Write Your Story Anyways

“You own everything that happened to you.

Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.”

(Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life)

This is perhaps my most favorite quote on writing the truth. Anne Lamott cuts right through the bologna and sits on the front porch with us. She calls us to write deeply and honestly and fully no matter what or where our stories have taken us. “You own everything that happened to you.” I think that is what Writing Deep is all about… finding a way to write your story anyways.

One of the great impediments to my writing has been worrying what other people think of what I write.

Both the people who have been a part of that story (the antagonists, the sidekicks, the active participants, and the characters on the fringe) and those who have had nothing to do with it… I worried about what they would feel as they learned more about me.

Because for all the ways I have tried to share my heart – there are still a whole bunch of folks who only see in me what they want to see.

For a few years I was looking for my story to receive permission – like I needed permission to tell it.

Like I wasn’t a real writer until someone – approved.

Like I couldn’t do this until someone said it was OK.

What I found in the meantime is that there is always going to be someone angry or hurt or in denial when you write your real – your truth. There will always be someone watching your life, someone reading your words who does not like you very much.

For all the people who love you and love what you have to say about yourself – there will always be a few who hate your truth.

Not everyone is going to love you. Not everyone is going to love what you have to say about where you have wandered.

And somehow whether you write words, speak words, or simply live them – you have to find a way to be OK with NOT being liked.

You have to learn how to be OK when other people do not approve.

write your story anyways jkmcguire

Write Your Story Anyways

I started blogging after I lost community and friendship and what I thought was my forever place. Up until that point I had never let anyone read what I wrote. I spent most of my teens and twenties hiding those words and my truth. I didn’t speak up very often. My words were tucked away in journal pages and rarely saw the light of day. There are reasons why – reasons that seem silly and sad. Sad because of how things in our youth can try to define our forevers and always.

  • I am glad that I picked up a pen again and anyways.
  • I am grateful for the fractured places that forced me into silence, solitude, and the path.
  • I am grateful that in trying to make my writing space a beautiful place – I found how much I love the camera.

After my world twisted ugly I was trying to make sense of what had happened. I was trying to silence the voices that had been shouting for too long in favor of finding my own voice and my own eyes – again, finally. Almost seven years later – and some 1,400 blog posts written – most of which I have hidden away in a vault with the old wine – I have learned a lot about myself.

I have learned why I need writing because written words are like prayer to me.

Writing and photography are holy places in my life.

Places where I am found barefoot and bowing low. Places where I am not afraid of a little messy and a little dirt and a little bloody scrape on the elbows or knees.

writing is like prayer FBcoverphoto jkmcguire

*Free Facebook Cover Photo of the above image can be found here (just right click and save on the image)

This is Holy Ground

When I am not routinely writing words on pages or screens I find myself disjointed and chaotic. My soul feels off center like there is a shifting deep inside.

When I am not often taking up my well-worn, well-loved camera to capture what I see I find my life tilted and blurry. I can’t see straight.

The camera helps me to see. The pen helps me to breathe.

I am easily torn and easily flooded and easily lost – when there is no pen or camera in my hands.

I have to find a way for this every day – or every other day.

I may not ever finish that book I’ve been writing. I might not get it done.

And this little website – no one may read and the cash to fund it may run dry, but I think I would find a way to write anyways.

Writing is prayer. Photography is Holy Ground. It is how I speak to the Divine and how the Divine speaks to me.

And I have no intention of walking away.

Join the Journey,



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