I’m a poet. I love poetry, and God has used my love for poetry to help me process and make sense of my world. When inspiration hits me, I have to write. It doesn’t matter where I am, I must jot it down.
Most of my poems are scribbled on small scraps of paper, in random notebooks, on napkins, and even in church bulletins. Sometimes they make it to a special notebook where I have a large many gathered, other times I actually type them up and save them to my computer or flash drive. Yet some get lost in the paper shuffle until I find them years later.
Yet each one takes me to a deep place in my soul and brings back a flood of memories. You see, I only write when I can’t make sense of what’s going on around me, when I struggle to process an event that leaves me confused, bewildered, or just touches my heart in an intimate way. I can’t force a poem out. It has to come from within.
I never used to share my poetry with anyone. It was my escape and represented a sacred time between me and God. Yet He used it to help me through a very painful time in life, and then He eventually prompted me to share it in a small group ladies’ Bible study. When I did, they spoke such tender encouragement over me and let me know how my poems helped them connect more closely with Christ.
Around that time, someone said, “Have you ever thought about writing a book?”
I’d blogged about our adoption journey for a solid year, only to have it fall apart and let me fall on my face for all to see. It was humiliating. No. Never again would I put myself out there in such a public way. But when God eventually let beauty rise from the ashes of our loss, I couldn’t help myself. A year and a half of blog posts plus poetry on scraps of paper I’d tucked away all came together to create a beautiful story of heartache, pain,and loss, along with faith, hope, and healing.
I quickly found a way to self-publish my story, and it truly touched a lot of hearts. But pretty much only the hearts of people I already knew. The private person that I am, I didn’t ask a lot of questions beforehand, and I didn’t even launch the book. I knew nothing about being a writer.
Soon after my book came out, I heard about a Christian writer’s group meeting in my area. I went to the first meeting and learned immediately just how much I didn’t know. I still attend on a monthly basis now four years later. My writing has improved greatly, I’ve learned to condense and write more concisely, and I connected with many authors who opened my eyes to the responsibilities of a writer.
Through connections in that group, God opened a door of opportunity for me to republish my first book, this time with better writing, proper editing, and more expertise behind it. Since then, I wrote a sequel to it (filled with all that poetry I’d kept hidden for so many years) and am in the process of actually launching it this time! Now I have a launch team with people from all over the country and even in the country where half of the story takes place. Plus I accepted my need for help with social media and continue to grow in that area.
I’ve learned so much through my writer’s group and now know how foolish it is to try to be an author without it. I continue to learn something new every time I attend and usually apply it immediately to whatever I’m currently working on.
Biggest lesson learned on this writing journey: Don’t go at it alone. There’s too much I still don’t know.
Follow me at my author/post adoption blog: www.fromtheheartofrachelled.blogspot.com
Check out my book series (our family’s memoir about adoption loss and eventually a completed adoption), Unexpected Tears and Painful Waiting, at www.abhbooks.com/books
(Painful Waiting releases April 14, 2016)
Check out my book blog: www.unexpectedtearsbook.blogspot.com
Follow me on twitter: @Rachelle_D_1
Follow me on Facebook: Surviving the Valley Series
Look for me on Pinterest (Rachelle Alspaugh) and Canva (ralspaug2) and Instagram (rachellealspaugh).
Find me on Goodreads: (Unexpected Tears) https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/26233135-unexpected-tears–trusting-god-through-a-painful-adoption-process, (Painful Waiting) https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/29344089-painful-waiting
Please check out our other posts about Becoming A Writer.
If you are interested in writing a post about your journey as a writer please check out the following post. Writing Opportunity
9 thoughts on “Becoming A Writer Part 4 – By Rachelle Alspaugh”
I can very much relate to this line you wrote: “You see, I only write when I can’t make sense of what’s going on around me, when I struggle to process an event that leaves me confused, bewildered, or just touches my heart in an intimate way.”
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