Jun 4, 2016

How Writing Affects Me

Rosario Beach: A popular spot for pondering
 during the NW Writers Retreat 
by Susan Allred

In the world of writing, I'm a newbie.  I've only been at it about three years.  I don't have a degree in English, and I've never been published.  I'm working on my sixteenth (and FINAL) draft of my Young Adult novel. Every single draft was absolutely necessary. Believe me.

Before writing, I was pretty self-contained.  I worked hard, kept my head down, and got things done. But, aside from a job well done, I had nothing to show for all my hard work. When I talk to my older children, they have few memories growing up.  There are even fewer pictures, and no journal entries.

Somewhere along the line, I got bit by the writing bug.  In addition to my first story, I have completed first drafts for three other books in this series, and am 1/3 of the way through a first draft  in another, paralleling series. All of my books are based off my children, their personalities, mannerisms, and even funny things they've said. Then I turn them into action stars!

What I'm most surprised by, though, is how writing affects so many other parts of my life.  All of the sudden, I'm writing a spiritual journal, updating three blogs, planning a book of family memories with my sisters, and a short story detailing how my husband and I met and got engaged (in three days).  Plus, I have dozens of other story ideas popping into my head at any given time.  I'll be busy for the next 30 years, and then some.

Seemingly incidental moments in life take on a whole new light.  Thoughts that would have flitted in and out of my mind turn into ideas to be examined, considered, written down, and remembered.

Moments with my children turn into vignettes and short stories.  Random events morph into writing prompts or scenes within books.  My life seems to have become one giant story, waiting to be filled with words by articulating thoughts, emotions,and moments onto paper.

Being a writer helps me to pause and take stock of my life.  Moments no longer speed by in an endless feed. Experiences that would have otherwise been skipped over are recognized as what they are: a blessing from our Father in Heaven. They're recognized as milestones and opportunities to connect with my family; memories to be told and re-told.

If I never publish my stories, that's okay.  Because by taking this journey, I have gained so much more than I could ever have imagined. I have re-gained my life, my family, and my testimony. I  have gained perspective.


  1. Thank you for sharing these thoughts, Susan! Life is a great journey and needs to be recorded. Thank you for the reminder of that. hugs~

  2. And best of all you have future generations who will benefit from your endeavors where ever they take you.


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