Are You Healed Enough to Publish Your Story? Ready or not . . .

Are you ready to publish? Are you healed enough to be the public face of your story?

CalledToWrite-ChosenToPublish copyI often meet people who have a desire to write their story, but they are anxious about it. They know their story and their pain holds meaning. They want to bless the world and encourage others who may be in the same place they once were, to help shine a light on how to get out of difficult and dark places.

I believe we all have a story to share that is important. All of our pain is sacred. All of our experiences hold meaning. But do all of our stories need to be written and shared with the world? No. And even when we do share our stories with the world, we don’t share every detail.

There’s a couple of things I want to say to encourage you if you’re considering writing your story, but you’re unsure of the next step, or you feel uncertainty.

1. Writing is a process of healing for the author. Even if you’re not “healed” totally from your experience, write. It will help to sort things out, and is very safe and therapeutic.

2. Write your story, honestly. Then wait. Pray. Go back and rewrite.

3. Writing is safe. Publishing is a risk. Are you ready to take the risk? Publishing involves marketing, selling your story, and being the “face” of your book in a very public way.

4. You may not be ready to publish, but you ARE ready to write! Don’t bog yourself down with the stress of thinking of publishing. Just write. When it’s time to publish, you will know it.

Writing is a process of re-writing. It takes time and commitment, and a person really has to be ready to share their story before it is published. They have to be strong enough to view it not as an extension of themselves, but instead as a product they want to share and sell. To publish, you must be healed enough, and have strong enough boundaries to be ready to be vulnerable. It’s a huge deal, and not to be taken lightly. You need to be sure you are ready and strong enough to tell your story. If you aren’t ready to verbally testify in a group setting, you’re probably not ready to share your story in published print form. But that doesn’t mean you should not write. Write. Write now.

A lot of times our family members are the ones that have hurt us, intentionally or unintentionally. This is a very important fact to consider. You love your family member and you don’t want to do anything to hurt them further. What they did to you was probably because they were hurting. It doesn’t excuse the behavior, but we want to write from a place of healing, not pain. We don’t want our writing to cause pain, but to be helpful and healing. At the same time, your story is your story. A lot of the decisions you make about sharing your story will depend on your relationship with your family member, where both of you are at in the healing process, and what is important and valid to share.

I’m sure you’ve heard the quote, “Hurt people hurt people.” I recently heard it with a twist, “Healed people heal people.” I am reminded of some wisdom from a 12-step workbook… First, we write our story and share it with someone safe. We talk about how much we want to share in the group. We pray about it. If we feel any kind of anxiety associated with sharing certain parts of our story, then it isn’t the right time to share publicly. We share when we feel safe. And that is the number one most important thing.

I’ll be praying for you!

Love: an active noun, like struggle

“Love isn’t a state of perfect caring. It is an active noun like struggle. To love someone is to strive to accept that person exactly the way he or she is, right here and now.” -Fred Rogers

I Love YouWhat does it mean to love? How do you feel love? How do you show love? Do you feel loved? And possibly more importantly, do the people you love feel your love?

I am afraid to ask the people in my life if they feel my love. I am afraid of the answer. What if they said no?

Too often love feels more like a struggle than it feels like love. “To strive to accept that person exactly the way he or she is, right here and now” isn’t always easy.

What does it mean to withhold love? In my mind it is avoiding another person, refusing to speak, putting them down, not spending time with them, ignoring their cries for help. Maybe these behaviors go beyond “unloving” and fall into the realm of emotional abuse.

Love, to me, is emotional support. I may not be able to fix my loved one’s problems, give them finances, a new job, take away their emotional or physical pain… But I can be there with them through the pain. I can give them emotional support. I can empathize. I can show concern. Express condolences. Bring flowers. Spend time with them. I can accept them right where they are, amidst the struggle, and unselfishly acknowledge life with them.

Today, I will take the time to love someone. I hope you will too.

Rachael Hartman

Rachael Hartman, owner of Our Written Lives editing and publishing services for independent authors.

Fences… Poetry by Rachael Hartman

Fences
© Rachael Hartman
for My Brother, Jeremy Hartman
March 1, 2014

Fences
With barbed wire
Line the entrance to
Keep us safe from attack
While loved ones fight
Far away for freedom
And we wait behind
Fences
Living in homes
Built for heroes’ families
Playgrounds, commissary, PX
All there, the card-carrying
Community inside
Fences
Rising in rank
To reach the top
The Flag flies, bugles play
Reveille and Retreat
At the center of
Fences
Always the sign
Of home away from home
American soil around the world
Always moving, meeting new
Friends, remembering
Old ones waiting by
Fences
And one day
No longer a child yet
Still feeling the draw of Green
Hearing calls of cadence
As we are kept out of
Fences
Wandering, lost
On the outside, with
No orders and nowhere to go
We search aimlessly
Fit nowhere and
Fences
Draw us, call us
Until violence ensues and
We once again are surrounded,
Bound to the security found
On the inside of
Fences
With barbed wire
Lining the entrance and
Exit of this new cold place
That keeps the world
From those behind
Fences
Towering high
Uniforms of new colors
And chains no longer on necks
Are now on hands and feet
Locking us in and out of
Fences
A community of
Criminals with recorded
Histories we know not of but
Now are brothers of the
System built with
Fences

 

Rachael HartmanRachael Hartman is an experienced writer and author. She has worked as a full-time newspaper reporter, and as a freelance contributor to magazines. She writes high school Sunday school material for Word Aflame Press as well as lessons for Project 7 (P7) student-led Bible Clubs, and blogs for Lady by Design. She enjoys health and exercise, reading, art, and playing with her two dogs Darla and Danny. She owns Our Written Lives of Hope, an online bookstore and publishing house in which she helps others share the message of the hope of Jesus Christ and promotes holistic health. Check out her web site at www.owlofhope.com and link to her on Facebook.

Poetry: No One To Look To, by Rachael Hartman

Sometimes the people we look up to in life disappoint us. When you have a hero, or someone you idealize (an idol), and you commit to making God your only hero and if you allow Him to continue to grow you, eventually you will have no other heroes–only Him. There will be phases where you can look at someone else and think, “That’s a great person, I want to be like them; they are my hero.” But if you’re around them enough and you’re a praying person, eventually you won’t feel that way anymore. You’ll just look at God and think: “He is my only Hero. He is the only one that I can look to.”

Here is a poem I wrote several years ago. I think it sums up what I’m feeling tonight.

No One to Look To
© Rachael Hartman
October 23, 2008

What holds us back from the things that we truly want in life? Is it fear that we don’t truly want it? Or fear that we may succeed, be left with emptiness and still searching for deeper meaning?

When we come to the place that we’ve always wanted to be, when we finally make it to the pinnacle of our dreams, when we reach the stars and start to shine, what is left to hope for?

We must learn to dream new dreams, reach for higher heights, and allow ourselves to evolve into higher beings.

Those beings that we used to admire and envy we have now become, and we are left with no one to look to.

No one, but God.

Rachael HartmanRachael Hartman is an experienced writer and author. She has worked as a full-time newspaper reporter, and as a freelance contributor to magazines. She writes high school Sunday school material for Word Aflame Press as well as lessons for Project 7 (P7) student-led Bible Clubs, and blogs for Lady by Design. She enjoys health and exercise, reading, art, and playing with her two dogs Darla and Danny. She owns Our Written Lives of Hope, an online bookstore and publishing house in which she helps others share the message of the hope of Jesus Christ and promotes holistic health. Check out her web site at www.owlofhope.com and link to her on Facebook.