Friday, June 9, 2017

Confessions of a Writer by Dawn Kinzer

Dawn Kinzer

When asked why we write, how often do we respond because I cant not write? That’s a valid reason. Many of us probably feel that way. We have a need to fulfill that creative part of our DNA. Of course, many of us also hunger to make a difference in someones life, and we hope our written words can somehow do just that.

But, I’ve recently recognized another purpose for me laboring over my stories. I’ll confess . . .

No—wait! Let me give you some backstory first.

The other day, one of my daughters called me, and the tone of her voice relayed she was close to tears. A friend had just confided in her that she didn’t know what to do. Her little girl—the same age as my granddaughter—had come home from a weekend visit with her father and his girlfriend with possible signs of sexual abuse. The mother had taken the toddler to a doctor, and with his report, had taken the father to court. But without more proof of what was going on, the mother was ordered to allow the father to continue seeing the child.

My daughter wanted to comfort her friend, but was also emotionally caught up in the horrific possibility of what the child might encounter during the visit.

“Mom, how did you do it? How did you listen to people’s stories and not fall apart?”

You see, I worked for a number of years as an advocate and support counselor for victims of sexual assault. Countless hours of training helped me learn how to separate myself from the pain I was hearing, while still caring for the women and girls who suffered.

I had to separate myself. With a personality profile of INFJ (Myer’s Briggs), it’s easy for me to take on another person’s pain as my own.  I couldn’t do that—be sucked into the experience to that degree—and be of any help.  Instead of drowning in pain along with those who had been abused, I had to remain in the lifeboat.

I’ll confess … I’m a closet control freak. I’m also a fixer. Without reminding myself of boundary issues—and the possibility of someone actually learning an important life skill—I’d be too quick to jump in and try to make everything better.

If I could, I’d control situations around me and make the world easier—happier—for everyone. The friend who has financial struggles would find long-term relief and no longer need to apply for food stamps. The mom who has to watch her little boy deal with cancer again would see her boy healed. A family member who has mental health issues would seek help. Broken relationships would be healed.

Sometimes not having control frustrates me, and not being able to fix things makes me sad. Sure, Im able to pray, offer encouragement, and even take action to help lighten the burdens they carry, but Im not able to free them completely.

Of course, when I write and create stories that have internal and external conflict, I take my characters on journeys where they face challenges and struggle. I pray that readers see themselves in my characters, as well as potential to grow and change. I remind them that God truly does want the best for them, even when it doesn’t always feel like it. My desire is that people feel inspired and filled with renewed hope.

One of the reasons I write? Regardless of what I put my characters through, I have the freedom and ability to control the outcome of a story. In a world filled with so much heartbreak, I can still share God’s constant love and desire to heal the wounded, and I can always give my characters a happily-ever-after.

What are some of the reasons you feel compelled to write? Have any surprised you?

In 1904, Hope Andrews, an aspiring fashion designer, struggles with leaving New York City. But with no job, her parents leaving the country, and an abusive ex-fiancĂ© refusing to accept their broken engagement, Hope doesn’t have much choice but to give in to her parents’ wishes that she move far away and live with her cousin indefinitely.

Talented Benjamin Greene can’t deny his passion for painting, but guilt over a painful incident in his past keeps him from sharing his gift. Instead, he devotes much of his days to helping his younger sibling rebuild a farm inherited from a great-uncle. Only his brother is aware that Ben spends his spare time in a studio on their property.

In the small rural town of Riverton, Wisconsin, Hope and Ben can’t help but be thrown together. But as feelings for each other deepen, tension thickens over how talent should be used. Their mutual passion for art brings them together, but will it also drive them apart?

Dawn Kinzer is a freelance editor, and her own work has been has been published in the Christian Fiction Online Magazine, Backyard Friends, The One Year Life Verse Devotional,  A Joyful Heart: Experiencing the Light of His Love, and featured numerous times on the radio ministry, The Heartbeat of the Home.  She co-hosts and writes for Seriously Write. Her personal blog, The Garden of Dreams, focuses on encouraging women to find purpose and pursue their dreams in the different seasons of their lives. Sarah’s Smile is the first book in her historical romance series The Daughters of Riverton, and Hope’s Design is the second.

A mother and grandmother, Dawn lives with her husband in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. Favorite things include dark chocolate, good wine, strong coffee, the mountains, family time, and Masterpiece Theatre.

You can connect and learn more about Dawn and her work by visiting these online sites: Author Website, Dawn’s Blog, Goodreads, Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram.