Tuesday, April 17, 2012


It started as just an idea, a fun project that I would try to follow through for a month, when Sarah Briggs suggested it so long ago. Now here I am two years later, still logging onto blogger, posting pictures and writing about life.

When I was taking writing classes from Heather Sellers back at Hope College she would compare writing to baseball. If you hit the ball three times for every ten pitches then you have an excellent batting average. For some reason, as writers we expect all of our work to be great and inspirational every time we sit down with a pen or at the keyboard. But, Heather would tell us, we should hold ourselves to the same standards as baseball players and cut ourselves some slack.

We're not looking for perfection everyday, that's impossible. If we write something good three out of every ten days that would be exceptional. We must train ourselves to write every day and hope that every once in awhile we will hit a home run. So two years later I'm still writing. Some days it's junk and I don't want to click Publish Post. Other days people tell me things like, "You're so the next Shauna," and it makes me want to write again the next day.

"There is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it's just not that good. It's trying to be good, it has potential, but it's not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn't have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. 

And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is to do a lot of work. Put yourself  on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It's only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap and your work will be as good as your ambitions and I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I've ever met. It's gonna take awhile. It's normal to take awhile. You've gotta fight your way through." Ira Glass


Benchmarks, like completing year number two of blogging, are exciting.  And having this audience has pushed me further than writing on my own ever would have done. Thank you for reading, for commenting, for giving me something to write about. Thank you for sharing your stories, letting me take your picture, giving the link to your friends to read. Thank you for telling me that what I'm creating here matters to you and you want me to keep going.

And I'm not sure how it happened, but today is not only the marker of year two on the blog, but is also the day I finished my giant revision of all my camp chapters. This feels like a big day. Some of the camp stories are published on here and some are still just files saved to my computer. I've read and revised and edited and re-written them. And now all those little stories of campers and mud hikes and campfires and devotions have become something real and tangible. I'm figuring out the next step, but if this is as far as it goes the process of writing and creating a book about camp has been worth it.

But there is still more to write. I want to record more camp stories in a way that brings them to life on the page. Being a counselor and loving camp so much is something that is nearly impossible to articulate to someone who hasn't been there. But I'm trying to do just that and soon I will have another summer to write about. I wish I would have started earlier so I wouldn't leave anything out.

And there is definitely more to document on Overlap. In Donald Miller's "A Million Miles In A Thousand Years" he shares a story about a friend that writes down everything he does so that one day he'll be able to pull out his journal when he meets God and have so much to talk about. A friend of mine told me once that I'll be able to pull up Overlap when I meet God face to face and talk about everything I've documented here. I like that plan. I'll tell him about all of you.

And I keep documenting because I don't want to forget anything. If life is a collection of moments I want to hold onto as many as I can. So much has happened in the past year-- I became an Aunt, did another summer of CILTs with some incredible counselors and campers, switched apartments and roommates,  led Young Life/FBC/bible study, taught a few hundred Junior High kids, and traveled the Midwest to visit friends. It's exciting knowing that so much is going to happen in this upcoming year that I can't even imagine yet.

I want to keep overlapping and making friendships a priority. It's my family, my friends, my YL team and YL girls, my students, my campers, my co-counselors, my Hope friends, my bible study girls, my roommates who all together create this giant web of people I care about. Thank you for being part of it in all the ways you fit in.

Year 3, here we go.

1 comment:

  1. Sarah W.. we are all so proud of you for the perseverance, diligence, creativity, passion, love, and insight that you pour into your overlap blog..it continually delights and inspires your audience. Heres to another outstanding year of "overlap-ness"!