When I was a little girl I loved to write stories, though they were quite melodramatic and I never got past 6 or 7 pages before I moved on to my next story. I have also always been a voracious reader. Books were common topics of conversation in our family. We always discussed what we were reading at the dinner table and both my parents read to us when we were young. Just tonight, I had a phone conversation with my mom discussing books we have read this week.
Writing a book has always been on my bucket list. Several years ago, while talking with my sister Lenaya, I asked her when she was going to write the book about her life and struggle with an eating disorder as well as numerous addictions. She admitted that she did want to write a book, but she was struggling with how to present her story. So many books sensationalize their experience, and she absolutely didn't want to have that effect. I had an instant illumination that what we needed to do was write a book together back and forth, her perspective and then mine in order to have a balanced story. We began work on our book and spent several years off and on working on it.
We are getting very close at this point. We are starting the editing process and hoping to submit the manuscript by the end of the summer. Being so close to it, I have alternated between elation and doubt about whether it will ever be published. I think it is a compelling story, but will others think so? I doubt my skills as a writer, but I see moments of greatness as I read back through our tale. Time will tell whether it will be published, but there are several gifts that have come to me as a result of our work.
The process of writing things down has forced me to crystallize floating ideas that weren't true thoughts, and wisdom has grown, not from the experiences themselves, but from the process of writing about those experiences. I distilled truths of my experience through the writing process I would never have previously been able to articulate.
I learned so much about my sister and have grown so much closer to her. We have had countless conversations which brought healing and comfort to our wounded hearts and meaning and purpose to our suffering.
I also believe that her story has made me a better counselor and I occasionally share insights with people who are going through similar experiences. One client who has been to counselors for years told me that I was the first person who understands what she is facing. Hopefully, our experience can help other people.
Finally, there are been many tender moments where whisperings of the Spirit have prodded me in a direction of how to start my next section, which quote to use in a specific spot as well as how to rewrite a passage to evoke emotion. I feel that God has directed me in this process, and I feel so grateful to Him for His hand in it. Whatever happens from this experience I feel very richly blessed.