Today I have a really great guest post from one of my favorite authors, the amazing Erin Taylor Young. Erin’s book Surviving Henry made me laugh so hard I cried (and even better, it brought back so many wonderful memories from the early years with my adorable Golden Retriever Jack.) Anyway, I love Erin so much which is why I was SO excited when I found out she was a co-author of a new anthology that I worked on entitled Writing Success. It’s for all of you who have ever thought, “maybe I should write a book about this…” My answer is that yes, of course you should, and Writing Success can help you get there.
In this world of videos, texting, and quick Facebook posts, I sometimes think the fine art of writing actual sentences might die. I’m not knocking culture and technology, just making a case for a few ways writing—in a more conventional fashion—can not only be useful, but even make us better moms.
- The Birthday Book Tradition
Okay, yes, my husband and I stumbled into this idea. We thought it would be a good way to encourage our kids to read.
Along with whatever birthday present we bought our sons each year, they also got a classic hardcover book. Inside, we inscribed a note about what kind of things they were doing at that age, and how our choice of book was influenced by their personality, interests, and character.
It never occurred to us that we were keeping a record of our sons’ lives and how they grew and developed over the years. Each boy’s collection of books has now become a treasure, and my husband and I feel like geniuses—albeit accidental ones.
Even if birthday books aren’t for you, writing down markers of your kids’ lives can still prove to be a treasure. You could write a note for them on the first day of school every year, or before every music recital or ball game. Anything that marks their journey in this life. The written word is a way to give tangible proof of how your child’s presence matters in this world.
- The Creative Outlet
This could also be titled “A Place to Vent,” but “Creative Outlet” sounds more noble.
Let’s face it, we have plenty of challenges as moms, and sometimes we need an outlet for feelings we don’t want to scream. Or things that don’t really need to be said aloud. Ten minutes of scribbling our frustrations on a piece of paper incapable of judging us can be a true blessing. Through the process of writing, we cool down and ultimately gain better perspective, especially if we take the time to also jot down the opposing viewpoint. Such as…
“My son needs down time after holding himself together at school all day, so expressing my displeasure over the fake blood concoction of corn syrup and ketchup from three weeks ago that’s still sitting in my best Tupperware in the fridge could’ve waited another hour or two…”
“Yesterday my daughter said she loved me, so today I’ll forgive her mortification that I want to be part of her life…”
Venting aside, writing also allows us to journal daily thoughts—our encouragements, failures, hopes, dreams, growing pains, triumphs, and what we’re learning about God, motherhood, and grace along this path we travel.
Why does this matter? Because we matter. The story of our life matters. How we think and feel matters, even when our kids are too young and self-absorbed to care about anything beyond how we meet their needs.
What we write helps us remember that we, apart from our “momdom,” have worth and value.
There are some of you out there—you know who you are—to whom God has given the task of writing. To write, therefore, is to be obedient.
Be warned. This may require you to say no to a couple other things, like being the VBS organizer, teaching a Sunday school class, volunteering at the school fundraiser, coaching soccer, having a perfectly clean house at all times, and cooking the ultimate dinner feast complete with baked-from-scratch desserts seven days a week.
A few no’s don’t make you a bad parent. They make you willing to put God’s desire for you first and help ensure you have a God-focused life rather than a child-focused life.
Why? Writing done right is creating with our Creator. Regularly spending time with him. Digging deeply into the message he has for us to share, and letting it transform us.
You don’t need some big blog following, a book contract, or magazine editors pining for your articles. Our writing isn’t validated by the size of our audience because writing with God is first and foremost about changing us.
Obedience is all the reason you need.
None of this means we abandon our role as moms. It means somewhere in our schedule we carve out the time to follow God’s call to write. Chances are, writing is something you enjoy. It’s a gift from God, not some guilty pleasure. So, I’m giving you permission.
Take. The. Time.
It’ll make you a better Christ-follower.
And that makes you a better mom.
Erin Taylor Young is an acquisitions editor and author liaison for Redbud Press, a publishing company she helped to found. Passionate about helping others embrace deep places with God, she teaches workshops about writing and publishing, produces podcasts, and is the co-creator of Write from the Deep and Live from the Deep with Karen Ball. She’s also an award-winning humor writer. Her recent book, Surviving Henry: Adventures in Loving a Canine Catastrophe, has been repeatedly accused of making readers laugh until they cry. Learn more about Erin at erintayloryoung.com where she blogs about writing, God, and her aversion to spiders.