My whole life I have had this strange habit.
I was often embarrassed by it.
I thought it was weird.
I have even thought at times I was a bit crazy for doing it.
It started off one summer when my friend Jayme and I got this wild hair to write a novel. Basically it became a knock off of North and South by John Jakes and these cheesy Swept Away teen novels we were obsessed with reading. We were two bored pre-teen girls with no formal creative outlet. We also more than likely didn’t understand the definition of plagiarism.
Long after our idea died in the spiral notebook under my bed, I continued the practice of developing potential character profiles. This came from interesting teachers, experiences, and one insane imagination colored vividly by junior high life.
But the strange part is as I grew older, I kept doing it.
I never outgrew this habit.
I kept up the practice through the years in my journals and notebooks.
A few years ago, I formalized the process more and moved on to index cards and tear off sheets of paper. This year I had to get a box for all of them.
Cranky lady with the wild hair in the grocery store parking lot? She gets a card.
The smell of Baby Soft perfume and talcum powder reminding me of my grandmother’s bedroom? A card.
Outlandish ideas about plots and scenerios while I’m daydreaming in line at the bank? A card.
Fast forward to today. I have discovered a true passion, buried deep within myself.
I am a writer.
I’m not just a sometimes blogger or social media junkie. I’m not only a grant writer or presenter through my professional career.
I am a writer.
I have to write it and say it to myself. Everyday. I write it and say it to myself everyday because I am fighting to make it true in my heart and head. You see with God’s help and with the support of my family and friends, I recently started working on what I have always dreamed about writing.
I love it. I am a sucker for a good story. I love making up characters, putting them in tough situations, and then giving them problems to figure out.
Which brings me back to my crazy index card ritual. Turns out, it isn’t so crazy. Turns out, there is an actual term for it. I know because after three conversations with different creative friends in the last few weeks, they named it for me.
Fodder? What the heck is fodder?
I had to Google it. Don’t laugh. I had no clue and I didn’t want to look stupid in front of them. Remember, I’ve spent the last eighteen years in the nonprofit sector.
There it was in black and white:
Fodder: Raw material, as for artistic creation.
Holy God! For the love of fodder I’m not crazy!
So why does this matter? Big deal Julie. You keep ramblings and notes on index cards.
It matters to me because this little discovery—along with others I hope to share with you over time—gave me the validation that I needed. It showed me that I already possessed a natural bent for writing fiction. It has been buried deep inside, but it has been begging to come out. For years.
I may be green to the formal process and have no clue what it takes to write professionally, but that is OK. Even now as I write this, I am freaking out at how many people will read my post and think who does she think she is? They will find everything wrong with my mechanics and blow me off as yet another suburban mom pushing forty who says she wants to be a writer.
Rediscovering Your Lost Creative Passion
Right now I am just rediscovering and enjoying the process of writing stories for myself. I’m also overjoyed that this little practice of mine of collecting fodder (like how I worked that in?) is nothing I should be ashamed of.
I’m letting you know this for a couple of reasons.
Maybe some of you need to rediscover a creative passion you have buried deep.
Someone in your past told you shouldn’t write, paint, sculpt, design or whatever because it wasn’t practical.
Or maybe by creating art it became too truthful for you and you got scared by what others would think. You visualize them even now rolling their eyes at the thought of YOU thinking that you have what it takes to create something of value.
Just like my friends have been supporting my rediscovered dream, I’m going to validate you.
To hell with whoever told you can’t or shouldn’t create.
Quit thinking you’re not normal by your quirky creative habits or your insightful view of the world.
Start today by asking God to give you the courage to do whatever it is that you left behind long ago and begin.
Whatever it is. Do it.
Do it now.
Let me know how it goes. I may use it in my fodder box for one of my stories.
*Special thanks to Nancy for nudging me back to the blog this week. One does feed the other. She is wise. Also, thanks to my friend Jayme for not killing me for posting this picture and being one of the first creative souls to ever inspire me.