Photo of cloud-covered eclipse as a reminder to keep the faith in your murky writing projects

1 Question to Help You Keep the Faith In Your Writing Projects

One week before our flight, a weather forecaster said traveling for the eclipse was futile, given the predicted cloud cover. 

Every time I saw a dismal forecast, I reminded myself to keep the faith because the experience would be good no matter what happened. That’s because both my husband and I felt called to Kerrville, Texas.

I secretly believed the call signaled a birthday “clear skies” miracle was about to occur–one that would gift me an extended, perfect view of totality much like I’d had in 2017.

But the forecast wasn’t our only obstacle. 

San Antonio news sites promised horrific gridlock scenarios for eclipse watchers heading to Kerrville and all points west. Marquees instructed us to arrive early, stay put, and leave late.

We departed from San Antonio at 7:00 AM. After a peaceful drive to Louise Hay Park, the site of the Eclipse Festival, we experienced a hopeful break in the clouds. 

Sun shined on the field as astronauts and astronomers spoke of the miracle of totality, and how so many things must come together to make it happen, including the size, position, and distance of the sun from the moon and the Earth. 

Change one variable and totality wouldn’t occur.  

As eclipse time neared, more clouds rolled in. Despite the ones feathering the sky, we caught glimpses of the first dot, then a Pacman shape, and finally the shrinking crescent. 

As the shadow covered the final slice of sun, the temperature dropped. The light shifted from pale blue to sepia. Darkness fell. The first diamond appeared. The crowd erupted as we marveled at the hazy but visible corona. 

I squeezed my husband’s hand as we looked up and cheered. My birthday gift had arrived! 

Then a thick blanket of clouds blocked our view. 

Cheers fell to whispers of, “Come back, come back.” We waited, hoping for another glimpse, until light on the horizon signaled that totality was over. 

Disappointed travelers packed up as the Nashville folk band, Judah and The Lion, took the stage.

While I tried to ride the high of what I’d witnessed, I too wanted more. 

Half-listening to the band, I jotted notes in my journal.

I felt an inner tug during the first few chords of “Beautiful Anyway,” a song about the mental health struggles and isolation many dealt with during the COVID-19 lockdown.

The still, small voice in me said, “This.” I dropped my pen and let the lyrics about having a purpose and being known and loved wash over me. Tears followed. I’d found my reason for coming to Kerrville. 

Minutes later, I wrote about how sometimes the miracle is all around you and not in the far-off places you’re looking for.

It’s the same way with our stories.

Sometimes, we work so hard to force them into being, or we get caught up in what they should look like or the story they should tell, that we forget to pay attention to the parting of the inner clouds that offer a glimpse into an emotional truth that helps us feel known and loved.

But how do you make room for your story to simply be?

I wish there was a five-bullet list you could use to do this, but it can look so many ways—from the inner work needed to let go of expectations or confront the stories you’re holding onto to outer choices around whether to show up, or how you show up, or where you place your focus.

All I can tell you is to keep your pen handy and remain open to what the moment is trying to tell you. 

While you do this, look over past writing projects or journal entries and ask yourself the following question: What’s one part of you this project helped you know and love? Use the answer to keep the faith until your next insight arrives. 

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