Why I write my stories

I flopped onto the hotel bed. My mom and I were in Michigan for my uncle’s funeral, and I was talking to her about blogging. “I’m only nineteen. Who I am and what I believe is changing so fast that I can’t keep track of it. How am I supposed to write in the middle of that?” Silence hung between us and my mom waited for me to finish my tirade. “I feel like all I have now is stories.” She looked at me from across the rom. “I’m not even sure I know what they mean anymore. All I know to do is tell them.”

Last month, I read Speak by Nish Weiseth. That little green book changed the way I understand stories.

The power of story becomes evident when, as we share, another’s eyes light up and they say, ‘You too? Me too!’” –Nish Weiseth

If you want to know the truth of it, writing scares me right now. It has all summer. This was the summer that Susanna and I started crafting the story of the year in the black dress. With every word that’s spilled onto the page, I’ve wondered who I think I am to be telling this story in a book.

But I keep remembering the words of so many others that have made me want to shout, “Me too!” Brave folks have gone before me and let me find myself in their stories. I am who I am because they had the courage to speak.

A while ago, Rachel Held Evans was talking about why she writes. I don’t remember the exact context, but she said that she writes so that others will know that they’re not alone.

Others have gone before me, and others will come after me. There’s nothing special about me and my story, other than the fact that it’s mine. I’m going to own it. I’ll keep showing up at the keyboard and pounding out the words.

Why?

Because you are not alone.

None of us are.

I’ve given up on trying to tell you what these stories mean. All I can do is offer them. I hope that somehow, in my stories, you find yours. And when you do, I hope you’ll tell it to us.

We need you.

We need your stories.