Oh man, the last few weeks have been crazy-sauce! Christmas is without a doubt the busiest time of year for most people, but when your husband’s a worship leader life just gets a little nuts. All in all, the holiday was wonderful. We had so much fun watching our kids open their gifts and they seriously haven’t stopped playing with them since Christmas morning (which is why our living room has been Paw Patrol and American Girl central for 5 days and counting).
On top of all that, I had the pleasure of experiencing writer’s block. Guys, it’s the first time it happened to me, and worse, it happened during an editorial deadline. For nights I couldn’t sleep because I couldn’t figure out how to develop an aspect of the story line as my editor suggested within the confines of the word count my publisher set for me. And when I did sleep? I dreamed via Microsoft Word documents and text.
Yes, that’s how much I was staring at the screen and toiling over how to sneak in an extra conversation here or there or a dialogue that “digs deeper” emotionally. Pretty sure I cried a little trying to take the book apart, add a little, and zip it up together again. But in the end, I had a Eureka moment at 4:18AM on Thursday morning, and I woke up and got to work, finishing the edits just in the nick of time!
Funny enough, what got me through this writer’s block had nothing to do with the book. My problem ran much deeper.
You see, I’ve always been the type of person to keep my circles separate. I have my childhood friends, my church friends, my work friends, my publishing friends, my family, etc. I rarely let the lines cross, and if I do, I’m stressed out because due to circumstances beyond my control, I can’t always be my unguarded self within these groups without making waves that could honestly sink our boat.
Which is why I write under a pen name. It’s a choice I made out of respect for these varying groups, and it was my idea. But because of my decision, I feel as if I’m stuck in a tangled web. It’s hard for me to navigate the business because I want to be authentic, but when I’m doing it under a different name, I feel like it screams phony and all the while I do it I’m afraid i’m breaking egg shells. Don’t offend your church. Don’t offend your family. Don’t offend your friends… (Can y’all tell I’m plagued with being a people pleaser?)
The entire thing just exhausts me. And honestly, if I was writing a story about a character like me I know exactly where I’d make that character end up. So I may as well get to it and save myself from writing 83,000 words about a woman who goes on a quest and realizes that she just needs to be herself after hiking to some peak or running on the beach, etc (The beach idea does sound pretty nice though).
I am: A woman who will do anything for love and family. A woman who fiercely loves God and is so thankful for Jesus. A woman who votes blue. A woman who won’t let my health define me yet is forced to listen to her body every step of the day and change course the moment it waves a yellow flag. A woman who wants to use her writing to inspire and hopefully help some people too. A woman who is lost in her other chosen career field (Nursing). A woman who is dedicated to raising her children to be who they were created to be.
The people who love me will keep on loving me because of who I am. The people who love me will support my dream of seeing Lizzy Charles listed as a best selling author, even if they don’t fully agree with everything I’m about.
And as far as for me and that pen name? I’m so done keeping my lives separate. So prepare for the unfiltered, going both directions.
xoxo, all my names, all at once, all together. Me.