31 Days · africa · Intentional Living

When Writing is Scary

Last year, when I was laid up in Pretoria, South Africa, post-surgery for a broken humerus, I participated in NaNoWriMo. The idea of NaNo is to write a novel (at least 50,000 words, in one month. Because I was in the hospital and then stranded in Pretoria without a computer for two weeks, I ended up writing NaNo in 2 weeks (eek!). And then I was sent back to the US and dealing with a hasty goodbye and readjustment to American life.

So I let the novel sit, 90% finished, for nearly a year.

Throughout the #write31days series, I wrote about my experiences in South Africa. (If you haven’t read them yet, check it out here!) During the month, the idea of actually “doing something” with this novel has been on my mind.

You see, I wrote a fictional story set in a village much like the one I lived in for 2 years, and based off of many of my own experiences in South Africa. It’s near and dear to my heart, and writing it has been a way of processing my experiences abroad.

And yet, I’ve no clue what exactly I’m going to do with this story. You know why? I’m terrified to let anyone read it! So, as much as it terrifies me, I’m going to start posting excepts from my novel, if only to give you another glimpse into life in South Africa.

[Tweet “The scary part isn’t writing. It’s letting others read it”]

And so, today I’m posting the intro to my novel (eek, it still sounds weird!), Enduring Hope. And eventually, you can keep an eye out for an ebook!

Her heart welled up, filled with intense emotion, as if it were about to burst. She felt wholly embraced in a warm, powerful presence, and she knew she was safe. Unbidden, a stray thought burst into her head, and she was overcome with one word: hope. Instantly, she knew she was part of something bigger, and her heart thumped wildly in her chest, filling with hope and joy. She felt as if the sun was radiating from inside her, and that those around her couldn’t fail to notice the change in her. Moments before she felt desolate, unsure of what was going to happen. But then, seemingly from nowhere, she was filled with an improbable hope. And in that moment, she knew it would be fine in the end. She would be freed from her worries, and would be able to shake off her mantle of responsibility, embracing the liberty of hope and a promise of a future.

Outside the window, a rooster crowed loudly.

Naledi’s eyelids fluttered, then sprang open. She remembered that she had been dreaming, but she couldn’t recall the  dream for the life of her. Deep in her chest, she had a warm, happy feeling, though she had no idea why she felt that way. As she slowly got up and looked around, she was reminded of the many tasks that awaited her, and she felt the happy feeling fade away, disappearing as quickly as the memory of her dream.

As the sun rose over the horizon, she squared her shoulders and prepared to face the day ahead.



9 thoughts on “When Writing is Scary

  1. Jen, how exciting for you to be taking this step forward in writing. Praying the Lord would open doors & use this in ways you never expected. May you continue to be brave~ Blessings!

  2. Woot! Woot! Congratulations on taking the first step (letting us read what you’ve written)! I know it’s scary, but getting it out there is a wonderful way to see what works and what doesn’t work. Thank you for linking up :).

  3. How interesting to me you posted about NaNoWriMo. I hadn’t heard of it until recently, and it’s my motivation to finish my novel this month. Enjoyed your intro–you don’t want to try for a traditional publisher? You never know 🙂

    1. Even thinking about traditional publishing terrifies me! 😉 Thanks for the encouragement though!

      Are you doing NaNo this year then? Somehow I signed up yesterday to do it again, though I had NO intention of doing so. Now the craziness begins!

  4. Yay for steps in the right direction (or should that be ‘write direction’. You are correct about the courage it takes to open your writing up to actual readers – so cheers to beginning the process!

  5. I am right with you on not wanting to share my writing. It seems like such a little thing to me who wants to be a writer, but to open the pages to another is like opening up my heart and sometimes, I am so very scared.

    And I think I may be signing up for NaNo! What?! : )

  6. I loved this! “Unbidden, a stray thought burst into her head, and she was overcome with one word: hope.” This is powerful friend. I shared the start of a manuscript with just a few sweet souls a month ago. I felt like throwing up. What’s up with that?! I get this but may I say, “Carry on warrior.” This is good stuff. It’s time to share. (Thanks for participating in InspireMeMonday!)

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