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Writing for Wonder and Joy


By Jackie Lea Sommers on Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Six years ago I got my first book deal. I also had my first panic attack. Publishing was very hard for me, almost every single step. 

So hard, in fact, that I had a long crisis of identity about whether I even wanted to be an author.

The first part that returned to me was the writing.

I knew I wanted to write. It took far longer to determine if I wanted to publish. Longer still to actually break through the wall of fear and get back to the work of writing. And then finally, finally: enjoying the writing.

Will, then healing, then work, then wonder.

Wonder came first, originally. First and second and third and last. All of it was wonder: the sheer thrill of creation, the rush of creativity, and the power of decisions. Even the will and the work were, ultimately, chalked up to wonder.

So I’ve been on a journey back to that. To loving the work I'm called to. To gratefully crafting the world and characters who will never be as perfect on paper as they are in my head. To remembering that writing is also for me.

In fact, to writing with joy, knowing that the writing itself must be the reward. It's the question I've come back to over and over again in my life: if you knew you would not get published, would you still write?

Yes.

So here's to six years of ups and downs, lessons upon lessons. Here's to wonder and joy.

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We look forward to welcoming you back to Northwestern as we plan to resume on-campus, in-person classes for the fall 2020 semester.

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