Setting Goals

So, since I’m on a roll with this blog for the first time in ages, like, since I started it with my random posts about baking and pictures of my mini-adventures.  I’ve got all you awesome people actually reading what I have to say — and some of you even commenting back (which is great!  More of you should!  I love to hear what other people think!).  I have to admit I get a definite thrill when I realize that there are people reading this that I don’t actually know in person.  How cool is that?  The wonders of the internet.

And I want to keep updating.  I’m holding this idea that I might, perhaps, get myself on some sort of regular schedule so that I will keep updating.  At the moment, I have time to write for this.  I have actual “down-time” in which I can do whatever I want.  Such a strange phenomenon.  And I know it wont last, the whole — getting into another graduate program starting in October — thing, will help take care of this free time.

But my goal is to get myself into a regular writing habit before then.  Because the last time I think I had this kind of freedom was probably when I was still pretty young, and I wasn’t aware of how amazing it was — so I didn’t enjoy it, or put it to use, like I could have. Continue reading Setting Goals

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Facing Fears

I am far from fearless.
I fear doing something the wrong way and ruining it.
I am afraid that I will accidentally hurt someone with something I say or do.
I fear the idea that I may someday look back on my life and see a series of missed changes, missteps and regrets.
I am afraid that people will realize my insecurities and like me less for them.
I fear that the things I think I am good at I actually am only mediocre, or even bad, at.
I am horribly afraid of free-roaming mice (if they’re pets, that’s fine, but wild mice, I’m flat-out jump on the couch and shriek afraid).

The list can go on, as I’m sure it does for everyone.

Fears can be debilitating, they can keep us from moving forward in our lives and they can hold us prisoner.  And fear is not always rational.

A number of years ago I lived in an apartment that suffered from mice.  They had found their way to my uncovered trash can (never again!) and decided they liked the place.  So they stayed.  And they made themselves at home.  I remember hearing them scurry about while I lay, paralyzed, in my bed at night, afraid to let my feet touch the floor because they might come running at me. Because my fear of mice is particularly specific, I fear that they are going to run over my feet (see, “fear is not always rational.”)  I remember one of them fearlessly walking into the middle of my living room one day, causing the previously mentioned couch-jumping and shrieking episode. Continue reading Facing Fears

A Walk in the Past

So… once again the DPchallenge prompts me to get a mid-week post together!  This one has the double-whammy benefit of also helping me figure out what I wanted to write for my weekly post.  But for now, I faced the challenging question of:  Where would I go if I could travel back in time?  What would I do?

It was a challenge to write at first, especially since I didn’t want to bog myself down in the research I feel is necessary to really write a “back-in-time” piece.  And I promised myself I wouldn’t give disclaimers, so I’ll stick with simply noting that this is very much a first draft.  Yup.

***

It is disconcerting at first, when you step through one of those fine places of separation and find yourself in a completely different time.  I remember the first time it happened to me — I swore that it must be a dream.  Some twisted, thesis-writing, caffeine-induced dream.  An indication that I probably should step away from the research for a while. Continue reading A Walk in the Past

Who For?

…if you are writing without zest, without gusto, without love, without fun, you are only half a writer.  It means you are so busy keeping one eye on the commercial market, or one ear peeled for the avant-garde coterie, that you are not being yourself.  You don’t even know yourself.  For the first thing a writer should be is — excited.” – Ray Bradbury, Zen in the Art of Writing,  (Bantam Books, CA, 1992), page 4.

For a long time this has been one of my favorite quotes.  Certainly, there are times when the writing is challenging, when I am not able to muster such zest and fun for the work that needs to be done — but when I step back and give myself a moment, I find that it is still there.  The love, the gusto.  It is there because writing is a part of my lifeblood.

I write because I have to.  Simple (and complex) as that.  It is a part of who I am.  I want to say, “It is a part of who I am, as much as breathing and eating and sleeping.”  But that’s not true.  If I stopped breathing, or eating, or sleeping, I would die.  If I stopped writing I’m sure I wouldn’t be as pleasant a person to be around (because my writing does improve my mood, I’m pretty sure).  If I stopped writing I don’t know what would happen, but I would still love to do my research, I would still want to tell people about my thoughts, and those stories would still live in my mind (I just might spend a LOT more time staring off into space).  But I wouldn’t die.  So, perhaps more honest would be to say that writing is a part of me, like reading, like dancing, like music, like good friends, laughter, and the occasional good cry.  It is something that I embrace, that enriches my being, and that I struggle to imagine what life would be like without it.

I know that, at the core of it, I write for myself.  Sometimes this is obvious, like the journals and diaries that I’ve been keeping sporadically since I was a child — I’d be mortified if anyone ever read those.  Just like some people think best when they are speaking out-loud, and others need complete silence, I find that I usually am able to best sort out my thoughts when I have a pen on the page.  It can be cathartic, it can comfort, it can stir me to action, and it can help me ask questions in new ways that provide clarity. Continue reading Who For?

Writer Origin Story: An ode to books!

I decided to give the DPchallenge a try!

The challenge: Write your Writer Origin Story!
In my own, meandering way, that’s what I’ve done. It’s interesting how little pieces of this reflection make me think of other things I want to write.  I’m pretty sure the “Origin Story” of me as a writer is more than one entry — but this is where it starts.

I was a reader before I was a writer.  Fortunate enough to grow up surrounded by people who loved books and stories, and who were eager to share that love of the written word with me.

My parents read to us, my teachers read to me, even my grandparents — on the rare visits (they lived far away) — would read to us. Our home had bookcases, at some point my dad even built a massive set of bookcases to hold all the books we had. Books were a common, and always happily received, gift on the holidays, it seemed even the great figures of the holidays were in on the book-gifting, Santa would leave us a book outside our door on Christmas morning.

I love books, stories, and reading, and when I look back at how I was raised, I’m not sure I could have escaped such a fate. Certainly, I don’t think any of my siblings did — there are five of us, and we all still read plenty. Both sets of grandparents were readers, and my still-living grandparents still devour books and the printed word across genres.

Continue reading Writer Origin Story: An ode to books!

I must confess…

I have a confession.

Sometimes I feel like a fraud.

As I’ve been working on a bunch of different entries for this blog, mostly about creativity and writing, I keep running up against this wall.  There’s this inner voice, almost worse than that inner-editor.  The inner-critic.  The voice that says things like: “What right do you have to write about writing,”  and, “There are plenty of writers out there that have actually published something, and have actually shared their writings, that could talk about this,” and, “Aren’t there already a gazillion books about writing in the world, do you think you’re saying anything new?”

It makes me want to place my credentials out there.  To respond to that voice by proving the fact that I have actually been published, although I’ll also be the first to diminish those publishing’s by tacking on caveats to make it seem lesser than others publications.  To emphasize that while my degrees are in history, and religion, I have attended schools that put a major focus on writing.  To argue that while I have yet to complete a viable novel manuscript, I have written A LOT.  I have taken creative writing classes, and participated in fiction workshops.  For a while I had a nice little stack of rejection letters from places I had submitted my writing over the years?  But, what purpose do those arguments serve?  Other than making it clear I feel like a fraud and want to justify myself?

I struggle with this inner-critic.  But I then I step back and remind myself I never claim to be an expert (on anything, really.  Unless I’m joking).  Because I believe there is always more to learn, always more to discover, and no one can ever hold all the answers.   So when I am writing about creativity, and the writing process, I am writing about my journey, the discoveries that I’ve made along the way — and hoping that perhaps others will share their own journeys and discoveries.

Continue reading I must confess…

Feeding the Muse

One of the things that has woven through my life has been the struggle with “the muse.” There are times when the ideas are plentiful and I can hardly keep up with them, and then there are times when I’ve got nothing. Ideas vanish completely and I feel as though I am pulling my own teeth to figure what should happen next in a story, or what the next writing project should be. Even more frustrating is when a story has a clear path or a piece of work starts out solid and strong, but then begins to fade and fizzle, sputtering it’s way slowly until I eventually abandon it (sometimes for years) in a story folder on my computer.

I’ve been dealing with these fits and starts, ups and downs, for years — dare I say, decades — pretty much since I started writing. And I’ve, of course, sought out what advice I can find from other writers, how they deal with this issue, and what they have had to say, or write, about it. The terms used can vary, but there is always talk about the dreaded writers block, or about searching for the muse. And there are certainly theories that abound about how to keep the inspiration flowing, how to get through the block and, of course, the recognition that sometimes you just have to keep going, even when that block is there and the inspiration has seemed to dry up.

Continue reading Feeding the Muse

A bit of this, a bit of that, the meandering thoughts of a dreamer.

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