Archive | June 2017

Faith, Passion, Honesty and Unemployment: We All Lose Direction, Including Writers

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Image: Jack Moreh (Freerangestock.com)

I know it has been two weeks since my last post, and I apologize for that sudden disappearance and hiatus. One part was embarrassment and self-doubt because of the current situations in my personal life, a lack of inspiration and feeling, once again, hopeless and I wasn’t impacting people with my words and thoughts and…as I’ve begun to realize, a sense of loss.

Everyone who has read this blog is aware I have been struggling with a difficult job search since graduating from college in 2016. You are all also aware of my faith in God. I try my very best not to preach or share too much because I don’t wish to alienate readers who may be of a different religion, or none at all, than I am.

The past few weeks I put my reading of A Thousand Acres by Jane Smiley on hold so I could focus on career reference books. Some anecdotes the books had were useful, others a refresher and a few sections that didn’t fit my current situation and were skipped. I also found certain exercises helped me better understand myself and interests such as the Wandering Map exercise from You Majored in What? Mapping Your Path from Chaos to Career by Katharine Brooks, ED.D.

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Image: Amazon.com

But one section caught my eye this morning from the 2016 edition of What Color is Your Parachute? by Richard Bolles. The section was near the end in the Blue Pages or Appendix: “A Guide to Deal with Your Feelings While Out of Work.”

That jumped out at me immediately even though I skimmed some of what was said, until I reached the area about religion. How many of us have discovered a section dedicated to religion in a book about job searching? Probably not a lot.

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Image: Stuart Miles (Freerangestock.com)

With many things, I have felt my faith has been waning for many months now, my love for writing was one of the things I was losing heart with as well. The section in the Blue Pages talked about rethinking your faith opposed to abandoning it. As I read the paragraphs, I paused here: “A faith that thinks God is responsible for our unemployment, and He could have and should have prevented it, needs to grow up. It is too small a faith. It has too small a God” (296).

I have joked to friends I am “o ye of little faith” because I doubt and give up so easily when things go wrong in my life. That passage hit close to home for me. The following page contained a chart comparing a healthy religion and an unhealthy religion through gratitude and guilt, viewing the world as us or us v. them and the desire for God’s forgiveness and vengeance.

My energy has been spent, my faith feeling, frankly, small. I think if you take out unemployment, anyone can apply that passage to an unanswered prayer in their life, including writing. Feeling God is responsible for our story being rejected, a book not selling well, a writing habit falling apart. Writer’s Block too.

I have lost direction for many months and it’s been hard, hurting my heart and soul and my passion. Please know you are not alone if you are going through the same emotions right now.

I hope things will change soon, and my faith will become stronger once all is set and done. Opportunities are coming my way. I just have to take it a day at a time.

Please forgive me if I do not get to my Book of the Month pick for June. I’ll make up for it as I’ve done before.

Be kind to yourself and take time to breathe, because that’s how you find clarity, and hope, in your dreams and life again.

This entry was posted on June 28, 2017. 1 Comment

Have You Taken a Long Break from Your Book? You’re Not Alone

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Titled “Clean modern desk with laptop” by StartUpStock Photos; Credit: freerangestock.com

I got an email today from writing website, The Write Practice, with this encouraging article that I felt like sharing today. The article was written by Monica M. Clark, titled “How to Start Your Book Again After a Long Break.” Apologies for no post last week; the job search and other personal matters had my attention.

Last November, I participated in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) for the very first time. I shared my experience in a prior post, which you can find here. There are lot of things I could have done differently, and frankly? I felt it stopped my love and desire to write a novel. Not because it was hard, that’s to be expected. But what I wrote…just didn’t come out as I had hoped. Plus, other ideas were bouncing around in my head which made it a lot more overwhelming for me.

So after NaNoWriMo, I took a break. Unfortunately, for four months I wasn’t writing. No short stories, no novel ideas, no poetry and no ideas for a play or monologue. The only writings happening really were for this blog!

It’s been hard. Even though I am writing 500 words a day 3 or 4 times a week…I guess it doesn’t feel right yet. Plus, I’ve been delving into fanfiction which is how writing, for me, started.

So when I read this article today, it felt like the answer I needed. What I love about articles from The Write Practice is how they break down the sections so it’s easier to find what you’re looking for and review what you already know. As you’ll see from Monica’s article, it’s broken down into 3 sections with a bonus anecdote about picking up your old writing projects being tough, but worth it.

My writing project ended up close to 20,000 words, maybe a little less. So basically a third of the way to the 50,000 minimum for a novel. Can I make my way back? Yes, I can. Will it be hard? Certainly!

But if it leads to an even better draft, then it’s worth it.

Also, if you’re unsure about word counts for your writing, this article from The Write Life is also a good read. It breaks the categories down by genre, age for Children’s Books and forms of fiction and nonfiction. Just remember, though, the numbers are the average range so if your word count is lower or higher than these numbers, that’s totally okay! For me though, aiming for slightly over the average might be a good rule of thumb. Keep an open mind!

This entry was posted on June 12, 2017. 1 Comment

Finding Your Voice: Thoughts on Chapter 4 of Writing with Quiet Hands

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Credit: Image from Amazon.com

Earlier this week, I sat down to read a chapter of Paula Munier’s Writing with Quiet Hands. I last mentioned this book in a post reflecting on writing books and the teachers I learned from.

I wanted to take a moment to share my thoughts on chapter 4, “a voice of your own,” because it spoke to me and I feel it’s something we all can learn a thing or two more.

How many times have you found yourself putting off something you know you should be doing? That was me in this case because out of all the topics of interest in writing, voice has always been a more sensitive subject.  I’m sure I’m not the only one. As writers, we put our ideas, dreams and ultimately ourselves out there. Sometimes there is praise, other times ridicule and criticism.

But, there’s another thing to consider, and that’s our truths. This quote from the book jumped out at me: “Readers recognize truth when they see it–and they seek it out (59). Have you ever found a book that spoke to you? If so, then the author’s truth must have touched your heart. I’ve always told people writing was where I could be myself.

Authentic. Real, Honest.

I’m sure you too have shared the same thoughts. Writing is hard sometimes, and depending on what you’re writing about, can become more daunting because certain emotions hit too close to home.

Two things in this chapter also resonated with me: exploring first paragraphs from the classics and 4 lessons for growing and finding the writer voice. The books we enjoy like Stephen King’s It and Toni Morrison’s Beloved stay with us because of their voices, their engagement and stirring up emotions that frighten and make us think. The 4 lessons gave us real-life examples of writers trying to find their voice whether by revealing it more, remembering who we are, listening to the sound of one’s voice and how not to confuse voice with the plot of your story.

This chapter had a lot of good stuff, frankly. I also enjoyed the part exploring creative imitation where you think about the writers you love, the voices that speak to you and what about their works appeal to you. This helps you figure out what drew you to these writers and how you can apply them to your writing prowess.

This book has been excellent so far and like A Writer’s Guide to Persistence, I’m learning a lot: about myself, writing strategies and other parts of being a writer that I may have missed or ignored.

Don’t ever be afraid to learn something new or gain a new perspective on something you’ve always known. You never know what you’ll discover!