a long-awaited update on writing + nursing

Where to even begin?

Hi. Hello. It’s been a while. To catch you up to speed — Reader’s Digest version — the first year I was navigating a fast-track nursing program through a pandemic. The second year, I was experiencing the *special* brand of intensity that is new grad nursing in the Medical ICU, where you’re thrown to the wolves a little but at least surrounded by the best team in the biz. I love my job. It’s what I was born to do. And yet, now it’s time to reckon with the fact that we are living, breathing beings created in the likeness of God… complex, multifaceted, and sometimes possessing TWO callings if we’re lucky.

In short, it’s time to pick the pen back up again.

So how did we get here?

As many of you know, about five years ago I was doing some good ol’ fashioned vision boarding. One of the questions I was working through asked if I could be doing anything in five years, time/money/circumstances not a factor, what would I be doing? And to my absolute surprise and almost disdain, the clear answer was to be a nurse. It’s not exactly out of left field because I’ve always loved medicine, from the illustrated babysitter’s first aid manual I memorized from my mom’s Discovery Toys kit to staying up late to watch Rescue 911 being my primary reward system in elementary school. And yet it was.

I had just published my first book and was working hard on my second. I had small children at home, an English degree, no medical experience, and 8 classes required before I could apply. Not only had I not taken a science class in 17 years, but I’d already attempted to do prereqs for physical therapy school after graduating with my first degree and dropped out.

Within a few days, I saw this video and it floored me. It was the impetus that had me signing up for my first prerequisite, general chemistry, on the literal last day to sign up for classes. It became the symbol of my why: a calling to sit with people in the midst of their trauma, do something about my love for medicine, and use my God-given communication and organizational skills in a new light (perhaps the only overlap between these two worlds).

Starting a new career in my mid-30s as a mom helped me keep perspective, too. Despite the emotion in the video, there is very little glamour in nursing. It sometimes requires sacrificing one’s deepest emotional, physical, and intellectual energy, and you definitely have to have a solid reason and calling to sustain your ability to do it. I’ve been asked what I love most about nursing, and my top answers are: working with an amazing team, the combination of problem solving and learned instinct that must be engaged to help patients, and the honor of working in heaven’s waiting room — getting to support the families and the patients on the worst days of their lives in that sacred in-between.

Through this process, I’ve asked God if he wanted me to give up writing, for good, and the answer has always been no. But the reality of what I’ve seen and done necessitated some time off and also sent me into a kind of survival mode in which every ounce of energy has gone to either my family or to various forms of rest. I needed to get to a point where I could re-engage that part of my brain where writing lives.

And I’m finally here.

After attending the Art of Writing conference 2 months ago, I’m beginning the process of re-remembering everything I’ve forgotten, re-learning an industry that’s changed so much since I’ve been “away,” and reacquainting myself with the characters who have been patiently tapping away at my idea center this whole time. My planner and I are also getting reacquainted as I move from “surviving to thriving,” in writing, health, relationships, and other areas of life outside of work. I will be sharing that all here and on Instagram.

But you must be here to hear about the writing.

I have a full-length novel written pre-nursing school that’s ready for a final read-through, proposal write-up, and ship to my agent. If I remembered how to write back-cover copy, I’d share that right now. But it’s a third-person, dual POV romance with a foodie slant that tells the story of Luke and Brenna, who fell in love on the set of a cooking competition, had a horrible public break-up due to circumstances you’ll find out when you read it. Now, they must overcome what happened in the past to cook together on a social media fundraising campaign that will salvage Luke’s flood-ravaged Texas Hill Country farm community and enable Brenna to legally adopt the niece she’s been raising for three years.

Lots of history, lots of complicated family dynamics, and lots of angst, in my books’ typical fashion. But also lots of evidence that hope and redemption can climb the highest hills of doubt working against them. Brenna’s sister’s story is the next one getting me back on the bike.

If you’ve read this far, thank you!

Appreciate you being part of this journey, being interested in this ultimate plot twist and my first big act of life-changing obedience. Wherever my writing career takes me, whatever this space looks like, the community will always be my favorite part.

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  • Nike Bentley says:

    I CAN’T WAIT! What a wild ride obedience has taken you on. I’m proud of you and honored to journey alongside from afar. Cheering you on!

  • Janie Bates says:

    Love love love what I’m reading! Keep it up and I can’t wait to hear more from you on your blog! Congrats on not only surviving a career change but thriving in the field of nursing during which undoubtedly has been one of the most unique of times considering the drama of a global pandemic! You’re made for nursing and I’m so glad you have chosen the pink palace in which to “hang your cap.”

  • Glad to see you back at it (and to hear how you’ve grown and become during your time away). I’ve been away awhile too, and it’s sweet to dip my toes in the water again. I might swim, I might not yet. But your bravery is inspiring for sure, Laurie.

  • Drgastro7 says:

    Excited to watch the journey knowing God’s calling leads the way.