Emotional Evolution & Spiritual Growth / Self-Help / Writing

A 12-STEP Approach to 50 SHADES of TRUTH

I stood before them, fidgeting with the pen I still held in my hand, “Hi, my name is Susan.”

“Hi, Susan,” they all said in unison.

“I have a confession to make.” Curiosity lifted into the air above them, so high it bounced back down off the ceiling, making two or three attendees straighten themselves in their chairs. I took in a deep breath and set free the words from my mouth. “I’m a writer.”

Gentle laughter and applause erupted in the room. Welcoming smiles reflected back at me. Within seconds, I relaxed my stance and let out a sigh of relief.

Admit you have a problem

You’d think after putting the pen down only yesterday afternoon, after writing 72,000 words over the past two months, that I’d need a break from writing today. You’d think I’d feel satisfied writing the first draft of what might become my first book, when as of three months ago, the longest complete story I’d ever written amounted to 500 words of flash fiction or perhaps 1500 words of personal essay.

And yet, I picked up the pen today.


Because I write. It’s what I love to do.


Because I am a writer.


Because I write.

Write and Bleed

I’ve no idea if this first pebble tossed in the pond will amount to anything. It’ll require a second draft, probably a third, and possibly many more after that to snap it into shape. It’s a true story, as true as any we are capable of spinning about our own lives, which means I’ll stew over which lens I wish to use to tell this story. My own lens has changed over time, which is a blessing because initially it was fiery red and edged in deep ocean blue. The combination was too dark, so dark that I could hardly see well enough to write objectively about what lay right before my eyes.

At this moment, the first draft has everything I want to say, everything I’ve dared to say–to others and to myself. I’ll treasure this first draft and keep it tucked away in raw form forever. It has been my personal therapy.

And then, I’ll work on the second draft. I’ll chop it up extensively, I’m quite sure. I’ll add to it as well. I’ll analyze it from every angle, consider its every message, seek out its every truth. And, from there, maybe–only maybe–will I share it with someone else. I’ll have to decide if it has enough substance to be of value to someone else.

It may not. I’m okay with that.

It was never about me proving I could write something lengthy, something with a focused story line, though I’m pleased I have.

It was never about speaking my truth to the world, so I might feel better about myself, though I do in fact feel better after writing it.

It was only about getting it all down on paper before my memory eluded me and all the important lessons were lost along the way. There’s plenty I’m still figuring out, by the way, thanks to the opportunity I’ve given myself to dig deeper than would have ever been possible had I just sat around and thought really hard.

not pooping just thinking

It all started with telling a story, and deciding first and foremost between it being a tragedy or a hero’s journey. I chose the latter.

12 Steps of a Heros Journey

7 thoughts on “A 12-STEP Approach to 50 SHADES of TRUTH

  1. Congratulations on completing what, I’m told, is the most difficult portion of the journey. What you’ve accomplished (at blinding speed) requires much more than creativity and command of the language. Words like guts, perseverance, and raw willpower come to mind. Onward!

    • Thanks so much, Ken. That’s highly flattering, especially coming from you. Those would all be words I wouldn’t mind on my tombstone. “She had guts, perseverance, and raw willpower.” Now, all I have to do is keep living up to them. 🙂

  2. Love reading anything on writing that writers use as personal therapy. I have been writing constantly since about 1998. Never managed to assemble it all into a book although I have reams and reams of part books strewn across two computers. It sounds like you have gone a long way along the path already. Love the Hemmingway quote! I recently stared DBC Pierre’s book on writing Releasing the Bats and its a well expressed take on all the things that can stand in the writers way as well as giving insights into his own thoughts and process.

    • I’ve only been writing creatively since 2008, and writing for healing probably since 2011 when I started this blog. Writing for healing has definitely been my biggest motivation for writing. I guess in that sense I’m grateful for the pain I’ve been through. I’ve bookmarked Pierre’s book since you’ve mentioned it and will give it a peek. Thanks!

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