Wednesday, March 1, 2017

IWSG March 2017--Comfort Zones

I missed last month due to lots of craziness. The good news is my life is finally settling into a schedule. I'm no longer substitute teaching, but have a new job working for my community's POA (Property Owner's Association). It has definitely been a change. Which brings me to today's topic.

Last Sunday, one of the talks at church really struck a cord with me. (We don't have paid clergy, but individual members take turns preparing talks each week.) Anyway, here's what stuck with me.

Nothing great ever came from comfort zones.

The speaker went on to share the following scripture:
Ether 12:27
"And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.
Wow, this was exactly what I needed to hear. It confirmed for me that the changes I had been making were good for me, even though they were hard. None of us are perfect, but we can learn and grow stronger when we trust in the Lord.

Okay, I'll move to something more secular for you to relate to. I have a sweet puppy who is very loving and energetic. However, when she gets over stimulated she retreats to her comfort/safe zone. She will lay half way under the couch for half an hour or so until she feels ready to come out.


Sometimes this isn't enough. She will wiggle her way all the way under the couch and stay for hours.


How many times do we do this with our writing? I know I like to stay in my little scifi/fantasy world. I can make up any technology or magic device needed to solve my problems. We need to read outside our comfort zones for the same reasons. We will learn and grow in ways we can never plan.

I've stepped out of my comfort zone in the last four months and struggled to write a contemporary story. It wasn't easy, but I learned so much about myself. I learned that if I worked hard enough I could do it. I'm kind of proud of that.

So, here's my challenge for you. Figure out what your comfort zone is.
Are you hiding there?
What can you do to push yourself forward?


Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer - aim for a dozen new people each time. Be sure to link to this page and display the badge in your post.

Let’s rock the neurotic writing world!  Our Twitter hashtag is #IWSG

March Question: Have you ever pulled out a really old story and reworked it? Did it work out?

I'm currently pulling out some old bits and pieces of Sendek history in an effort to rework a story I can give for free. So far it's a lot of fun, but I don't know how it will work out in the end. :)

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

IWSG How did January 2017 start for you?

Wow, I hope the first few days of January are not a type of things to come. I spent all day on the 1st and 2nd in the car driving across country to move my daughter into her college dorms. This is what it looked like. 

There was snow, ice, sand from the snow plows caked on my car and windshield, 1 degree temperatures (mostly and average temp of 28 degrees though), disappointing food stops, 314 songs saved on my van's hard drive, 22 hours of singing along to those songs, 1 bag of york peppermint patty minis, 1 box of wheat thins, 1 box of CheeseIts, 1 bag of the soft SweetTart candies, several bottles of water, one nice hotel, one iffy hotel (current without wifi that works!), and one 5-hour shot.

And that's just what it took to get to Idaho! I'll be here through today and head home tomorrow all by myself. I'm afraid it might take several more of those 5-hour shots to get home. 

When I get home, my oldest daughter will also be gone. I had to say goodbye on Sunday, but she left to serve a mission for our church yesterday. My entire home life is changing and my emotions are raw. 

It's wonderful to see them growing up and making wonderful choices, but what will I do without them around? They've grown into such wonderful personalities. I simply like hanging out with them.


Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer - aim for a dozen new people each time. Be sure to link to this page and display the badge in your post.

Let’s rock the neurotic writing world!  Our Twitter hashtag is #IWSG

January 4th Question: What writing rule do you wish you'd never heard?

I don't think there is a rule that I wish I hadn't heard. It would be easier to share my favorite rule, the one I've adopted as complete LAW. The one that often negates or diminishes those I might have wish I'd never heard.

Follow your heart.

If you do that, everything else will work out. It's as simple as that. Not, write what you know, but follow your heart and write about whatever it is inside that pushes you to write. 

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Breaking Benjamin and Ashes of Eden

Those of you who have been around my blog for a few years might know that Breaking Benjamin is one of my all favorite bands. I can't really explain what it is, but their lyrics resonate with me. Each song creates stories in my mind. And even though I picked up Dark Before Dawn (listen here) a year late, I've got a new favorite song.

You should hear me and all four kids singing this song in the van. All of us created a story in our minds about what the story really was. Two of my children thought of Mine Craft stories involving Enderman and the Ender dragon. One so detailed I challenged her to write it because it was amazing. Another child thought of Halo, and I created this elaborate science fiction novel in my head. I've been thinking about that story for two months now. I was excited and thought I'd write it. Then I watched the official video.

The good news is, I totally get Breaking Benjamin. The sad news is, my story is too similar to the video for me to write it. But, I'll share the video with you so you can enjoy this epic song story.



Do you ever find yourself writing stories based solely on a song that you love?

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

December IWSG A Journey Down Memory Lane

Where to begin today? There have been some wonderful things since I "gave up" last month.

1

I actually finished a draft of one of my projects! Yes. It isn't ready for reader consumption, but it's been a while since I completed something and doing so last month really boosted my confidence. My mind is working again. Mulling over ways to improve the story, and I've been able to move on to the next story as well. I hope to finish part one of my three part serial by mid January. 

2

I've worked enough days (and my hubby found, refinished/flipped, and sold enough furniture) that we are having a great Christmas without going into any debt. We've also been able to get both of our daughters ready to leave home the first week of January without too much stress. 

3

Hubby and I decided to buy our own Christmas presents this year once again. And so, I've got some pretty amazing things. I'll share them with you next month. ;)


4

Last weekend I was able to take a road trip with my two girls. It was full of adventure.
This is my new van. They think I must have hit something on the highway because the treads were still good. It was scary though because we were getting close to Memphis and traffic was zipping along at almost 80 mph. It was crowded so we were just going along with everyone else. We got off to the side quickly and safely, but then lost 4 hours before we could continue on our journey. That was only one hour short of the distance left to go!

It was also full of some nostalgic moments above and beyond visiting with family. That was wonderful in itself. There were a couple of nights sitting around the table playing some pretty competitive trivia and Uno games. One round of Uno lasted almost an hour and a half! While I enjoyed those, I found the actual driving to be the time when I became the most wistful. As we drove across Kentucky I pointed out places relatives had lived, places I'd visited as a child or teen, and then I just stopped talking and watched the beautiful fall colors drift by. There's something magical about fall in the south. 

Yes, I know it's December, but we had a late fall this year. There were still multiple shades of green, gold, reds, and browns. That day was cloudy and sunny in turns. We were driving back roads for a while before meeting up with the highway, so the slower pace allowed me to enjoy all of it. 

What does this have to do with writing? Everything. Maybe nothing. I simply want to share my Christmas wish with all of you. 

Take the time to be happy. Remember what it's like to have joy for simply being alive. Spend a little extra time with those you love. Hug them, cry with them, then laugh with them until your sides hurt. 


Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer - aim for a dozen new people each time. Be sure to link to this page and display the badge in your post.

Let’s rock the neurotic writing world!  Our Twitter hashtag is #IWSG

December Question: In terms of your writing career, where do you see yourself five years from now, and what’s your plan to get there? 

Hopefully, I'll be back to writing every day with at least three more titles out in the world. My plan, keep plugging along even though it's hard now. There will be more time one day, and if there's not, I have to learn how to make the time for what's important to me. 

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Sometimes Giving Up is the Right Thing To Do IWSG Nov 2016

Yeah, interesting story about my post title. Over the course of the last month I threw in the towel. Not permanently, but I decided it was time to choose my family over my writing dreams. Here's how that happened, followed by surprises for me.

I was sitting in the women's class at church on the second Sunday of October listening to a lesson on commitment. The words and questions the teacher asked have already faded from my memory. However, the discussion I had with myself during that hour is still very clear. I asked myself what I was truly committed to. What was I willing to live and die for? I took a deep look inside and didn't like what I found.

I wasn't committed to my writing. There hasn't been much of it for a long time in spite of the fact I still crave the release of moving the stories crowding my brain to the page. I can't say I'm committed if I've been trying so hard to forget my need to write in favor of something else--my family.

I wasn't 100% committed to my family either though. Over the last few years I've grown to resent them for not understanding the need to chase my dreams, for requiring so much of my attention. In fact, a lot of the soul sucking death pains I feel connected to substitute teaching are simply because my family needs me to do it. For 17 years I was a stay at home mom. I was in charge of my daily schedule and able to take care of my home and family and still find the time to write. My world wasn't perfect, but I felt happy and looked forward to finding a way to make it all work. Adding a "real" job smashed all that to smithereens.

Sitting in that room, fighting tears, I realized I wasn't committed to anything really. Not even myself. I finally understood that was probably the part of me that I was missing. I used to feel committed to lots of things. So, I made a decision. Life is hard right now. It's a bit on the crazy side, actually, so I decided to commit myself to just one thing. My family.

I would take all the jobs that came my way and stop avoiding the call center calls. I would do it gladly knowing I was helping my family in a way that they needed me to. Even if it meant not going to the writer's retreat. Even if it meant putting away the writer side of myself.

Well, I did that and the strangest thing happened. That next week I didn't get any calls, but I still missed the retreat. Instead, I stayed home and cleaned my house. Something that I haven't done in months! It felt good. My husband noticed and it helped him feel better about things. We felt like we were in this together again. I liked that feeling a lot. It was good, but even better things were in store.

The next week I worked a couple of days at the high school. I took my computer with me. Just in case. And you know what? The last two weeks of the month I've been able to write a little. I don't force it, but it's like all the weight has lifted and I can write for me again.

Here's the weirdest, and maybe coolest thing. Last Friday I was on one of my apps and got into a conversation with someone who loves dragons. I wasn't trying to sell books, but they came up and that person bought 3 of mine! Monday, they contacted me and we had a fun discussion.

Who knew that letting go was exactly what I needed?

So, if you are stuck, ask yourself if it's time to quit. For the moment I don't feel like I'm fighting against who I want to be and who my family needs me to be and I'm getting a bit of both.

Well, this post got rather long, so I won't answer this month's question, but here it is in case you want to answer it in the comments!

QUESTION: What's your favorite aspect of being a writer?


Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer - aim for a dozen new people each time. Be sure to link to this page and display the badge in your post.

Let’s rock the neurotic writing world!  Our Twitter hashtag is #IWSG
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