Friday, May 12, 2017

Simplifying!

You've heard the saying, "Enough is enough," right? Well, after much consideration, I've decided to close this blog. My main reason for doing so is to simplify. My primary focus will be writing on my blog The Life I Live. I'm also concentrating more writing on my Grieving with Hope Facebook page. Additionally, I want to pay better attention to my role as newsletter editor for our local Compassionate Friends group, as well as page administrator for the local CF Facebook page.

Without margin, writing doesn't happen. I need margin in order to write well. I don't want to merely slap out words to a page just so I can check the "done" box. I want to write, and I want to write well. I think we all know when we hit our limit, and I've reached mine. Something has to go, and this is it. Obviously, I'm still going to be writing. Just not here. Simplifying is never a bad thing, especially when many of us nowadays are on overload. Writing is a journey, and I'm off onto a new route.

I'll see you over at The Life I Live!

Monday, April 17, 2017

I just want to write

Uffda. (Yep, I'm from Minnesota.) It was quite a week. There's nothing like being interrupted every.single.time I sat down at the keyboard. Not exaggerating. When they say that writing isn't for wimps, they mean it.

Now, I've read "The War of Art" so I know about resistance. This was nothing new to me. The battle for solitude in writing is bloody fierce. I fought all week with no real progress.

Resistance's opponent, however, is persistence.

And that, I am.

I wonder if all successful writers change their middle name to persistence? (With a capital P, of course.)

So much of writing is also about expectations. Expectations are intriguing, wiry little fellows. They seem to flit around like hummingbirds, never staying long enough for one's liking.

The thing about expectations is to hold them lightly. Like fragile birds held too tightly, you may inadvertently squeeze the life out of them. Give them space. Hold them loosely.

Unmet expectations can cause frustration. Rather than give up, however, I lowered my expectations. I had hoped to initially peck off three pages of writing. Instead, I doled out a few paragraphs.

But guess what? That's not failure. That's not lame. That's persistence. I just wanted to write. And I did. Here's to a new week of writing. Persistence on, people!

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Giving up

I've been wondering lately if the writing world is a bit like surfing the 'net. Let me explain. You know how you start out on the internet at a particular website, but before you know it you're at a completely different site, somewhere totally unrelated to where you began?

Yeah.

That's what I mean. Writers may start a project at a particular spot, but end up writing something completely different than what they began. I suspect, however, it really isn't all that unusual, this "meandering."

I think we want to identify with a particular genre or project because it lends security. It breeds familiarity and, writing is, at times, a scary beast. We long for the familiar, the comfortable. Insecurity, or doubt, is a writer's middle name.

Writing that takes a detour, I don't think, is warmly welcomed. I'm not sure about other writers, but I resist when my "baby" tries to crawl into areas I don't want him to go. Do you get what I'm saying? Can any of you relate?

Part of growing as a writer, however, is stepping into the unknown, braving areas you wouldn't normally visit, areas you may not be particularly fond of. Growth in writing, though painful, is a good thing. In fact, it's necessary. Stretching oneself as a writer is how we become better at our craft. Though it may leave us feeling as if we want to give up, we must remember that most worthy endeavors take painstaking effort. In other words, they often require, as they say, "blood, sweat, and tears."

Writer friends, don't be discouraged when your writing takes an unexpected turn. Don't give up. Persevere and you will reap the reward of accomplishment. Your work-in-progress may not go in the direction you thought it would, but remember the greater goal: good writing. You can be proud of your writing no matter where it ends up. Writing is unpredictable, but fret not. You're up to the task, writing friend!


Saturday, February 11, 2017

Social Media

I receive multiple writing posts via email from various authors. One of my favorite emails comes from Dan Blank. He was a keynote speaker from a writing conference I attended several years ago. His posts are encouraging and real. He doesn't shy away from the nitty gritty of writing or gloss over the hard work it requires. I appreciate that because I think many have (like I did) an idealized view of writing and, most especially, of getting one's book published. Add to that the rapidly moving social media world we live in, and one is left wondering how in the world he/she can connect with others and make a difference. For many of us, it leaves us feeling a bit anxious.

Dan's weekly email did not disappoint this week and addresses exactly that. Read on, friends...Social Media Anxiety


Saturday, January 14, 2017

Kindred Spirits

“Kindred spirits are not so scarce as I used to think." 
 ― L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables
I receive Emily Freeman's blog posts in my inbox. Many emails are, honestly, deleted immediately. But not this one. Not Emily's. I clicked the link and read. And then cried. Because of this:
"All you know is you have been feeling like a shadow of your former self and somehow writing is a tether for your soul to solid ground." - Emily Freeman
If you're struggling with writing, feeling a bit invisible as a writer, or doubting yourself read this:

A Letter I Wrote for Your Sake


Friday, December 9, 2016

Writing that sucks

I've struggled with putting pen to paper the last several months. (Because fingers to keyboard just doesn't sound the same, am I right?!) I just can't seem to focus and don't have anything to say. Really, what's the point of writing then, right?

Only every author blog I've read and book on writing says to write anyway. Write even if it sucks. Yes, well, I know about that. I could easily fill a dozen pages with awful writing. And that drives me crazy. I'm not what I would call a perfectionist, but putting writing out there that sucks? Wow. That's hard. That's vulnerable. That's scary.

Why scary, you ask? Because it confirms my fear: the fear that I am a terrible writer. Whew. There you have it. There it is.

And there is freedom.

Fear only has power if you allow it to rule your actions. 

It's easy to see when fear is in control because it drives your decisions. Fear stops you in your tracks, keeps you from stepping off the ledge, from diving into uncharted waters. Fear is powerful and, until I read The War of Art, I believed its lies. Fear tells you it's bigger than it is. Fear tells you it's not worth the risk.

The War of Art helped me to see that the way to overcome fear is to walk right through it. That spider web of fear? No one wants to walk through the spider web. It's nasty. It makes us shudder. We avoid it at all costs. But that web? All it takes to dismantle it is to walk through it, brush it away, and keep walking, keep writing.

Writing that sucks is still writing. After writing, comes re-writing. But let's not worry about that. First, comes writing. Babies don't learn to walk without crawling first, and neither do writers write great without first pounding out a few limping lines, telling instead of showing, and stumbling over weak verbs. Writing is a refining process, one that doesn't hit perfection without a bit of heat (re-writing) applied.

Friends, even if the writing sucks, kudos to you for kicking it out. You had the discipline to keep your butt in the chair and your fingers on the keyboard. That is something noteworthy and worth praising. It means you pushed through, persevered, and said, "Boo!" to fear, slamming the door in his face.

So here I am, putting out writing; some good, some that sucks. But I'm okay with that because right now I'm too busy wiping off nasty spider webs and moving forward. This is war on fear, and I intend to win the war.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Resistance

I finished reading this:

Image result for the war of art

Honestly, I don't even know what to say. This book has been recommended at every writing conference I've attended the past five years, but I only purchased it last month. 

Pressfield covers it all: every aspect of resistance, every angle from which it works. I read each page with the urge to highlight. The book is an easy read, but incredibly profound. It may be written with writers in mind, but it can benefit anyone, especially those who have put off or haven't finished whatever it is they desire to finish. The gist of the book is basically how to overcome resistance...and resistance is whatever is keeping you from finishing. 

Reading it has been convicting and challenging. I finished the book, however, and briskly shoved Resistance off the cliff. Then, I wrote this post, thereby effectively crushing Resistance's fingertips gripping the ledge. He's not coming back tonight, at least.

Friends, if you haven't read this one, I highly recommend it. What's on your reading shelf?