I finally got around to starting that blog I’ve been talking about for years.
Allow me to introduce it. I’m not sure what I want Without Maps to look like yet, but I have to start somewhere. I’ve been wanting to start a blog for a long time. I’ve talked about it, done some research, and even had my mouse hovering over the “create” button several times. Something always held me back. And that something was fear.
In early 2014, I made the decision to take ownership of the truth that I was a writer and commit to the process of actually writing. Fiction is my preference. Over the course of four years, I’ve written three novels, two short stories, and a growing collection of essays. I’ve learned a lot about the writing process and the agony of how long a writing project can take. I’ve also learned that no feeling compares to the sweet reward of finishing. I’ve learned a lot about myself as a writer and as a person, as my stories tend to reflect whatever spiritual growth I’m experiencing at the time. The writing journey has shaped me into a more contemplative, appreciative person.
There was just one glaring problem.
Nobody had any idea what I was doing.
I am a deeply private person and since my writing is a direct draw from the well of my heart, I tend to keep pretty quiet about it. I would give friends snippets of stories, descriptions of characters and plot lines, and they would get excited and supportive and encouraging and then… I would go hide again.
I could make a lot of money as a professional hider, were there such a thing.
In my attempt to protect the beauty of the stories unfurling inside me, I had built a castle wall behind which I alone was allowed. I was learning, growing, writing, changing, maturing… And nobody was there to celebrate with me. It was lonely, but it was lonely because I had forced it to become so. I held what I considered precious treasure like it was a basketball and sent flying elbows at anyone who dared get close, even if they were only getting close to encourage me. But the issue ran deeper than that. It wasn’t just me wanting to protect what was happening inside me.
It was old-fashioned fear.
Being a creative person is an exhausting, dangerous endeavor. Because as much as you love the creative process and the work of art that comes from it, there is a sheer and sudden terror right below the surface that everyone who sees your work is going to hate it. And tell you. In no uncertain terms. So I kept creating my own pieces in my own castle, where I liked them and nobody could tell me how terrible they were. (Some of them really are terrible, but fear has a way of convincing you that everything you touch will be shamed if you let it out into the light of day.)
The Lord convicted me about this earlier in the year. I began to see that my playing it safe was not serving the Kingdom in the slightest. Now, I am not arrogant enough to think that my words will forever alter the constitution of every heart they come in contact with. But in the middle of the night when I genuinely wanted to give up on a project, God would remind me… “Somebody out there needs this.” And there have been days when that promise kept me moving through a story. And shouldn’t that be the heart of any creative endeavor? To minister to others? Even beyond that, I started realizing that I have friends and family who care a lot about me and want to read what I’m writing. I was doing those relationships an injustice and missing an opportunity to bless and be blessed by staying so secretive about what I was working on.
And that brings us here, to this blog. Without Maps. I’ve known I wanted to call it that for a while, but I honestly didn’t know why. I’m still figuring that out. I am a planned, organized person in most areas of my life. Metaphorically, I love maps. But I want this blog to be a place where I can adventure and explore without them. I hope to ease up on myself in this space, without worrying so much about eloquence or perfect grammar. I want this blog to be a place where I can share what I’m learning or working on, spiritual lessons or fiction pieces. It also keeps me accountable to continue writing. Creating this gives me a place to pull back the curtains and let you see what’s going on inside me. Because maybe we’re going through the same stuff and need each other. There is a unique comfort in solidarity.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
Perhaps we walk into this one without a map.