Writing Ugly

Day 7    15 Habits of Great Writers Challenge   The challenge: Make something ugly. And leave it ugly (temporarily). Be okay with it. Then share it with a few people you trust  and look for feedback. Find stuff you can improve and slowly move it towards beautiful.

This challenge goes along with the challenge I wrote about in the blog for the Day 3 Challenge.  In that challenge I stated that I would start writing the story I have promised to write for quite a while now.  Below you will find the first chapter.  I don’t have a title.  I have played with a couple, but haven’t found it yet.   Remember the challenge is to share it “ugly”.   I would love feedback.  Just be nice!  🙂


I was born with no sense of direction. Really, it’s true. Friends will tell you  when I say turn right, they are confident we need  to go left. I once gave someone directions to my office and they called an hour later 50 miles away.  Who would keep driving that long in the wrong direction?  I even get lost in the mall.  I think North is in front of me and East is to the right, etc. I don’t understand why that doesn’t work. It’s that way on a map.  I just hope we get some kind of Angelic escort to Heaven or I might be in trouble.

Maybe that is why I keep hitting roadblocks in my life. You know- the things that happen and stop us dead in our tracks. Sometimes we get some warning but other times they smack us right in the face.   Maybe roadblocks are necessary. Maybe they are there to give us a do over. It could be a way of making us stop and figure out if we want to keep going on this journey or change course. There were many times I should have turned around or taken another road, but I was too stubborn, too scared, or I just didn’t know I could make that choice.

It seems that I started hitting roadblocks even before I was born.  I have come to expect them as a part of life.  I believe most people encounter roadblocks in life.  It just seems that some have more than others do or they have better roadmaps to help them along the way.   I know so many people who have had big struggles and some very painful things in life. They have encountered the biggest obstacles and barricades imaginable. Some never get past it. They seem to get stuck in the bottomless pit of despair and desperation while others survive and thrive.

I have tried to figure out what makes the difference.  Is it faith in a Higher Power, or is it family, friends, a good psychiatrist or therapist? Do they eat more vegetables? I have some friends who will tell you, “You are what you eat.” Is there a genetic component to overcoming life challenges? I sometimes feel obsessed with trying to find an answer. There does seem to be one thing that the thrivers have in common.  It is finding someone or several “someones” who believed in them.  Someone who reached out their hand and helped pull them out of the pit.

I want to share my story and share those things and those “someones” that gave me hope and helped me thrive in this crazy life. I want to do this because I know there are others who may have lost hope or feel they have come to a dead end.  I want to do it because someone did it for me.  I remember reading every book I could find about people with childhoods of abuse and neglect. I just wanted to know that there was hope. The problem was that most of the books were about 400 pages and 375 were about the trauma while only 25 pages were about what helped and how they were able to move forward. I want my story to be just the opposite.

Telling your story is powerful.  It is remarkably healing for the teller. On June 10, 1991in South Lake Tahoe, California, 11 year old Jaycee Dugard was abducted while she was walking from home to a school bus stop. She was missing for more than 18 years. Law enforcement officers discovered that her abductor kept Jaycee locked in a concealed area behind his house for those years. She experience physical, sexual, and emotional abuse. During this time, she gave birth to two daughters who were aged 11 and 15 when she was found.  Jaycee said she was telling her story so that there are no more secrets.  “Why not look at it? You know, stare it down until it can’t scare you anymore,” she told a reporter in her interview.

But, the story isn’t about the gory details. It is about how you felt and how it affected your life. More importantly, it is about how you found healing.  It is about how you broke through those obstacles and climbed over the barricades. Who was that someone who saw you and reached out their hand?   Who better to help someone heal than someone who has shared that experience and found a way to survive? The facts will always be different but the feelings are the same.  Even if abuse and neglect haven’t been part of your life story, you will surely have encountered some roadblocks.  Perhaps you even had a special someone come along and help you along the way.  I certainly hope so.

2 responses

  1. I am with you on a lack of direction. We have lived in the same house for 30 years and I still have to step outside to figure out directions and still get it wrong.


  2. This made me think about the book I’m *trying* to write. It’s kind of ugly. You’re right to include how you’ve overcome those roadblocks.


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