is better and now lives in a group home. We see him twice a week. All is well but I cannot tell you how difficult it is for a mother with a special-needs child to let them go. To tell you the truth, just writing about it here is heartbreaking.

So, when others tell you to write about certain topics, don’t do it if it is not in your heart. I knew if I shared our story (which could help others) opened up our family to the public, and the publicity could hurt my disabled son.

Recently, I heard about an author who wrote teen novels but her heart was not in her work. She now is entering a new genre – one she is comfortable with in pursuing.

Many years ago I heard this man on the radio. He would advise listeners on business and recommended to callers to not choose a profession based on the money you could earn but, instead, go with your passion. If your love is writing, then write or whatever else interests you. Of course, there are times you need that paycheck but do not forgo your passion.

Author Stephen King was a teacher and pursued his writing in his downtime. He started with short stories before his novels were published, and he became a household word. Nothing comes overnight.

I laugh when I think about my first book. I was so excited and thought everyone in my community would line up around the block for my book signing. I had a good turnout, but it never matched my expectations.

You have to work for what you get. No one is going to give you anything. I just wish some young people would realize that. Anything done well takes time.

Coming from a journalism background, I had to learn the technique of writing fiction. Think about it. A journalist reports what happens. He does not include emotional reactions, such as her heart raced as she climbed the dark-narrow stairs. A reporter only reports what he sees and hears.

So learning how to write fiction was like going from night and day – two totally different arts. But my education has not stopped, I continue to hone my craft each day. You need to persevere.

But you also need to be realistic. If you are writing poetry, the odds of becoming a poet laureate are not good. However, what you can become is a poet who reaches someone’s soul or uplifts them. My one sister-in-law writes and makes her own birthday cards. Each line of poetry rhymes, but what is amazing is how she captures that relative’s personality. We look forward to these cards and they warm our hearts. Remember not all value is monetary. Sometimes it inspires others, provides comfort and helps ease their pains. This is what my books, Seasons of the Soul, and Lockets and Lanterns, have done, according to people who purchased my books.

In closing, remember to write what is in your heart. Nothing is quite as satisfying as to pursue your passion whether on a part-time basis or a full-time effort. God bless.

16 Comments

  1. For years my dad would tell me to write “what I know”: growing up Jewish, the struggles of living with so many younger sisters, etc. My heart was never into it. I always preferred vampires or zombies or serial killers. He’s by now learned that I’m much more in my element writing scary stories, and I’m glad that he’s so supportive now. And judging by his reaction so far to my novel, he’s pretty glad I went where I’ve gone.
    Still, I’m looking to experiment in other genres, such as romance and erotica. In fact, experimenting in those genres is my summer project. Should be interesting.

    1. I am glad your are doing your passion and willing to experiment with new genres. God bless.

      1. Thanks, and God bless you. I have an autism spectrum disorder, so I understand a little bit of what your family went through. You’re really amazing for raising your kids and then having the courage to write about it on the Internet.

  2. Paul McNulty says:

    Your writing is an inspiration.

    1. Why thank you. God bless.

  3. jakeescholl says:

    I’ve had people tell me I should write a book about living life with Muscular Dystrophy. But, like you, I wasn’t interested in writing about it. I’m passionate about writing Fantasy currently. Maybe someday I’ll write that story, but it all depends on what I’m passionate about. Thanks for sticking to your guns Janet!

    1. I am glad you are writing your passion. For me, it is difficult to write about something so close to the heart. It opens up old wounds. Good luck with your writing. God bless.

  4. jakeescholl says:

    Reblogged this on Jake's Blog and commented:
    This post has some great points…

  5. M T McGuire says:

    Such wise words. To me writing something I’m not into is even sillier than consciously choosing to do a job you don’t enjoy for the money – obviously a lot of us end up doing that because we have to eat but that’s different to making it a choice. The way I see it, if your heart’s not in an idea you’ll never be able to sell it to yourself, let alone your readers…then again I write weird stuff so maybe that situation is particular to me.

    Cheers

    MTM

    1. Agree. If your heart is not in your work, you will not be able to produce a satisfying product or will you be able to convince people to buy it. God bless.

  6. I can see how authors can make themselves write stuff they aren’t that interested in because the money is there. For me, it was for my family’s and friends’ approval. From 1996 – 2006, I wrote stuff others wanted me to write because I was afraid to write romance. In my family and in the circle of friends I had, it was a big “no no” to write romance. And I did run into some opposition when I finally went into romance, but for me, it was worth it to pursue my passion. I’ve never felt more alive or more excited to write in my entire life and I wish I hadn’t let their opinions dictate what I wrote for as long as I did.

    As for writing about my personal life, I would not want to write about dealing with a son who is deaf and has to wear a cochlear implant to help other parents. Granted, it’s not something that makes me sad, but the desire just isn’t there. I write to escape reality, not to relive it. Some people are called to share their experiences, but I’m not one of them.

    1. You are so right, Ruth. We have to do what are hearts tell us to do not what others recommend. I also think some people are called to write about their or their family’s personal struggles and others are not. If it is too close to home, it is best to escape in our own make-believe worlds and leave it to others who are comfortable in sharing those personal accounts. God bless.

    1. Thank you and God bless.

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