Jodi Gibson, writer and blogger, has stepped into the attic today. I found myself nodding all the way through Jodi’s piece and wanted to underline so many of her sentences. I relate to what she says about blogging, about how it changed her life. It does; it’s like having a friend to talk to.
‘My blog re-introduced me to writing. It allowed my thoughts to percolate on the screen in front of me. Whether I pushed publish or not, my blog gave me permission to write what was in my head no matter how weird or wonderful. .’
Jodi is a writer of women’s contemporary fiction with three manuscripts under her belt. One of which is in the latter stages of polishing in readiness for submitting to agents and publishers. Jodi lives in regional Victoria on a mini-farm with her husband, daughters, dogs, cat, horse, and chickens. When she’s not wrangling words, you’ll find her with her nose in a good book (life’s too short for bad books), or in the kitchen baking while dreaming of her next traveling adventure. She’s active on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and her website, where you’ll find her blogging about—of course—books and writing.
Jodi Gibson: Finding my place in the world
I’m a true believer that we all have a place in the world, but it can be an aimless journey trying to find where that is. Some plod along in life happy to see where it takes them. Others carry a sense of feeling incomplete, unable to put their finger on why. Until recently, that was me.
Although I enjoyed writing as a child—I still remember one of my very first stories about a young girl who finds a unicorn living on the hill behind her house—I didn’t grow up dreaming of being a writer.
I strayed more towards the performing arts where I could inhabit a character. As a shy introvert, it was where I felt most comfortable. Which sounds odd, but I found it easier to pretend to be someone else rather than myself. (I’m sure a psychologist would have a field day with that statement!)
As I moved through the last years of high school, it became evident that no one pursued a career in the arts. Or so my career’s advisor told me. We were expected to aim for greater heights of academia. So, like so many other creatives who had no idea what they wanted to do, I chose teaching.
But life works in mysterious ways, and after the death of my mother when I was almost 16, my life path was re-routed. I didn’t follow performing arts or writing, but instead fell into full time employment in administration.
‘Throughout my tumultuous teen years and into those early years of adulthood, I found that writing was my best confidant.’
Throughout my tumultuous teen years and into those early years of adulthood, I found that writing was my best confidant. I wrote in my diary every day, although it was more like a journal. A place to record daily events, yes, but also a place to spill my thoughts, dreams, hopes and my fleeting obsession with poetry and lyrics. Writing was cathartic and, only when I was writing did I feel most like my true self.
Fast forward almost twenty years, two marriages, two step-daughters, and two daughters later, and I found myself where many women approaching the age of forty do—wondering if there was more to life. I still felt like something was missing. Like I hadn’t yet found my place in the world.
I’d been successful in my jobs but never fully satisfied. Motherhood and marriage were fulfilling but, still, something gnawed at me. There was a gentle whisper so quiet I couldn’t hear it, but I knew it was constantly trying to tell me something.
‘There was a gentle whisper so quiet I couldn’t hear it, but I knew it was constantly trying to tell me something.’
It wasn’t until 2010, when I began blogging, that things began to change.
I’d been a part of the online world through my social media consulting business, and it seemed everyone was blogging. So, I gave it a try.
I credit my blog(s)—there’s been a few!—with changing my life.
My blog re-introduced me to writing. It allowed my thoughts to percolate on the screen in front of me. Whether I pushed publish or not, my blog gave me permission to write what was in my head no matter how weird or wonderful. And the power of words hit me full force. I felt at home when I was writing. As if the gnawing feeling was now free and floating throughout me with abundant joy.
‘I felt at home when I was writing.’
It was also around this time that I began writing creatively. A story that had long been in my head, building and building over time. Before, I’d had no idea what to do with that story, but now I knew—I had to write it.
Of course, I had no idea what I was doing, and reading back on it now, you’d think I’d cringe at those words. But I don’t. It was the beginning. The beginning of finding my place in the world.
One story turned into two. And blogging turned into a career in writing. I completed a few online writing courses and began writing freelance articles, which then turned into copywriting.
Still, the words and stories came.
I’d look forward to sitting down at the keyboard and writing. I experienced a calmness when I did. A wholeness. A completeness. Had I found my place?
Over the last two years, I decided I was ready to call myself a writer and pursue creative writing as a career. And when I did, it felt like the most natural thing in the world. Like it was meant to be.
I was meant to write. To tell stories. To bring characters to life. It was empowering. Freeing. Fulfilling.
‘The more I became associated with the writing community, the more I felt at home. Like I’d found my people.’
The more I became associated with the writing community, the more I felt at home. Like I’d found my people. Those crazy people who have wild imaginations filled with characters and stories, and the urge to explore them. Those who value the written word with integrity and affection. Just like me.
I’m not sure where this latest path will take me. Whether one day it will lead to calling myself a published author or not, but one thing is certain—I will always write. It is who I am, and what I do. It has given the shy, introverted young me a strength and confidence that I never imagined. Writing has given me purpose.
And although I know writing isn’t everything, I realise it is etched in my DNA. Each day I sit down to write brings with it a calm contentment like nothing else. Even on the days the words don’t flow (which can be too often sometimes!).
So finally, at the age of 41, I think I’ve found my place in the world—as a writer.
If you’d like to write a personal essay for Writers in the Attic, please contact me here. The topic is fairly broad—anything to do with writing, your writing life or what writing means to you. 600-1000 words is a good length.
I acknowledge the time and effort involved in writing these pieces by sending a small gift as a thank you.
You don’t have to be a writer, just love writing. I love reading every essay I receive, so please don’t be frightened to take the plunge!