Around this time last year, I read Twilight, partly because it was recommended by a couple of friends, partly because I wanted to know what all the hoopla was about back in the States. In about 36 hours of a mind-numbing reading binge, I finished it. I skimmed parts of it, I must admit. And I also must admit, I long to have those 36 hours of my life back. But what was done, was done.
The one redeeming thing I took away from that reading experience was the thought, “I could have written something better than that when I was about 14.” I don’t want to get into Stephenie Meyer’s writing abilities or the content of her stories in this blog, but I can’t help but think, surely there are young adult readers in America who are hungry for something better than this.
Two days later, a sage friend of mine who has encouraged me as a closet writer, unaware of my Twilight experience, told me that he thought I should write a book for young girls about Lydia’s life. That’s nice, I thought. If I had an advance check for every time someone told me, “You oughtta write a book,” well, then I’d write a book.
But this time, the idea wouldn’t let me go. For days I was consumed with the nagging question, “If you’re so arrogant as to say you could do a better job than someone who’s a best-selling author, then why don’t you? Why haven’t you?”
Combine this with a promise I made to myself in early 2005. I longed to take the time to develop as a writer, to explore experiences and ideas and stories that were being stockpiled inside me. But I also knew that right then wasn’t the time. I had a different task at hand, one to which I was sure God had led me. I felt deep within me that some time in the next five to ten years, I would take a year off to write, but I needed to be fully focused on working among the B people in the meantime. So, I committed my desire to write into the hands of God, asking Him to make it happen when it was right.
Stay with me here…early 2009, Twilight experience, the idea of writing Lydia’s story for young readers. And I’m four years into a promise to myself that “five to ten years from now I’ll take a year off to write.” Isn’t it clear what’s shaping up here?
I have a one-way ticket to DFW on March 29. After about three months visiting family and friends, I’m starting that year of writing full-time—in a location still being finalized, though I can almost guarantee it will be colder than south Yunnan or Fort Worth.
The counter on my computer tells me that’s only 63 days from now. 63 days to wrap up the past decade of my life, since I first visited China and knew that I would move here within a few months’ time. I’m both excited and apprehensive about what lies ahead (though, honestly, I’m more excited than apprehensive right now). I’m trying to rightly handle the emotions of bringing this chapter of my life to a close, and one way I’m doing that is by compiling a list of ways I’ve seen growth and change in myself over the past few years. Not all of those ways are things that I would care to share through this outlet, but many of them are. As I work through these ideas, I’ll be posting them here. Expect entries ranging from “living as an introvert in a country of 1.3 billion people who are all staring at me right now” to “balancing work and rest” to “learning to cook from scratch.”
I don’t know how often I’ll post—I’m posting this particular entry now to force myself to be accountable to write with some form of regularity over the next several weeks. Though, in reality, saying “force myself” to write makes it sound unenjoyable, and I’m actually quite looking forward to working out these entries.
Next in the “Finishing Well” series: ”Out of the Limelight“