Write Your Heart Out

RedPedalCar

My earliest memory is of my second birthday. Mom and Dad gave me a shiny red pedal car. I can’t describe the joy I felt at having my very own car, I must have been glowing. I climbed inside to take it for a spin, only to find my feet didn’t touch the pedals, but I that was okay, I knew I would grow into it.

“I’ll trade it for a tricycle,” Dad said, and Mom agreed.

“No! I don’t want a trike, I want the car, my legs will grow,” I thought, but for some reason, I didn’t tell Dad. I was terribly disappointed when he took the car away.

That positive attitude has stuck with me all my life.

If I want to do it, I find a way to make it work. But even though I have confidence in myself, it hasn’t been easy for me to be confident in how others perceive me. I have always worried that others will think I’m silly for believing myself capable of a thing.

When my first marriage ended in divorce, I felt as if everyone looked down on me.

Even God. I focused on my failures. Though I condemned myself, and thought God could no longer use me, I still prayed and read my Bible daily. Then one day God spoke to my heart, “Martha, I never intended for you or anyone else to divorce, but no one is perfect, including you.

I still love you, and have a plan for you.”

That day, I know for sure I glowed with happiness, as tears of joy ran down my cheeks. The words of Psalm 139 that I was so familiar with, took on new meaning as I read them that day. And today, as I read the psalm again, I am assured that God knows everything there is to know about me. He knows all my thoughts, my  plans, my desires, and my fears.

God knows me better than I know myself, and He accepts me as I am.

Several years ago God gave me a desire to write. I had always used writing as a learning tool, but this was different. Now I was writing with purpose. I asked God to show me what He wanted me to learn as I read my Bible each morning…and I wrote. I found myself writing bits and pieces of my thoughts and my life. I poured my stories out on the page, a little at a time.

This isn’t a Bible study,” I scolded myself, “This is about me.”

But it seemed God was saying to me, “You’re writing what I want you to, just keep writing.” So I did. An amazing thing happened. As I read my writings, I saw the protagonist, the main character of those stories, through different eyes. As she shared her heart, I related to her. I understood her. I accepted her.

As I began to understand myself, I found my writing voice.

I quit shaming myself and instead, asked God to show me how to use my experiences to help others. My mission statement is “helping others find their passion by sharing my own.”  I propose to do this by accepting and encouraging others any way I can. If you haven’t already done it, I want to encourage you to do as I did, and—

Write Your Heart Out!

by Martha Jane Curtis

Baby Steps to Blogging Part 3 — Keep on Writing!

Blogging IS NOT like riding a bicycle. If / when you fall, it does hurt! It isn’t easy to get back on and try again–at least it wasn’t for me. I had made up my mind that I could do this blog thing. I had the perfect subject–meaning I thought it was a great idea and clever, of course. I wrote the post and found a photo–it wasn’t perfect, but it would do.

IMG_0038After several hours of editing and tweaking, I hit the publish button. It was so exciting to be published!

I read that post over several times, then proceeded over to Learn WordPress.com to read the instructions for adding an About Me page to my blog. It wasn’t long until my About Me page was published. Not only had I started a blog, but with two pages, it was well on the road to becoming a website.

A few days later, I wrote another post. It was easy with my new found confidence. My 2nd post was finished, edited and ready to submit. Only… when I hit the publish button, my post disappeared. Refresh did not return it, neither did go back, or escape, nor messaging the wordpress help site. My brilliant work was gone forever! Hours of work were lost. Discouragement set in. I had fallen off. It hurt. I gave up.

Several times I went back to look at my abandoned blog. It was still there. One little post. One About Me page. No visitors. Not even graffiti–you know, ‘loser’, ‘quitter’…

It took three months for me to muster the courage to try again. During that time I learned some things:

1. Write your post on your computer’s word processing program. Save your work often. If you have deleted or changed something by mistake and try to close the program it will ask if you want to save changes. This is a warning that you may be about to delete something important. If you don’t remember changing making changes since you last saved your work, take the time to read the document over before closing. Don’t forget to save it when you are finished!

2. When you’re satisfied you are ready to publish the post to your blog, copy and paste it onto a ‘new blog’ on your site rather than writing it directly on the site. You are less likely to make mistakes this way.

3. If you highlight (make all the words have a blue background) something you have written / typed, do not hit backspace, enter, delete, or tab–accidentally or on purpose–unless you want to delete it. Yes, really! I finally realized this was how I lost my second post. The mistake that discouraged me from posting to my new blog for three entire months!

Three months of feeling like a loser, however, was not a total loss. It was during those three months I learned the importance of learning in baby steps. No two people are at the exact same level of knowledge. Some have been blogging for years. Others are just beginning. I am somewhere in between. I don’t pretend to know everything, but I want to share what I have learned with those who may need it. I share my struggles while they are still fresh in my mind.

There is no such thing as instant success. Don’t be discouraged. Rather, get up, brush off the dirt, and purpose to succeed.  Blog with confidence–one baby step at a time. Keep up the good work, you are doing great!

This post is part of a series titled Baby Steps to Blogging. I hope it will help you on your blogging journey. I encourage you to share your thoughts and questions in the comments section of this post. You are invited to come back next Thursday for Part 4 of Baby Steps to Blogging.

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