I will thank the Lord with all my heart as I meet with his godly people. How amazing are the deeds of the Lord! All who delight in him should ponder them. Psalm 111:1-2 NLT

Monday, July 26, 2010

Chasing the Dream: One Step at a Time

Photo by ywel/Stockxchange.com

I have a dream.

The question is: How do I accomplish my dream?

My life is full, between my husband, my children, the family business and church. I answer to wife, mom and nursery worker. Oh, and did I mention chauffeur, sister, daughter, cook--and so many more names. With my already overflowing life, I can't fit anything else in. Period.

But I have a dream. These voices in my head keep talking.

I want to write.

I'm dreaming this dream--and facing a hurdle that looks more like Mt. Everest on steroids. How does a woman like me go from not writing anything--zip, nada, zilch--to becoming a writer? Am I crazy? I only get five hours of sleep as it is.

How do I achieve my dream?


I looked on-line for advice from my favorite authors, starting with Susan May Warren. Amazingly, Susie was hosting her first StoryCrafters retreat in October 2009. Coincidence? Not with the God I serve. I took the leap and went.

I worked hard to get away. You know the drill. I arranged childcare for my four children, transportation to and from different schools, cooked meals, did laundry . . .

Phew! I got there.

I walked into the room and wanted to take 10 giant steps back. I was totally intimidated. Some of the attendees were (gulp!) published authors!

Well, I didn't flake out and I stayed in the room. I learned an incredible amount about writing that even I, the novice, could follow. I made some amazing friends, who shared great how-to tips and brainstormed ideas too! The prayer support? Totally out-of-this-world!

Now I'm facing the most difficult step: finding time to write.

Every day, sometimes every other day, sometimes every other week, I work toward my dream. The voices still talk to me throughout the day.

I'm not there yet. Oftentimes, I am my own worst critic. I get frustrated when I can't check off everything on my "To Do" list.

But I'm working on enjoying this writing journey--one step at a time.

Alena Tauriainen


  1. Alena, you so honestly describe the beginning of the writing journey for so many of us--and sometimes the middle part of it too, as we continue to pursue our dreams.
    I admire your courage--and I'm cheering you on!

  2. Like you said, Alena, one step at a time. Your babies are growing, and as they become more and more self-sufficient, you will find stolen moments to write. Maybe you could ask your hubby to give you three hours on Saturday mornings where he cares for the kids and you write. Many writers work only on weekends. Word by word, you will build your story. You will get there--one step at a time.

  3. Thanks so much! I'm so blessed by my Pondering buddies!

  4. I read about one woman who wrote her story sitting in her car during her lunch hour . . . and Jerry Jenkins used to write after his kids went to bed, sitting on the couch, with his typewriter--yes! typewriter!--balanced on a chair in front of him.

  5. Awesome post, Alena, you are so inspirational! If you write 15 words on your novel today, I will too!


  6. Ooh--a word count challenge. I'll see your 15 words and raise you 20!

  7. Hey Alena - wonderful post! Oh, I so empathize with that feeling of walking in the room at the first storycrafters retreat and mentally quaking. But I also remember 48 hours later wishing so strongly it wasn't over! Billboard moment: If you haven't had the chance to attend an MBT retreat, I highly, highly, highly recommend all three! Please note the three "highlys." Going for Bible-like emphasis here. ('Cause if something is repeated three times in the Bible, it's meant to perk you up, right? Triplicate, all the way!)

    And finding time...empathize with ya there, too, Alena. But I love Beth's comment about a woman writing in her car during lunch hour. I should try that...except that I have serious issues with spilling, so I'd either ruin my laptop or the interior of my car. Hehe...

  8. Alena, So great to open my computer this morning and find you here! And yes, it's one step at a time...and one word at a time! Even though I do think you took a great leap forward at the MBT retreat. I second Melissa's triplicate, Biblical recommendation for the retreats!

    A word count challenge? Seriously Beth? I'd jump in but last week when I was on a roll and boasted on Facebook about my good word count, my cousin responded for all the world to see that in an 8 hour day, my words per minute came out to around 7! Are you a really, really, really slow typist or just dumb? No, he didn't say it, but the critic sitting on my shoulder did. (And please notice how quickly I pick up writing tips, Melissa.)

    Seriously, folks, what suggestions do you have for busy mothers trying to find time to pursue their dream?

  9. Oh, Alena, I feel your pain...and your joy!
    As mother's we have to find those 15 minutes while waiting in the car for the kids, or right before we run out the door for some event. You might only get a sentence or two written...but...you...are...doing...it!!! And all the ponderers support your effort and we will be at the finish line cheering you on!

  10. Hi Alena. I found the MBT Ponderers blog last week, and now it's on my list of blogs to check each day! I empathize with you. Seriously. I've got a manuscript done and another started, but lately - I don't know if it's the summertime blahs, or what - I've hardly written anything. I do plan to attend ACFW, though. My wonderful husband said that no matter WHAT, he wanted me to attend. Thanks for voicing what I and so many others are going through right now!

  11. Beautifully expressed, Alena. Believing with you for special gift moments for you to record what's in your heart, like God leaving "handfuls on purpose" for Ruth as she gleaned in the field. You provide much to ponder, and I realized this morning that Mary, mother of Jesus, pondered many things in her heart....

  12. Wow, Delores. Not only an awesome analogy with the gleaning, but a Scriptural confirmation to ponder.

    Maybe we're not such rebels after all.

  13. Oh, this was good for me today. Working full time, with a big family, plus being a pastor's wife, it is difficult to fit the writing in. But...one step at a time is all it takes. Thank you for the reminder.

  14. Okay, Beth, I'll see you 20 and raise you...50!

    With Teri's calculations, that should take us...oh, shoot, I'm bad at math. 7 wpm, 50 words, so, a little over 7 minutes. I am SO in.

  15. Different seasons of life...it can be so frustrating when we're in one season, but long to be in another. Yet each season is contributing to who we are as writers. Even if you only write 20 (or 50!) words today, everything you experience today will influence the 50 words you write tomorrow!

  16. Alena! It is so good to see you here...I miss you, girl! I felt the same way walking into Storycrafter's...it was a bit overwhelming. But I was also happy to find that writers are like one big family, always happy to add one more.

    I think BUSYNESS can be the biggest hurdle to achieving any goal. And when I finally do find a few minutes to sit down, the pressure to be productive makes it tough to be creative. I do find it helps to begin every writing session (no matter how short) with prayer.

    Ava, I love what you said about our experiences today influencing our writing in the future. Beautiful and true!!

  17. Alena, your post reflects my life right now (except only the two kids..... oh, and haven't been to Storycrafters, YET). :) As another newbie writer, I, too, ponder where the time will come from to express these thoughts and voices in my head onto my computer screen. I'm beginning to see that as I consider the skeleton of my story, that ideas are taking root in my thoughts,and I'm just glimpsing the form of this tale. I'm even more excited to find a few moments to get them "on paper," so to speak. I trust that the Lord will show you those moments in your day that will become "your" moments for writing. Thanks for sharing your heart, Alena!

  18. So many wonderful thoughts to sift through.
    The reminder to pray over our writing--thank you, Heidi. I like to ask God to bless the work of my hands. (Psalm 90:17)
    And the importance of the encouragement of others--family and friends and other writers.
    And writing what we can, when we can--even if it's 50 words that we later edit down to 20. (Yeah, that's TEE talking!)
    The reality is, the more I focus on writing, the less I do other things. They are good things--but they take away from my limited writing time.

  19. Great post, Alena. I'm at the same place. It's so hard to carve writing time out of an overly busy life but so necessary for my emotional health.

  20. You go, Girl! Great post.

    Seems like it's always a struggle to find time to write. There's always something calling our name. So maybe we need to do like Susanna Wesley (mother to John and Charles Wesley). She birthed 19 children, 10 who lived past the age of 2. When she wanted peace and quiet to pray, she put her apron over her head as a signal for the children to be extra quiet. Maybe we need to find us an apron and try it with our writing. lol

  21. ooookay, wow, I so needed to hear this.
    I'm working long hours with my family business, and working with the church, kids, etc...you basically just wrote about my life, except I only have 2 kids, and STILL don't have time!

    I try and fit it into an hour in the morning, sometimes it works, sometimes it doesnt.

    THanks for sharing.

  22. I am determined to hand my ms off to my agent this week . . . but the time keeps slipping away . . . and I need to polish my chapters . . . and there are so many other things on my To Do list . . . Aarrgh!

  23. Alena, I walked into the bed and breakfast for the Deep Thinkers retreat and texted my husband a few minutes later--I'm made it here. Now I'm ready to come home.
    LOL. So I feel you on that one. But I'm glad we all stuck it out.
    As someone who works best (or at least most) under pressure, sometimes having a lot to do is a good thing. You can do it. I believe in you!

  24. My dear friend, Alena...you are a HUGE inspiration to me! I saw a sign the other day that said "Dreams define reality". Ha! I believe your dreams WILL BE your reality. Stay tuned to the "With God All Things Are Possible" Network. He placed this dream in you. Continue to enjoy the journey. Each bump in the road will only soar you higher! I pray for you and all your writting friends that God will make a way where there is no way! Di