Category Archives: Believe

What can you accomplish in 5 years?

time bloomingHow about 20?

Taking a break from writing my YA Paranormal first draft, I hopped over to see what (one of) my fav YA authors was up to. Laurie Halse Anderson focuses more on writing her books, than blog posts, which I truly admire. But, Here’s a post she shared back in September, 2012 that got me thinking.

Yes, I’ve been struggling with my own creativity doubts, droughts and bouts of frustration. Some bouts and droughts last long. Too long. And then, I start to think… “Am I REALLY a writer? Or am I posing as a writer because that’s what everyone THINKS I am?” Have I been at this writing thing too long with not much to show for it? It’s depressing. It’s defeating. Anyone else with me on this?

So, reading Laurie’s post about giving herself 5 years to make a name for herself in writing gave me an idea. What if I started right now? Like, took it seriously. 5 years from now, I can have a book published. 5 years from now, my oldest son will be a freshman in college, my younger guy will be a freshman in high school. They’d both be pretty independent and not need Mom around as much as they do now. I could go on a book tour! Ha! O.K. One.Thing.At.A.Time.

Finish first draft.

Submit my piece to my crit group TODAY. (eek!)

Meet with said crit group on Wednesday.

Critique one more story on CritiqueCircle.com

Complete first draft for Anthology 7 & post on CritiqueCircle.com

Where will you be in 5 years with your writing? With your life?

Random tidbits…

Written to the musical muse of: A Fine Frenzy – “Almost Lover”

Movie I’m psyched to see: Warm Bodies

Book I’m reading: well, just finished Anne Lamott’s Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith

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Filed under Believe, books, goals

writing in slo-mo

writing and ruminating

“Give yourself time for your subconscious to work…Make lists of every solution to the problem that you can think of. Even if you don’t come up with a solution on your list, it’s a warm up for your head, and you might think of it later (while in the shower or on a walk, etc.).” – Gennifer Choldenko {I found this wonderful quote posted here while reading about the 14-week novel project. Another post for another day)

I really think I’m going to try this. My YA “DANGER” Novel is nowhere near finished and I feel I keep rushing myself. But, when I rush in plotting, writing, not only is it crap (not that there’s anything wrong with that) but I get bored and frustrated with the story. I’m forcing it, and forcing my characters to do things – like smashing Barbie dolls together to make them kiss, even though they may not even like each other.

So, to Ponder, Brainstorm, Make Lists. (I LOVE lists!!) This will also be a lesson for my control-freak nature. What helps you solve the problems in your writing?

Written to the beats of ANIMAL, Neon Trees

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Filed under Advice, Believe, Perseverance, procrastination

today i shall write

keep up

for my horoscope tells me so:

Thursday, August 16, 2012 – You may experience free-floating anxiety today as you’re feeling a combination of excitement and annoyance. Although others could seem overly stubborn, you might actually be the one most responsible for holding yourself back. Even if you feel trapped by the current circumstances, don’t focus on your limitations. Instead, allow your feelings to take you wherever they go without judging them. You can easily find your way back to a more productive place later on.

I will write utter crap and just let the words tumble from my mind to my fingers and sticky-up the keys. I Won’t focus on my limitations! I will go without judging. I will find a productive place later. After the crazy screwed up swirls of ideas and images tangle, twist and crash into one another, bulging at my temples, pulsing under my left eye.

Go! Write Crap!

*created to the tune of My Generation, The Who*

 

^^^Update: I just wrote 1,045 words of an intense scene. I think I used the word “pierced,” “Twitching” and some sort of bird metaphor like 18 times.  But I surpassed my goal of 700 words! Today’s crap session was inspired by Thrive, Switchfoot

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5 Things Writers can Learn from Teenagers

The need to be understood. Yep, isn’t this why we pick up the pen in the first place? We want to share our thoughts on life and emotions and feel the connection with the world. We want others to say  “yeah, I get you, I totally feel that way, too.”

The pursuit of being original. But, really, it’s scary. Which is why you can’t tell some teen girls or guys apart. The straight hair chalked in pink and blue, skinny jeans, obsession with piercings, nail art and all things skulls. We writers try to mimic what’s safe. What we know is the trend right now. But, that doesn’t work. If you’re the same as the masses, you’ll disappear.

Keep your posse close: We can all learn from the tight pack of teenagers. Despite the drama, teens band together to feed off of each other’s energy and humor and feeling of connection. Writers need their pack of other creatives, too. To encourage and push us on, to cheer our successes and keep us real when the blocks form and the rejection slips come back.

Be rebellious. OK, I would not encourage my own teenager to do this, but of course he will. Afterall, he’s my kid. And he has strong opinions on things. He makes them known. Writers need to make their opinions known, too. This is called our VOICE. Our style. Be honest in your writing. It doesn’t mean writing about the snotty Room Mother not using your craft idea for the classroom party, but going deeper and writing about the neglect she feels at home from her Very.Important.Big.Shot husband.

Be selfish. Again, not something I’d encourage in my son, but as writers, especially if we have kids, day jobs or spouses, our writing tends to drop off our radar. We become crabby, bratty, temperamental (like a teen?) So instead, be a little selfish and SCHEDULE  time for writing, even if it means missing one Sunday dinner a month at your in-laws. (you can thank me later!)

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Filed under Advice, Believe, Inspiration, Uncategorized, Voice, writers, writing inspiration, Young Adults

someone else said it better

which is why I link to them here…

Stephen King’s Top 7 Tips for Becoming a Better Writer … gotta love the King

Plot like a Best Seller: 8 Things you Should Know …oh, plot, where art thou?

Determination vs Confidence…or, didn’t we just talk about this??

Tips for Writing a Best-Selling Novel…Lessons from Star Wars…may the force be with you

5 Tips for Starting (and Finishing) Your Novel…now to put it into practice!


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Filed under Advice, Believe, Perseverance, writers, writing inspiration

great expectations – the gap between what we want to write and what we actually produce

Does the end result of your story stop you from even beginning? That seems to be my current problem…

“I dream of an Eagle, I give birth to a Hummingbird.” ~ Edith Wharton

There is a gap many writers experience. Between the expectation and the final product. In my head it’s a beautifully weaved quilt of literary genius. On paper (or screen) it’s a mess of my random connections between characters, inner intentions and very vague symbolism. An example is one scene I wrote in the Finding your Writer’s Voice Workshop… (can’t believe I’m sharing this; don’t stone me!)

Tiffany saw the way the Earth looked at dusk, but never from yards above the rooftops. She didn’t expect it to be so cold and wobbly. Though Gretchen did say there would be flashes of lightning.

“All the better to see you with, my dear,” she had said in her wicked witch voice. Complete with a cackle.

Tiffany couldn’t get used to that voice on Gretchen. But she really couldn’t get used to the energy that surged under her skin and lifted her feet from the ground.

“The umbrella is for effect?” She asked Gretchen.

“No, Mary Poppins, the umbrella is for control. The wind will carry your five foot frame wherever he wants, but at least you can guide the journey.”

 Journey. Exactly what Tiffany had wished for at the beginning of the summer. This is not what she had envisioned.

When Dad came home alone from the hospital last month, Tiffany just thought the baby needed more time to grow, develop, heal. And mom, too. But Dad’s face…

The image that prompted this rambling start of a YA story is pictured below (the girl holding the flying umbrella.)

top row, third from the left

Yes, this scene is very disconnected, riddled with grammatical errors and paced awkwardly. Given, it was written in Three Minutes. So, I need to forgive the drafting phase and remember…

“Value the process, not the product.” ~ Jane Yolen

How are you valuing your process? Do you have rituals? Ways to work through the doubt, through the Big Expectation?

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Filed under Advice, Believe, characters, Fiction, Inspiration, procrastination, Voice, writers, writing inspiration, Writing prompts, Year of Nurturing

believe.

Writing is more than creativity. It’s confidence.

{from tumblr.}

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Filed under Advice, Believe, Inspiration, Perseverance, writers, writers block, Year of Nurturing

A Pocketful of ideas

I finished reading The Pocket Muse by Monica Wood and sizzle with exhilaration for my writing again.

 

OK, so as I read this little pocket-full of inspiration, I took notes, wrote down quotes, writing prompts and exercises then let my own imagination move my pen across the page. I thought I’d share some of these snippets with you:

Some conflict ideas:

  • a mismatch between person and place: someone in the wrong house, wrong job, wrong school, wrong church, wrong club, wrong DIMENSION
  • trouble getting from Point A to Point B
  • trouble being understood
  • trouble having something done to you (or for you!)
  • trouble talking
  • trouble listening

“I really like dialogue between two people who aren’t listening to each other.” ~ Raymond Carver

  • winning something you don’t want (a pet aardvark; an outdated set of Encyclopedias…)
  • saying “yes” when you meant to say “no”
  • a family secret gets out
  • a noise – or a silence – that won’t go away

Add some more conflict ideas! I’d love to have an ongoing list…

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Filed under Advice, Believe, books, Inspiration, writers, writing inspiration, Writing prompts

I Am Not My Past:

 

Defining Yourself

 {Guest Post by: Chynna Laird, author of White Elephants}

When a child is abused or victimized, it changes a tiny part of him forever. That much is true. He comes to believe that he actually deserves the treatment that was bestowed on him. He thinks that, maybe, if he was cuter/smarter/faster/better behaved than the abuser wouldn’t hurt him anymore. We all know this couldn’t be further from the truth but this is the mindset these children fall into. And when we don’t keep reminding the child who he truly is underneath it all, we are inadvertently reinforcing those negative thoughts. Allow me to explain.

Whenever people found out what was going on in our house, or what happened to me specifically, one of two things happened. Some people focused on all of the statistics that say people who abuse become abusers or that we have to be watched closely because we’ll become addicts or hurt ourselves or, God forbid, commit suicide. This is a dangerous stereotype because, as with all stereotypes, they exist due to misinformation and misunderstanding. And when a person hears these stereotypes often enough, they end up believing them and living up to them. This line of thinking keeps these children living as victims rather than as a child who just happened to go through this horrible thing but who was brave enough to go on.

Others simply became so uncomfortable they wouldn’t interact with me. They didn’t know what to say to me or how to act around me and avoided me. That hurt tremendously because it made me feel like, maybe, I did deserve what happened to me if no one else wanted to be around me either. Again, this happens because folks just aren’t informed or understand the situations well enough. Taking the time to understand what these kids go through in general, as well as the child’s specific situation, will help ease any discomfort. Avoiding or ignoring them only intensifies their own insecurities.

I understand that not everyone knows what to do when finding out a child they know has been abused, neglected or otherwise victimized. The main thing you can help with is restoring the three basic things every child should have: self-esteem, self-worth and self-confidence. All of these are broken down next to nothing when they’ve been abused. And those are the main components of helping these kids define their own paths.

A dear friend of mine, and the CEO of a local child protection charity I work closely with, told me once that she never reads the files for the children that come to her center before she’s met with them. She sits down with the child, playing games with them or talking about what they enjoy doing. Once she’s gotten to know the child inside and out, only then does she finally read the file to learn his or her history. Think of the significance of that for a moment.

By sitting down with the child first, my friend is seeing only the child. She’s understanding who he is, what his interests are and what he likes or doesn’t. She takes the time to figure out what that child is good at and draws that out. She relates to him at his comfort level, treating him like any other child she might meet up with. And doing this without knowing what he’s gone through is what she calls, ‘Defining him by who he or she is rather than whatever labels are attached to the child through their experiences.’

I can’t tell you how much that means to these kids. We can’t change or erase those experiences as much as we’d like to. But what we can do is remind him of all the good in him because no person can take that away from him completely. The way you can do that is to follow what my friend does above.

Plant the seeds of self-esteem by reminding her she is worth spending time with. Let her know that her presence matters and that she is still just a kid—a fantastic kid. She needs to see and believe that in order to keep going. Don’t worry, she will.

As that grows, nurture it so the first signs of self-worth start to sprout. Remind her of all the great things she can do, helping her to draw on that for courage and strength when things get tough. Show her that despite what’s happened to her, she is supposed to be here and get her to see all of her ‘Can Do’s’.

Once you see those take strong root, you’ll finally see the blossom of self-confidence develop and grow. When he knows others believe in him, he will believe in himself. Self-confidence isn’t just thinking you can do something, it’s what gives us the tenacity to try, and keep trying, until we feel bigger, stronger and more powerful than what’s trying to scare us from moving forward.

We aren’t born with any of these things. We’re supposed to learn and develop them from our caregivers. But when a child is abused, they don’t have the chance to develop properly and neither does the child. But children are resilient when given the proper support. Trust me on this. I wouldn’t be here today without my loving support network surrounding me each and every day.

Even if you don’t know what else to do, you have the ability to make a difference by helping to nurture these traits in these kids. We can all do that. By doing so, you’re giving them a most precious gift of all: the ability to define themselves and to say, “I am not my past!” And that is powerful.

Chynna Laird

CHYNNA LAIRD – is a psychology major, freelance writer and multi award-winning author living in Edmonton, Alberta with her partner, Steve, and their three daughters [Jaimie (almost nine), Jordhan (six), and baby Sophie (three)] and baby boy, Xander (five). Her passion is helping children and families living with Sensory Processing Disorder and other special needs.

You’ll find her work in many online and in-print parenting, inspirational, Christian and writing publications in Canada, United States, Australia, and Britain. In addition, she’s authored an award-winning children’s book (I’m Not Weird, I Have SPD), two memoirs (the multi award-winning, Not Just Spirited: A Mom’s Sensational Journey With SPD and White Elephants), a Young Adult novel (Blackbird Flies), an adult Suspense/Thriller (Out Of Sync to be released March 2012), and a Young Adult Suspense/Mystery/Paranormal/Sweet Romance (Undertow, to be released 2012). She’s also working on a sequel to Not Just Spirited called Not Just Spirited: The Journey Continues and a few other projects in the works for Middle Grade and Young Adult readers.

Please visit Chynna’s website at www.chynna-laird-author.com, as well as her blogs at www.the-gift-blog.com and www.seethewhiteelephants.com, to get a feel for her work and what inspires her.

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Filed under Advice, Believe, books, emotion, Inspiration, Perseverance, writers

a pic and a poem a day: day 7

Patio Musings

Far off,  cars pass on 75th

rush, stop, turn

without signal

money goes out, rubbish comes in

Tree limbs dance around me,

over me,

on me

and my patio

smooth-and-bumpy stones of gray

and tan and white

gather, pile, spread

under the gray shadows that twitch

like patterned lace

slipping across the ground

slowing, swaying

cool, regal breezes ask for respect

change to an angry twirl can rip houses from their roots

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Filed under Believe, Inspiration, Poetry