On Writing

As a child, I could and would get lost in the land of James Herriot, Nancy Drew, The Hardy Boys, and later Stephen King. I used to think this attraction to imaginary worlds was the escape hatch I used to avoid my parent’s alcoholism. Reading was a way to hide and break free from the family drama, and while some of that is valid, I discovered early on, this vast and amazing adventure in the world of fiction. And I was hooked for many years. Unfortunately, as I entered into my teen years, I struggled with my own demons and misplaced my love of reading. I got caught up in outside fixes, pretending to be someone I wasn’t, and desperate to fix the something broken inside of me.

Once back on track, when all my friends were out partying, Friday, of all nights, I was home cleaning a closet. I couldn’t have been more than 21 years old. And I couldn’t have been happier. But I also felt like a dork. Who would rather clean a closet than go out with friends? Again, my thoughts returning to my early years, fraught with addiction, drama, and dysfunction, I concluded that I must just have an old soul…a soul that had seen and been through so much, that I was older than my 21 years. Maybe.

It would take every bit of my 20s and 30s to learn and embrace the truth. My name’s Donna and I’m an introvert.

I resisted introversion. Extroverts seem to be so much more exciting…assertive, charismatic personalities. Comfortable around people. Life of the party. I wanted that extroverted gene.

But alas, here we are, older and wiser. I’m at a place in my journey where I’m embracing AND celebrating my introverted self. There are some really cool things about introverts. While not the life of the party, we make excellent friends – loyal, committed, and great listeners. We’re considerate of your thoughts/opinions and we generally speak our mind so there’s less drama/speculation in our relationships. And we tend to lean into authenticity because we are less interested in impressing others and more interested in finding our own true north. But it’s not a competition…or a you verses them scenario. It’s about embracing how we are created and living into the gifts we’ve been given.

“Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.” Aristotle

And the best news for me today…introverts have been known to contribute significantly to the world of literary arts – I’m in the personality company of some of the most amazing authors, including William Shakespeare, J. R. R. Tolkien, Emily Dickinson and J. K. Rowling. What makes this discovery significant is that I’ve decided to try my hand at fiction…but have little experience, zero literary arts education, and sputtering confidence. Of course, I write here all the time but this new endeavor is my first adventure in fiction, short stories, and potentially a novel. I’ve had people ask “why fiction” and the most concise answer I have is “why not?” The longer answer is because I haven’t done it before. I don’t know how. I want to learn.

Writing fiction is this WHOLE new world to be discovered. It’s frustrating but exhilarating. It’s like being at the base of a mountain trailhead and experiencing the excitement of starting a new hike. You know it’s gonna suck at times but you also know that feeling of working hard, leaving it all on the table, and reaching the top is like no other. I can’t wait.

Thanks for sharing this journey with me,
xoxoxo – DM

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Donna Matthews is a blog writer at the DJRanch where she strives to remain authentic while not taking herself too seriously. She is also the creator of Slay The Chaos (www.slaythechaos.com), where she writes about productivity and organization. She is a member of The Writers Guild and Write Space in Houston and is currently writing her first book.

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