Anne Peterson

Healing words for wounded souls.

Go Ahead. Jump.

I am participating in the Writing Contest: How Writing has Positively Influenced my Life, hosted by Positive Writer.

I still remember shaking. I was sixteen in gym class and we were told to line up at the deep end. We were to jump in. Me, who had never been in deep water. 

And I did it. 

Fast forward, never mind how many years. 

I started shaking again. I was taking part in a writing course called Tribe Writers by Jeff Goins. The assignment was to write something scary. I had spent most of my life controlled by fear and now I was to walk into it?

I didn’t think I could do it. With panic, I pushed out the words and sat before the submit button for about an hour. That was even longer than when I signed up for the course. 

And as soon as I hit submit, negative questions bombarded me, all in my own voice:

What were you thinking?

Are you crazy?



What will they think of you?

My desire to finish the course propelled me forward past my fears.

So what happened?

Instead of feeling like I was crazy, I felt validated. And instead of feeling all alone, I found others who resonated with what I wrote.

But the biggest surprise? I wanted to do it again.

I learned I couldn’t just wait for my fears to subside. If I did, I’d never write.

The real test

In 2014, I had the ultimate test. I wrote my memoir. One of the scariest stories I ever lived. While I started out writing about my sister’s death to domestic violence, I felt a nudging to write my story as well. So, Broken: A Story of Abuse and Survival was written.

Broken Cover_r400Could this be why I had to go through all those scary assignments? In one word, yes.

But could I do it? What would people think? I had been learning to deal with hard questions before. I knew there would be some people who might not like it. And that was okay because I’m not writing for everyone.

So I opened up my heart and wrote the scary stuff. The story of being physically abused as a child, the struggles in our marriage, I told it all. My life between the pages of a book for all the world to see.

At first I wanted to run and hide. I felt completely exposed, and I don’t mean like those dreams you have when you go to school and you’re in your underwear. No. Really exposed.

And then I started getting feedback. People thanked me for my transparency, some told me the book helped them.

I sighed. I did it.

I don’t write merely because I love making words dance across the paper. Although I do enjoy doing that.

I write because, for me, writing is like breathing. I have to write.

You might be wondering when my fears subsided. When did it get easier? And the answer is, after I hit send.

Does that mean I won’t be afraid anymore?

No. I just handed my book to someone. Someone who could hate it. Someone who might think I should never have written it. And you know what? I’m okay with that.

There will always be fear when we write what matters. But there is freedom too. And sometimes there are hidden surprises.

Beneath the pain

EMMA'S WISH NEW front cover_r400Little did I know what would happen next. For in writing the scary stuff, I had unlocked what was inside of me, under the pain. And children’s stories started flowing out of me.

I wrote Emma’s Wish, The Crooked House, Lulu’s Lunch, Sonny Follows His Heart, and soon to be released, Make Believe, Volume one and Volume Two. Along with twenty more, yet to be published!

Maybe you have a story inside of you too. Even a scary one. Let me just tell you this, it will be worth it. Take a step and write that first sentence.

 Don’t worry if you’re shaking, in fact, expect it. That means what you have to share has value.

I never did love swimming, even though I was told I would if I was willing to jump off the deep end. But writing the scary stuff is different.

Go ahead. Jump.

About Anne Peterson

I write words you can feel, sometimes they rhyme. If I'm not writing, I'm telling stories from my head, to little ones who call me grandma.

10 Replies

  1. Anne, what an inspiration you are! Thank you for writing your story and hitting send to the world. I love how releasing the past through your book allowed your children’s stories to flow out freely. Blessings to you as you continue to dive in, again and again!

    1. annepeterson987@gmail.com

      Aimee,
      Thanks so much for reading and for your comments. The funny thing is, I didn’t know that would happen when I decided to write my memoir. I was just doing what I felt led to do. And now, because I was willing to walk into that pain I am feeling such joy and I mean really feeling it.

  2. Anne, this post will surely encourage other members of our Christian Poets & Writers group on Facebook, so I’ll highlight it on the Christian Poets & Writers blog – http://christianpoetsandwriters.com. God bless you and all you do in Jesus’ Name.

    1. annepeterson987@gmail.com

      Thank you Mary. I appreciate that. I wonder how many others may be holding back because of fear. Maybe someone will see there could be something on the other side. I just can’t believe how fully I am feeling everything because I embraced my pain. God truly is the great healer.

  3. Barb Molitoris

    We have been called by God to use our gifts and talents for Him! You have been called to share yours in writing! We all need to explore how God has called us to use our gifts and talents!
    2 Corinthians 1:3-4 3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.
    As Paul told many of the saints, I thank God for you and pray for you continuously!

    1. annepeterson987@gmail.com

      Barb,

      Yes, we are called to use our gifts. I agree we should explore how we are to do that.I think it’s a privilege to use our gifts to edify or build up the saints. I once told someone I felt privileged that God would give me poetry to share, but honestly I didn’t know why He would choose me. And they looked at me and said, “Because he knew you’d share it.”

      You’re an encouragement Barb. Thank you for reading and for your comments.

  4. What a wonderful story Anne. I think many of us memoir writers write to share our stories in hopes of enlightening others, but also the value in how cathartic it can be is priceless. 🙂

    1. annepeterson987@gmail.com

      Debby,
      Thanks for reading. I think you’re right. We set out to enlighten and encourage and then one of the great side benefits is the healing that takes place inside of us. I truly did not expect what I’ve gotten in return. And the emails I receive from some of my writing are so encouraging. When we risk being vulnerable it’s a win/win, albeit difficult at times.

  5. HI Anne. Great post! I look forward to reading your book (in my TBR). I think all memoir writers are ‘stagefright’ at first when publishing our personal truths and traumas. We worry about who is going to read it, and it’s so gratifying to find that our work resonates with readers, whether something they can identify with, or take lessons from. And we all have to learn that not all books will not be of interest to all people. 🙂

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