Rediscovering Yourself During Difficult Seasons

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Image: Lindsay Niles (freerangestock.com)

There are times in our lives where things suddenly become difficult to bear. These times can make us question our passions, our faith, and even who we are. We even lose sight of the things that make life joyful and beautiful.

Consider how many times these questions entered your mind:

  • If I were someone else (more outgoing, better off, etc.), would things be different for me in my life?
  • If I was interested in something that would guarantee success from the get-go without many struggles, would I be happier and less worried about my future?
  • These things (i.e. reading a book, doing a crossword puzzle, playing an instrument) make me happy. Why do I neglect them if they bring me joy?

In June 2016, I wrote about being an English major for a website called Dear English Major, founded by Alyssa Christensen. In my interview, I talked about how despite my doubts, fears, and any possible setbacks, that I didn’t regret being an English major. Writing, literature, and making connections with fellow majors and writers made me hopeful about my future and dreams. Many of you that have read this blog, my posts on LinkedIn, and other writing endeavors (especially this year), know that I am a writer, avid book lover, and also enjoy other hobbies that bring me joy, like music. I shared that story to say that the events and classes I took part in helped me remember why I was an English major in the first place, and why I loved it.

I’m sorry to say that during difficult times, I still neglect the things that make me happy for various reasons. But when I stumble upon them again, whether by accident or when I’m looking for something to do, I remember.

Every single time.

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Image: Merelize (freerangestock.com)

As a writer, it can be tricky at times when we get writer’s block, lose our inspiration, face rejection after rejection, and even lose heart at one point because you worry about likes, trends, and other factors that define “success.” We stop reading books we love, the writing goes in a drawer to never be looked at again, and we compare ourselves every time we see an article or post online about someone achieving the success we crave. We also wish that we could write every day, that we were more confident in ourselves, and didn’t let other things bother or distract us.

I have found myself thinking a lot about who I am this week. How I had so many books on my shelf and tablet but didn’t take the time to read them, that I only saw the bad things in myself instead of the good that my friends and many others did, the mistakes that were made this year and last, and why I just can’t write! Turning to things that gave me joy made me feel I was just fantasizing about what may never be.

That thinking is wrong. The things we love and who we are deep down inside should inspire us to persevere during the hard times. Ground us in our truth and remember ourselves. Consider what we’ve done so far and how those things impacted other people. Taking time to think about improving our work and enhancing our voice.

So, my readers and fellow writers, please turn to the joys of your lives when you feel stuck or lost. Remember how amazing you are and the words from those who know you best. Look in your heart and think about how you can encourage other people just by being yourself. Reach out for inspiration and guidance.

You will find your way again, I assure you. You just need to put in the footwork.

Happy writing!

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A Note on Posts as We Near the Holiday Season

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Image: Jack Moreh (freerangestock.com)

As we near Thanksgiving in just a couple of days, we will then enter the month of December and end of 2017. Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and then New Year’s. Many have plans from spending time with family and friends, serving others by volunteering, having parties, and so on.  The holidays become a busy time of year for a lot of us, writers included.

So this post is a note that there may be a week or two (hopefully no more than that), where my blog will not be updated. Book of the Month will remain unchanged and be holiday-themed to close out the year! If you can’t wait for Christmas, consider checking out a holiday-themed book to get in the holiday spirit. I plan to read The Christmas Cat by Melody Carlson which has been on my to-read list and reread The Christmas Candle by Max Lucado.

Remember writers and friends, take some time to slow down as the Holiday season begins. Appreciate what you have in life and think of others more than yourself this year. Plus, a good book never hurts!

Happy Early Thanksgiving everyone and happy writing!!

 

Writing Prompt: Peace

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Image: GeoffreyWhiteway (freerangestock.com)

If you’re having a difficult week and find recent events occupying your mind, consider writing about it. For this prompt, talk about peace. Here are some ideas:

  • Talk about what the world would be like if there was peace.
  • What does peace mean to you?
  • How do you find peace when hard times enter your life?
  • Can peace still be found?
  • Write a fiction piece where peace is attained, whether it’d be spiritually, mentally, or the world as a whole.

The word count for this one can be as little as ten words to as many as you’d like. Take 30 minutes so you can give yourself time to relax and write freely. Again, using writing to talk about your emotions can help you feel better. Plus, it never hurts to hope, because sometimes that’s all we have to hold on to when things are bleak.

Happy writing!

Don’t Give Up. Ever.

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Image: nee12 (freerangestock.com)

I think this brief post this week is more for myself. But, if anyone out there tonight needs some encouragement to not give up whether it’d be participating in NaNoWriMo this year (I am not participating), a stalled writing project or struggles in your own lives, please heed these words. The quote originated from brainyquote.com and came from H. Jackson Brown Jr., author of Life’s Little Instruction Book:

“Never give up on what you really want to do. The person with big dreams is more powerful than the one with all the facts.”

God Bless and happy writing.

 

 

 

Free Write: Talk About a Favorite Season

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Image: allen (freerangestock.com)

As we near the end of October next week and get closer to winter, I thought it would be a good idea to share a free writing exercise. I did some free writing exercises in some English classes and have utilized them in my tutoring. Here’s what you will need:

  • A quiet room
  • Computer/Notebook
  • Instrumental music

For this free write, do it for 5 to 10 minutes, writing as much as you can. Don’t worry about your sentences being inconsistent and not making sense. Just think about your favorite season and talk about whatever enters your mind. No matter how strange, silly, or funny your ideas may be, write them down! They might be useful later on for a good story.

Happy writing!

NOTE: Also check out my post for October’s Book of the Month!

Slow Down and Breathe: Take a Moment for Yourself and Remember What You Love

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Image: Roxana Gonzalez (freerangestock.com)

I apologize for no post last week. My laptop unfortunately lost its Internet after a Windows 10 Update. Hopefully I can get that fixed soon. In the meantime, I hope you all are well on this chilly and sunny Wednesday! Today, I want to talk about slowing down and how that can help you creatively.

In today’s world, I think we can all agree that it’s very easy to go through life at a fast pace. We want to be on top of the latest current events and social media posts, keep up on trends in our given industry so we do not fall behind, and purchase the latest products or items we enjoy so we appear “cool” or on top of things.

For me, it’s been books. Buying the latest book from an author I love so I do not fall behind in terms of book reviews and reading articles through Publishers Weekly about what’s going in the book industry. Many writers have also heard the suggestion of writing every day to complete a writing project, especially if it’s a novel.

When it came to books, I found myself getting them but neglecting to read them. Books on my shelf or tablet become forgotten until you stumble upon them one day and realize they’re there. Your to-read list piles up and becomes overwhelming. By the time you get to a book, you might even lose interest and ask yourself why you bought it in the first place.

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Image: Amazon.com

Recently, I decided I needed to slow down. The last book I have purchased this year was The Hearts We Mend by Kathryn Springer, a sequel to The Dandelion Field released last year. I found it in the Kindle Store for a very cheap price. Since then, the temptation to buy a book from a favorite author has lingered but I have been firm. I want to focus on the stories I have not had the pleasure to enjoy yet and return to the ones that changed my life, faith, and perspective on love. Just because a certain number of years have passed since a book was published doesn’t mean the impact or quality has changed. Our perceptions may change, but our love for a story won’t. Then again, sometimes we move on to other writers and books but there is never anything wrong with that. As we change, so do our interests and the stories we desire to read.

I think this can apply to writing too. Some of us can write every day without breaking a sweat while others can only write a few times a week, a certain number of words a day or when we feel inspired. Eventually, we all will finish our stories. That doesn’t, and shouldn’t, diminish our contributions to the world.

If you can slow down for a couple minutes or take a day for yourself, do it. You will feel better and think more clearly about your goals, your mind can wander freely and your heart can find peace.

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Image: Jack Moreh (freerangestock.com)

Remember, slowing down can take as a little as five minutes a day or throughout. We all take in information and creativity differently. We all have something of value to give.

Don’t forget to take care of yourself during the exciting times, too.

Happy writing!

A Prompt for Thought: Remembering Joy

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Image: Jack Moreh (freerangestock.com)

I think we all could use something positive after this week. So here is a short writing prompt. You don’t have to share what you come up with here but if you’re so inclined to, go for it!

Prompt:

What made you happy this week? Think about a moment that brought you great joy and reminded you of the goodness of others. If you can’t think of one, get creative and use music, a memory from childhood or anything else you love.

Aim for a minimum of 500 words and a maximum of 4,000.

Happy writing!