This week I'm finishing an online challenge to not only enjoy life more but to also love myself more. The online support group of women has been awesome and some of the group even decided that we don't want to stop this great support so they have started another FB group to continue to encourage each other on our journeys! It's been amazingly refreshing really.
Reading and sharing with strangers all our fears, doubts, joys, triumphs, and uncertainties has made me feel connected in a way I haven’t felt with some of my friends or family as of late. I can voice my honest opinion to people and not be seen as being a drama queen, but feel genuinely heard.
In being heard, I feel as if I've found my voice again….not that I lost it, it’s been in me, but it’s now me letting it out. It’s also me going inward and deciding what I really want this voice to sound like to the rest of the world.
I realized that my characters have been putting my voice out there for years now. They have been the mouthpiece for which I feel comfortable saying what my doubts and fears are; what my internal struggles are. When Avery didn't feel ready to open up…that was me. When Myra struggled with trusting again…that was me. And when Noelle said ‘no more’ to a life of being small…that was me as well.
I love writing strong female characters that go after what they want in life, they don’t just sit back and dream and hope…they do, they make changes and take risks and bask in the joy and freedom of going for it!
I've also realized that in living through my characters that I wasn't totally living myself. In some ways, I have been inspired by these characters to try new things, to trust, to know when it’s not worth the drama to give your all for nothing in return. This week’s online challenge helped me see I’m tired of living behind some words on a paper.
The Amy O’Neill that released FINDING HOME was going for it! I didn't care what people thought or anything; I followed my passion with abandon and reaped the rewards of making a dream a reality. Over these last few years, I forgot about that ‘going for it’ and saw it as a job to do. The passion began to die.
There you have it…no BS, no excuses….I’m realizing it as I’m typing this. My passion became work and it began to die. But I don’t want it to die…not at all any more in the least bit.
When someone asks me about myself I love saying “I’m a writer”…I feel those words in the marrow of my bones, from the center of my soul I feel them. Not just a romance writer or a chick lit writer, but a writer….an expresser through words, a painter of print….I AM A WRITER.
Yes, I hope to always write romance. I love the coming together of two people, the fire and fun, the steam and sweetness. Romance has always been my first love.
But I don’t want to just see myself as just that - a romance writer. Not at all. I want to be a writer of women who find their voices, who forge ahead into the unknown, who trust without reason and who believe and have faith that all will work out as it should.
I want to write these women because I am that woman. It’s taken me 37 years to embrace that I don’t know the future nor can I control it. And there really is beauty is releasing a false hold on that control. I don’t know if fans will like my writing, or what I do or don’t post on Facebook/Twitter/Instagram. All I know is that I have struggled to let my voice be heard. I have stifled my own sounds to please the ears of others and I can’t do that anymore.
My characters, their stories - MY STORY - need to be heard and felt. I hope my readers find a kindred spirit in the pages of my books. I pray my heroines are women they would be proud to call friend, sister, or self.