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When Will Jesse Be Ready?

  • July 2011

Jesse is a character in a book I’ve been working on for the past couple years. Actually, I haven’t been working on it lately; the story is stalled. Jesse is about to go on a life-changing quest. But he’s not ready.

Characters sometimes need a little push, a little guidance, but they won’t come until they are good and ready…or I am ready. Maybe a little of both.

My friend Julie is in a similar predicament. She’s still getting to know her novel’s main character, a young girl healing from an abusive situation. Julie had a feeling her character would need more than just the help of her kind aunts but she couldn’t quite figure out what this girl would respond to. Meanwhile, in real life, a horse camp opened just down the road. Julie volunteered. She’s learning how to groom and ride… and learning about the power of horses to heal. Chapter five, a year stagnate, is finally coming to light.

Our real-life stories don’t always develop the way we’d like nor at the pace we’d like either. Even real-life characters proclaim they aren’t ready yet. In real life, just as in novel writing, there is a fine balance between how much to push and guide and how much to let the characters grow into their own transformation that needs to take place. I am becoming a stepmom this year, to two girls ages 10 and 11. Those of you who are stepmoms need no explanation of what’s happening in our home. Let’s just say not everyone is ready for this story to be written. And yet, each day we write a page, ready or not. Good or bad. Joyous or sad. Peaceful or painful. And with each page I slowly but surely see a change in color, a passing of one season to the next on our amazing, blessing-filled journey. In real life, the metamorphic quest continues even when someone is kicking and screaming. And perhaps it’s the place where we meet the most resistance that we grow into the person we were meant to be.

Come on, Jesse. We’re writing a page today. You might not feel ready yet. There is more in life for both of us to learn in order for the full story to be told, but today we can write one page. The quest begins, ready or not.

Karen’s life experience is intertwined with her roles as a wife, mom, stepmom, writer, publisher, photographer, traveler, and woman of faith. All these elements tend to make their way into her blog posts.

“Writers have to write. It’s something deep inside us that pushes and pushes until we let it out. It’s part of the air we breathe, this need to make sense of the world around us and to somehow find the right words to express and influence the way we each feel and interact and love and live.”—Writing is Risky Business