Free to Be Me…Finally!

I’ve wasted way too much time trying to be like everybody else. Even with writing. For a while, I tried to copy my techno-gifted friends and use a computer spreadsheet program.

I couldn’t do it.

Before teaching at a conference one time, I rigged a fancy-dancy PowerPoint presentation hoping to impress people.

I didn’t use it. I was afraid of it.

Little did I know, but novelist Julie L. Cannon had quite a life lesson in store for me this past Saturday.

Mother and I attended Julie’s class at the EMAC writers’ conference. We adored her latest novel, Twang, and couldn’t wait to meet her.

Who could refuse reading the story behind a cover like this? It’s about a wanna-be roaming the streets of Nashville whose dream comes true, but the price tag is hefty.

Mother and I’ve had fun quoting our favorite sentences from Twang. (Abingdon Press, 2012)

“That poor child’s words got all clotted in her throat like spoiled buttermilk.” pg 222

“I knew as the words leapt out of my mouth, they WAS a tad on the mean side.” pg 130

“I played with the sweetener packets while her words rattled in my head like marbles in a cigar box.” pg 182

“You’ve got to make peace with your past so it won’t screw up your present.” pg 264

Julie Cannon’s secret to success isn’t at all what I expected.

You won’t believe her method! She begins by writing scenes in notebooks. By hand Don’t you love that?

And her notebooks aren’t all neat and tidy-looking. Made my day!

Best of all, wonderful Julie Cannon used the quote below written in Magic Marker on a wobbly poster board.

I’m a little pencil in the hand of God, who is sending a love letter to the world.” Mother Teresa

No PowerPoint presentation. Just Julie Cannon holding her poster.

Being her real self. Which was a gracious plenty.

To find out how Jennifer Clodfelter who stars in Twang finally becomes real, you’ll have to read the book. 🙂

I’m not wasting another second trying to be someone I’m not. I’m going to be exactly who God created me to be.

Maybe that’s the only way to become a pencil in His Hands.

For more scoop on Twang and Julie Cannon’s other novels, visit her website book section.


The other Julie  🙂


  1. LOVE this Julie. Amen Sister, God created us to be us. May we trust Him and the be the pencil He made us to be. Love the quote and think I will make my own poster:). May you create today what God creates in you. Thanks for sharing the love! Blessings!

  2. Thank you, Tom. My first comment on this one!! I’ve been a slow learner with “being real” but recovery can be quite a process. 🙂

    Blessings on your writing. Your words help me keep my eyes on Him and off myself…such a trap!!

  3. Vie Herlocker says:

    Julie–great blog! I loved reading this–especially since I’m always trying the newest fandangled things–and always return to my unfancy ways. I also am now heading to Amazon to get this book!

    • I’m so glad, Vie. I think you’ll love Twang! So glad you’re inspired, and thank you so much for letting me know and for the FB share today!

      Big blessings,

  4. Sharon Mangas says:

    Julie, I love this. I am always so worried about pleasing others and not being myself, that I find myself in personal gridlock…especially when it comes to my writing. Thank you for sharing the Mother Teresa quote about ‘being a pencil in God’s hand.’ I want to read Twang! Thanks…always love your writing.

    • I know, me too, Sharon. And when I read Mother Teresa’s quote, it just sailed right into my heart. I bet you’ll love Twang! My kind of writing, for sure. Southern fiction, strong with emotions.

      Love you, my friend.

  5. Dear other writing Julie – THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart for this affirming post! You’ve lifted up this writer/speaker’s head because when I left the EMACW conference Saturday afternoon, I was questioning myself over and over, saying, ‘Did what I said help, touch anybody in that room?!” I didn’t think so. I thought I’d flopped.

    For so long I’ve felt inferior because I’m not an off-the-hip speaker. I’m not a techno-guru, and I’ve never done a Power Point in my life. And overcoming Laliaphobia (fear of public speaking) was an honest-to-God miracle.

    To hear this brings tears – I can’t write anymore because I’ve got to go wipe my eyes.

    • Awww, Julie. I tried to meet you at your booksigning…was it last Christmas? And I just missed you at B and N. I think our meeting this past Saturday was a Divine Appointment.

      I felt an instant bond with you…so much in common. And if you overcame Laliaphobia, then with His help, I can too.

      Will never forget all that you taught me.

      Other Julie

    • Julie, I wasn’t able to hear all of your workshop, but really enjoyed the parts I heard. It was wonderful to meet you and we were so glad you were part of our EMACW conference! I’ve just started reading Twang and can already tell I’ll enjoy it. Thanks for all you do!

  6. I’ve tried to be like others, too! Read books that tell me outline, work on the bones, add structure here or there, plot, do character outlines…ahhhh…my head spins. I love Julie Cannon for her authenticity and honesty. I can see why you learned a lot from her. There’s only one Julie Cannon and only one Julie Garmon. And only one me. : o )

    • I know, B.J. Isn’t Julie Cannon’s authenticity wonderful. It’s contagious…couldn’t help but share it! And accept it for myself.

      What a life lesson. There’s only one me.

      And only one you.


  7. Julie Gilleand says:

    Thanks for sharing, Julie. It’s nice to know some writers are still using long-hand! A couple years ago I entered this online writing project where you write a whole story (80,000 words worth) in 30 days. No proofreading or editing along the way, just sheer writing. The editing comes later. It was hard to write enough each day to make the quota, with my job and all, so I took a journal around with me and wrote wherever I was, in the car (with someone else driving!), or on a bus, in a restaurant, and then would type it all up later in the evening. That worked great since by evening I could easily be brain dead! A lot easier to type something already written out for me than to have to think AND type when I’m tired! I finished on time and loved the experience! Now that we have moved to a smaller place and I don’t have a quiet writing space, I have taken up the idea again of writing longhand in a journal, maybe sitting outside or driving to a park. Then when I’m home later and the TV is on and lots of people traffic, I can type up what I’ve already thought up.

    So I love the idea of longhand writing. Thanks for sharing your experience!

    –Other other Julie G 🙂

  8. Dearest Other Other Julie, Keep Writing. Anyone who can write 80,000 words BY HAND in a month has something to say, my friend. Part of the beauty in how you did it (I can only imagine b/c I’ve never written this fast) is that you have to cut off your internal editor, and JUST WRITE.

    The re-writing is the fun part.

    Thank you so much for commenting and for having fun with me on my blog.

    Much love….and how many Julies are we up to in our Julie Club??? 🙂

    • I have lost count of all the Julie’s! And yes it was an amazing experience writing w/o editing. That was the whole point of the exercise, to discipline ourselves to just free flow write — be creative. Then after the 30 days were over, take as much time as needed to edit and polish. I ended up with a story I really fell in love with and had it bound into a book — my first ever! November is when they do this 30-day thing again. I didn’t go for it last year, but am itching to try it again this year. We’ll see 🙂 Thanks again, Julie G.

  9. I like the way this sounds–to free flow write. Hmmmmm. Congratulations on your book! What’s the title? Let me know if you do it again this fall. I’ll pray for you.

  10. Brenda Greene says:

    Ah Sweet Julie…it was a truly joyful moment reading your blog today! I’ve been a fan of Julie L. Cannon since “True Love and Homegrown Tomatoes!” Have all of her books and excited to know there is a new one just waiting for me! (“Met” Julie through her Dad when we served on a couple of committees at UGA…such a proud papa!) Julie was the guest speaker at the local National Educators Honor Society our daughter belongs to and she had my books signed, oh joy!

    And Mother Teresa….always humbled by that lady’s life among the poorest of the poor. “I’m a little pencil in the hand of God, who is sending a love letter to the world”…what a challenge for each of us who love Him, whether writer or reader, eh?!

    Your transparency is humbling. Read just today that we can’t be wise until we become humble…. and you , dear Julie, are wise beyond your years! So excited to be able to one day soon, read your first novel…love, love, love you Southern Lady Writers!! Yawl are “Free to Be” who God created you to be and we readers get to enjoy the results!

    Keep on writing and I’ll keep on reading! Love and prayers!! Brenda

  11. That’s my kind of girl! Gotta read that book, too. 🙂 Thanks!

  12. You’d love her, Vonda!

  13. How old am I and I’m just getting comfy being me? THanks Julie and I’ve gotta read that book!

  14. I know, Robin. It took us five decades, but that’s okay. Life is all about baby steps…like “What about Bob?” 🙂 🙂

Speak Your Mind


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.