Writing My Way into the Day

 

My life has rarely been structured or disciplined. I’ve lived most of my life by the seat of my pants, doing things my own way and making plenty of mistakes in the process. I usually choose to learn things the hard way. As I get older, I’ve learned the value of learning from other people who are experts in their field. The best way to learn to be successful is from doing the things that successful people do. Successful writers write. They write a lot.
So, I am sure that when I first encountered the idea of a daily word count, I scoffed at the idea, thinking it ridiculous. Not only did I not see the purpose in it, I didn’t think it was possible to maintain a high count nor was I sure it was even a good idea. It all seemed like a waste of time to me.
I have learned so much by writing every day. Setting a target to reach for every day really helps to keep me on track. Plus, when I hold myself accountable for a daily word count, I always get more writing done than without one. I push myself, even when I don’t feel like it and am always surprised that my writing is usually just as good as when I am inspired.
There is something about writing every day that is more spiritual than anything. It tends to open a person to the creative force of the universe. It creates a new level that wasn’t there before and doesn’t tend to exist unless you dedicate the time to maintain it. Writing every day opens the mind’s eye to new things and even silently encourages from the sidelines. It helps the writer pay close attention and get down to the nitty-gritty details.
When the daily word count is added in, it raises the bar on the overall writing. My dad, who is a photographer, once told me that you must take lots of okay pictures to get the good ones. I think it is the same with writing. We might write pages to get that one sentence. We might write years to finish that one book and it’s always worth it.
I’ve never been a morning person, however, since making a commitment to a daily word count, I find myself up before sunrise, writing my way into the day. I get more done and all before I would normally even climb out of bed. My writing life has changed the way I live. I don’t have time for things without a soul. I no longer allow myself to waste time on things that won’t help me to grow. I want to do the things successful writers do.

DTbYU1rWsAEq0dc

#52essaysnextwave

<a href=”https://www.bloglovin.com/blog/19310157/?claim=ccwtzq8z6hf”>Follow my blog with Bloglovin</a>

Advertisements

My Musical Life

 

Of all the things humans create, I think music is one of the most essential ones. Music is collective and moves us as much as it moves through us. Music is structured with diverse and ever-changing patterns. Any one song, can be preformed as either uplifting or depressing just by simply changing its speed or its tone. Even without lyrics, music is universal in its emotions and complexity. It is always meant to be appreciated.

I am sure I moved from the first moment music hit my ears. I have always had a hard time sitting still if a good beat is on. Music has followed me through every step of my life, adding little bits of glee to dark years. Music can leave me with epiphanies, anthems, or just mark moments in time.

Music speaks both truth and lies. Some can inspire, while some is forceful and volatile. Music is emotionally charged and creates its own movement. It plays with us and ushers us from one thing to the next as though we were bees collecting pollen. Nothing moves me like music. Rhythm is a dancer.

As a small child, I believe I listened to whatever was popular on the radio in the 1970’s. I don’t remember it being restricted to any one genre until my years in Florida. After that I went through (in no order) a country phase, a pop phase, a 1950’s phase, a “whatever they are playing on MTV phase”, a rap phase, a metal phase, an alternative phase, a punk phase, a funk phase, a classic rock phase, and back around again.

I’ve always done housework to music. I can still picture a smaller version of myself, vacuum handle in one hand, cord in the other, smiling as I sung along with Stevie Nicks and Tom Petty. My first ever full-size record was “Grease” and I played it until every song had a skip in it.  There was a time where the only 3 albums I had to listen to were Run DMC, the Beastie Boys, and Sade. Prince’s Purple Rain changed my musical life forever.

I love the feeling of getting so into a good song that you forget everything around you or it feels like everything is being brought into the moment itself. That is the same quality I want my writing to have.  I want it to feel essential and universal as it moves through my reader. I want my writing to be emotional and appreciated. Most of all I want my reader to enjoy it as much as they do their favorite song.

11988557_571364813019670_7633168068433190904_n

#52essaysnextwave

The Girl No One Saw

Growing up, I had what I will call, an alternative childhood. I loved books and one of my greatest unmet childhood desires was to be read to. My mom and step-dad worked crazy hours and there was rarely anyone around to guide me or nurture me let alone read to me. Without a present parent, the circumstances were far from ideal. I did not have sleepovers or even a best friend. How could a girl have a best friend when she had no clue how to even be a friend? Now, as an adult writer, it is my job to not only write about what happened to me but how it affected me and how I grew because of it. Most importantly, how I managed to get through to the other side.

I’ll be honest. I made it through by stumbling my way along, picking up experiences as I went. I learned life-lessons from sharp comments and public humiliation. I learned how to laugh because of social ostracization. I learned how to do things by watching others from the sidelines of life. The perpetual wallflower. The fly on the wall. The girl no one sees. Finding better ways to be ignored rather than to be abused or humiliated was my central goal during my early years. During this period, I tried to make myself small and insignificant– to which I succeeded for the most part but also hindering my growth.

Also, my alternative childhood left me too scared to try new things, a problem which has continued to plague my adult life. I was not taught that it was okay to make mistakes because that is how you learn; I wish I had been taught that one. Instead, I was taught that not only was making mistakes a bad horrible thing but that I was only good at making mistakes. That was my everlasting teenage state. I was always wrong. I was born wrong into a world that would always see me as wrong, a single weed in a valley full of beautiful flowers.

But in a way, these turned out to be good experiences. I learned to entertain myself. I learned to embrace my weirdness and used it to create laughter when I could. I was semi-cautious and managed to stay out of trouble for the most part. However, I’ve struggled as an adult to learn all the things I missed out on as a child. I’ve found that as a writer, I must observe everything around me in detail, and in doing so, I also am able to shine a light on my own flaws. “To succeed in life is to be able to transform.”

I think this is why I like writing so much. I can write to my heart’s content. I can let it all spill out on the page. I can use what I find within myself, deep below the surface. I can take what I learn about myself and transform my ideas both on paper and in my mind. I can choose what I focus on and how I focus on it. I can find my own alternatives and develop positive action.

When I share what I have written, I am always surprised to find others who feel how I feel, have had similar experiences, or who share my perspective. It reminds me that no matter how alone I feel, I’m not. There might not be many people like me in the world, but there are enough of us that I can finally open to the world around me. I cannot change it no matter how much I want to. All I can do is observe and adjust my own sails. I will always come up with solutions. Being resourceful is how I have made it to my alternative adulthood. Growing is how I made it to the other side.

#52essaysnextwave

pexels-photo-261909.jpeg

Something Magical

Last year I made one specific decision that changed my life forever. I decided to quit talking about being a writer and become one. I made the commitment to write every single day. I wanted to become not just a writer but the best storyteller I could possibly be. I dived into book after book on the topic of writing and read numerous articles. I filled notebook after notebook and tried new things with my writing that I never tried before. Not simply with the way I string words together but weaving in emotion, direction, and vitality. It felt like I was making magic.

I’ve made life changes over a handful of decades with varying degrees of success. The idea of hard work comes easily to me but learning to combine that with dedication, consistency, and discipline is quite another. To add weight to my decision, I threw in the idea of finishing things, which has never been my strong suit. I figured I might as well work on all my weakest links if I wanted to succeed at this. The one thing I didn’t prepare myself for was the genuine change that change itself brings.

I usually finish off my years disappointed that I didn’t accomplish anything and dwell negatively on all that, but this year was different. The first thing I finished was the Nanowrimo, writing just over 50,000 words on a novel during the month of November. I completed this challenge by finishing the first draft of a novel that I have been working on for close to a decade. The second thing was completing the writing challenge called #52essays2017 where I posted a blog every week, forcing me to display my work to the public. The third thing was to write every day for a solid year (I missed two days, close enough). I also met some of my random writing goals by going out into the world to meet and write with other writers. I honestly don’t think I could ever catalog all the things I have learned by doing all this.

During my research, I’ve read or watched interviews of creative people, where they talked about the depressive emotions and great turbulence that follows behind the completion a project. I didn’t feel I was included in that exclusive club. Because it had never happened to me, it was completely out of my range of experience. I assumed that I must be either flawed or not as creative as I once thought.

So, in the middle of January, I was completely shocked when I was hit with a warped sense of creative depression. It came out of nowhere and barreled into me without warning. There were mornings I didn’t know if I could even bother to tie my shoe. I felt like a four-year-old lost in the woods. I couldn’t figure out what happened. I experienced an overwhelming confusion until I remembered what my creative mentors had stated. I was included after all!

This realization didn’t bring me joy but instead gave me an understanding. I have allowed myself to dink around, mucking through this feeling by reading, cleaning, toying with things, taking naps, all to move through this stage as peacefully as possible. The whole process is not at all what I thought it would be. Perhaps it is dampened by the fact that most of what I have been working on will never truly be done.

However, now that I have traveled through it a little, I understand it’s nature and will be able to navigate it better in the future. I even developed a plan for next time (part of this plan involves pumping my mind with positive TED videos and taking brisk walks). While I don’t think I will ever welcome the feeling, it feels good to know it is there waiting for me with consoling arms for the mourning of the next project I finish. I have not experienced much success in my life and I am still learning what to do when it strikes. I suppose that is part of the process too. Writing is becoming an alchemy of sorts to me. I take one thing and turn it into something else, something bigger than it was before, something magical.

10410999_676079902474550_9153737327949120894_n