On Being a Writer – Discover

The idea is notto live forever,but to(7)

Oh this chapter. It spoke deeply to my soul. It spoke to so many areas of my life that I’ve been struggling with. It seemed to give me the words that I didn’t have/don’t have to express myself.

Starting the chapter, the theme was ‘When I write, I find myself.’ That resonated deeply with me. As I’ve already expressed in a previous post, I often need to write through things or talk through things in order to make sense of them. I found my soul resonating with the idea of ‘finding myself’ because I think that sometimes I am most myself in my writing.

It is impossible to spend your days writing and not begin to know your own mind. The page is your mirror. What happens inside you is reflected back. – Dani Shapiro

I believe that the first place that I began writing was in journals when I was a teenager. I would chronicle my days, my questions. Sometimes I wrote our prayers to God. It was really a melange of things. But it seemed to be almost consistent. And in those days I’m not sure that I wondered who I was…although it is a common refrain for teenagers coming into their own (it has been many years since I was a teenager, so my remembering of that time is a little cloudy). The concept of not being good enough or never measuring up was present at that time. When I was younger, we moved about every five years and so I had struggle with making friends, with knowing how to fit in, probably then also with who I was and what I stood for. There were things that I engaged in as a young person that I’m not proud of, but I know that they were entirely inspired by my desire to fit in. And I think that is a common longing for many people.

When I moved to London, I attended one of the local Christian schools. Normal is not a word that has ever been used to describe me, and I’m not sure that I could actually pinpoint what it was about me that made other people think that I was odd, but that seemed to be a common refrain in those days. ‘You are SO weird’ I’d hear from the mouths of those with whom I longed to ‘fit in’. (When you are young you don’t think about whether being liked by the ‘in’ people is a good choice or not, the desire to belong overrides those thoughts. Or perhaps you aren’t mature enough to grasp the idea that there are people with whom being friends is not always beneficial.)

Digging into yourself requires a depth of honesty that is painful but imperative. On the pages of a journal, I wrote with my skin off – bare, vulnerable. – Ann Kroeker

I would often come home and write in journals to try to figure out my emotions and attempt to make sense of the events of the day. I am thankful for parents who have always been willing to be a sounding board for me, and who are willing to have difficult conversations or just listen to me trying to work things out. But there are times when I felt that I could only speak some thoughts into the pages of my journal. Somewhere in my house there is a plastic tote full of journals for over the years. I’m pretty sure that I have at least twenty. It is interesting to me to go back and read through their contents. There are times when I haven’t a clue what or whom I was talking about. But its interesting to see some of the same thoughts resonating back then as I find resonating with me these days. Some things don’t change.

I desperately wanted to understand myself, unearth who I was meant to become. – Ann Kroeker

I wrote a lot of poetry when I was a teenager and most of it was stored in a binder that I kept in my room. Sometimes I would read a poem to my parents to let them know what I was attempting to work through, other times I’d keep it to myself. I was thankful for the form of poetry that allowed me to just express my thoughts and not have to worry about iambic pentameter or rhyming, but just allowed me to have another means of expression. When I was in University, there were several individuals who started when I was in my second year and I found myself spending time with them in the evenings. They mentioned that they wrote on a free blog site called ‘Xanga’ and so I signed up, mostly so I could get to know them better. I found an outlet for myself writing in this forum and came to know other bloggers through this space.

I continued to write through my experiences and moments of life and found that I had somewhat of a voice. At that time (and even today) I have found myself fighting on and off to write for the applause or feedback of others. I wrote consistently but didn’t always share my writing with others because I didn’t know if I was looking for someone to let me know that I was right in what I felt or if someone might give me pushback on an idea that I wasn’t looking for, or didn’t want to be challenged about.

I began through practice – through pain – the lifelong process of finding myself. – Ann Kroeker

As I have come to know more people in the blogging world, I have struggled with finding my voice, and what it is that I’ve been called to write about. Originally I started this blog as a means of exploring what God was calling me to after a difficult time when it seemed that everything that I’d worked for in school had all fallen apart in my life. ‘Pour cette Temps’ means ‘For this time’ in French. The verse in Esther where Mordecai encourages her that perhaps she has been placed in the palace for ‘such a time as this’ continued to appear in my life in that time period and so I thought what better place to record what I am learning along the way. Sometimes I still blog about those things, but it has since been a place where I am just living my life and writing through my experiences and perhaps in some unplanned way it is still reflecting this calling on my life.

(this writing) might shape the person I’m becoming by looking back on the person I’ve been. – Ann Kroeker

I am thankful for the communities that I have been blessed to become a part of. They have helped to refine my voice, given me feedback that I have attempted to take into consideration and inspired me with their individual unique gifts. There are times that I am tempted to compare myself with some of the people with whom I have developed a relationship and also come to adore their writing. But I am slowly learning that we each have a voice, and each story that we have is unique to us, although the reason that so often we resonate is that people have had experiences that are similar to ours. Their reactions and reflections so often resonate. I am a person who generally reacts to situations and I am unable to process that I’m thinking unless I get it down on paper. So often I’ve been able to express myself because I’ve read something that gave me the words to start speaking. Otherwise these thoughts are often stopped up in me and give me anxiety or cause me to become angry because I can’t work the thoughts through.

As my writing became more frequent…I discovered more about myself, like how fear could tempt me to stop living if I didn’t face it in all areas of my life. Eventually the words began to teach me their importance, to lead me deep into myself. – Charity Craig

on being a writer

#FMF – Same

joining up (a little late to the party) with those who write over at Kate’s place for Five Minute Friday (FMF). We are given a prompt and then…we write five minutes, unedited and we share. and then…my fave part, we see how others have been inspired.

Prompt: SAME

there have been times when I’ve wanted to return to a situation and be able to experience it again. at the moment i can’t think of a particular event, but I know that it has taken place. There have been times where i miss time spent with a person, or my experience in a certain place and wish I could go back.

But the thing with time is…you don’t get it back. and the thing with going back…it will never be the same.

I think that is one of the many things I’ve learned as I have entered adulthood. That you can’t go back in time. that the memories that you have are what you have been given. you can make new ones, but you can’t really go back and change the ones you have…unless new information is given to you, and then I guess its more of your perspective that changes rather than your memory.

And as much as we would like life to have moments that stay the same, where we live, who we are friends with, our job, our age, but those are things that change, they rarely stay the same.

and so in the midst of this change, i’m learning to adjust (most times). To see the moments as they come and then to commit them to memory and to that beautiful place where I can recollect and revisit in my mind…I am so blessed to have those moments and to call them my own.

END

five minute friday

On Being a Writer – Promote

The idea is notto live forever,but to(6)

On Being a Writer – Promote (DONE)

If there was one chapter that I was dreading, it was this one. Promoting myself? You’ve got to be kidding.

I have been working at Starbucks for almost a decade. I was blessed to know someone who was familiar with my character and vouched for me to the manager at my hiring store, enabling me to have an interview and obtain employment. In the past ten years, I have attempted half-heartedly to find other places to work, when I became frustrated with different events in the work place or just because I didn’t feel like it was something that I could/should be at long term. The thing is, that for many jobs you have to sell yourself to the employer. That just rubs me the wrong way. I know that I need to let them know why they should hire me; I just don’t like speaking about myself.

That dislike goes way beyond just trying to let others know who I am and what I’m capable of for a job. I’m not sure if I’ve always thought poorly of myself, or if it has just been since I’ve became a teenager, but there is an element of self-loathing that always simmers just below the surface. There is no way that I can begin to tell the truth about myself, when I myself am unaware of who I really am. I have asked a few trusted friends to give me three words to describe myself that I can then incorporate into my resume. I felt like I was asking them for praise (and perhaps I was) but it was difficult to see them say good things about me, especially if I wasn’t prone to believe the words they had chosen.

I think that claiming to be a writer is one thing. I haven’t been able to fully grasp that yet. I think that you need to be able to claim this before you can promote it. If you don’t believe that you are a writer, then what do you have to promote to anyone?

However, as I think about it…I have lots of ideas that I’m passionate about. Things that resonate over and over with me that I just want to share. And those things…I know. I feel them. And I tend to write them down as a way to process. And they are the things that I often resonate with in the writing that others produce and share. But the idea of being a writer, seems somewhat otherworldly…something that perhaps has been able to see those word written as more than just scratching on the page.

The message matters and I want to get it to the people who need to hear it. – Ann Kroeker

I resonated with Ann and Charity’s reflection on social media. I can see it being able to reach a greater audience with its scope, but also the ability for people to be asked to be involved in things that perhaps aren’t quite reflective of what they believe or stand for (or others know they believe and stand for.) I am thankful for social media’s granting me the ability to keep in touch with people both present in my life right now, and people that I’ve met around the world who encourage me in different aspects of my life. I have been to three retreats, at which I have met numerous people with whom I’m attempted to build a relationship. I want them to know that I resonate with what they write about. That they have a gift and I’m one of the people who is blessed with them making use of it. However, if anyone was in turn to say those words to me, I was say thank you, all the while not believing a bit of it.
For some reason its easier for me to grasp that others might be gifted to write, than for me to think that I might be one of those that is gifted. I have received comments from friends and strangers on my writing that I have shared, and yet I struggle to believe they are speaking truth. Its definitely a heart issue. Its not that they are speaking lies, I don’t believe they think they are. But there is something lost in the translation between their words and my ears, their comments online and my eyes. Something that can’t possibly believe that I am one of the blessed.

When Ann speaks about promoting other writers, that resonated deeply with me. I am so excited when I come across new people’s writing that really speaks to me and I can tell they have a passion to write. I am excited to share this in my small reach of people. Emily Wierenga used to have a link up called ‘Imperfect Prose’ and back when it was small enough she could read them all, she would often call out a couple of people’s writing and share a small excerpt. I came to read several individuals blogs and eventually connect with them as a result. One of the things in the writing world that I am most thankful for (at least in what I’ve experienced) is the way in which others welcome you into the fold. Perhaps it is simply the people that I’ve come to know that embrace this philosophy, or perhaps it isn’t expressed in their writing, but the air of competition seems absent. This makes it feel welcoming.

The way I see it, there are two sides to most writers – the proud, confident one and the insecure, embarrassed one. I wrestle with these sides of myself nearly every time I write, and it colors my perceptions of promotion. – Charity Craig

There are days when I wish that I had more scope of influence. That I was more widely read. That perhaps I could make use of the knowledge of those I know and the people that they in turn know and begin to develop some sort of readership. But then incidents happen that seem to make the blog-o-sphere light up with anger and hateful speech for those with a more predominant platform, and I’m thankful I’m sequestered in my ‘safe’ corner for now. Letting yourself be known means that you’re vulnerable. Letting yourself be vulnerable often leads to hurt at some point. When you fear being hurt as much as I do, you’ll let yourself belief in the falsehood of control. That perhaps by longing for comments and readers you’ll have a little more of others input into your life, but you want to be able to control who reads you and how they respond, and that most often just isn’t possible.

There have been incidents that have taken place worldwide in which I’ve had an opinion I didn’t feel free to share. I felt that sharing my opinion might be something that people would push back on. For someone who doesn’t believe that they have much value or a great deal to offer in terms of conversation or critique, the thought of this push back makes fingers seize up and mouths silent of speech. The fear is great. It takes over. And it leaves the stories stopped up inside, rather then shared where they belong, with discerning and moderation.

On Being a Writer – Write

The idea is notto live forever,but to

On Being a Writer – Write (DONE)

Interestingly, I found this chapter not only applied to writing but to life. At least my life.
I often find myself waiting around for life to get to a certain undetermined or perhaps somehow predetermined space where I can at last be free to do whatever it is that I’ve reserved for this specific time. I guess there are a series of things that I’ve set up in my mind as having to fall into place in order to actually do the next step or even take the first step.

“A writer who waits for ideal conditions under which to work will die without putting a word to paper.” – E.B. White

Blogging and writing has often been an on again/off again pursuit for me. When I was in high school I would often journal my angsty thoughts into a journal. I wrote copious amounts of poetry at that time, trying to work through the emotions that were raging through me. I am external processor, which means that I often need to talk things out, or write things out in order to make sense of the jumble I find inside my mind. If I get overwhelmed in a situation or something happens that I can’t quite make sense of, I need to speak about it with someone and dialogue in order to get to a place where I can start to pinpoint my thoughts and bring them into order. There were times in University where I’d have to call my mom to help me be able to prioritize what needed to be done in a certain course because it was all too overwhelming for me to process.

We have something to say that can only come from us. Where is the story, the perspective, and the hope that only I can express? – On Being a Writer

I haven’t written much as of late. I have felt like my writing voice has been stopped up. And strangely its not because of a comment I’ve receive or not having anything to write about (that is certainly not the case) but rather because I am afraid. There are many things that feed into this fear. Perhaps I compare myself to others and think I don’t have a lot to say. Or question who will read what I have to say, so why should I bother to actually put it down on paper. I also sometimes seem to have a processing difficulty so I am unable to actually get out on the page what is jumbled up in my mind. So what I’m really meaning and wanting to say, doesn’t quite reach the state of expression I’m hoping for.

Perfection can draw us to the work, make us want to write well, gives us a goal and a dream. Perfectionism keeps us from the work, convinces us we’ll never be good enough, squashes our ambitions and often stops us from putting that first word on the paper. – On Being a Writer

As I ponder this, I’ve never been one for editing. As I wrote papers in University and College I would just write and edit as I went. I never learned how to properly outline (or perhaps never made use of the resource) and thus when I had to submit an outline, never really knew what to do with it. I didn’t know what I’d write on until the night before (oops!). So perhaps this is reflected in my hesitancy to write or share. Perhaps if I took the time to just let my writing sit, to let it marinate, then it might be something that fully expresses what I have to say…and as I go through and read it over again, I might add to it and further flesh it out. All of this to say, the first step in all of this is to actually sit down and write.

I think that the reflection that ‘Writing is hard’ in this chapter is something that I need to print out and post above wherever I decide to start writing (along with so many other things from this book). Because really that is the reality and a challenge when it comes to stepping into a writing life. It is hard for everyone. Many people are gifted, and while it might not take much for them to get things down on the page, it might be difficult for them to share what God’s laid on their hearts. And for others (like myself) its difficult to get the words down because I’m not quite sure how to say what is rolling around in my mind. But I need to just start. To push through the hard and the ‘I don’t feel like it today’ and at least scribble some thoughts down.

The world is full of so many things that I ponder daily, and while I don’t necessarily need to share all of that with the world, since I know I process externally it would be good to at least get my thoughts down in a private post. One of the most freeing comments I ever received was ‘You don’t have to share everything with everyone if you don’t want to. You can write a private post just for yourself, as you work through whatever is eating at you.’ And it was so freeing to think that I could write numerous posts and not share them ever. Or perhaps work on them until I am led to let them see the light of day.

“You owe it to all of us to get on with what you are good at” – W.H. Auden

#FMF – Yes

joining up with all those lovelies who are present over at Kate’s blog…writing for five minutes on one topic without letting that editing get in our way. Come on and join up 😉
Yes

I just can’t bring myself to do it. I mean I think I want to. I think I need to. I know I should. But do I desire it. Will I be all in when I say the word?

I’ve been running for awhile now. Following half-heartedly along the path that I know He’s called me to. I mean, what I’m willing to acknowledge He’s called me to at least.

But the thing is that I don’t want to ask. I don’t want my eyes opened to what could be. or what is…because I’m scared. And perhaps that reveals my lack of trust.

But the truth of the matter really is…i want to be in control. Though really I’m not in control and i’m reminded of that in various ways throughout the day. But i like the illusion that there is perhaps something that I can be in control of.

but what if that desire for control leads to disobedience or a hardened heart? then what?

Because I think that’s where I find myself, when I refuse to listen, or even ask for that matter. And over and over again I’m so thankful that He’s not given up on me nor will He. But it must be frustrating to have to deal with such a hard hearted and hard headed one such as myself.

so i guess the question is after all of this…will I ask. will I listen. will i say ‘yes’?

END

five minute friday

On Being A Writer – Notice

The idea is notto live forever,but to(4)

“I began to pay attention to life instead of letting it slip through my fingers.”

The other day I attended a bridal shower for a young woman from my church. It was a beautifully rustic set up with wooden candle holders handcrafted from a burch on her sister’s property, burlap decorating the tables, hand crafted banners and wooden accessories. My favourite part of the whole set up was the tables. There was burlap on the tables and over this burlap were some beautiful lace tableclothes. We had just arrived so many people were just mingling about and no one had really claimed a place yet. I generally carry a large purse and want to get it out of the way when i’m chatting with friends, so I went to put it down. I decided on a table that had a beautiful old lace tablecloth on it, and put my purse down. A lady whom I’m familiar with came and asked if she could sit with me. I told her of course. And then mentioned that I had picked the table because I thought it was the most beautiful with the lace cloth on the table. She looked a bit taken aback and then looked down at the table, ‘Oh, I didn’t even notice she said.’

And it seems that I’m always noticing the little things. They don’t always register along time after, but I see them in the moment. Because truth be told if you were to present to me several different lace clothes today, i wouldn’t be able to tell you the exact pattern on that table. But in that moment, it was one of the things that really caught my eye. And I can give you a general rundown of how things were set up in the room and what was one each table and the decorations which were spread about. But I don’t particularly have a photographic memory..so while those details would be front and center to me while i’m in the midst of them, they won’t necessarily be committed to memory. I did take pictures of most things (thank goodness) and that is one way that I’ve attempted to keep some of the memories contained.

“Recalling allows me to draw from a reservoir of memories, those moments when I’ve noticed and retained something in the past – something worth revisiting and possibly writing about.”

I’ve always been afraid of losing information. I am a highly sensitive person which means that I take in alot of information in my sensory perception that some people. I also have a bit of an attention issue though i’ve not been diagnosed. So while I take in a tremendous amount if there is something that doesn’t fit in a scenerio, or an extreme temperature or noise, it will override all my other sensory input at that time. I may be looking at a beautiful painting, attempting to take it in, but there is a loud buzzing electrical sound somewhere in the room that is what is coursing through my mind, not anything to do with the painting.

“The things I notice become part of my story; my work becomes more memorable, more textured, more real. I become one of those people on whom nothing is lost.”

I’ve thus had to attempt to find other ways to capture these moments. Photography is one of them. that i can at least attempt to capture the moment for later. and hopefully provide as much detail as possible so that these little things can hopefully trigger things later for me. As well, i try to write down details. I have learned that being vague is not helpful for the way my brain works. At the moment i’ll know exactly what that little quip refers to and within an hour I can look back and have not a clue, so I’ve been working on being specific in noting what I notice and writing key words for recall later when I might want to further engage the topic.

“Examine all things intensely and relentlessly.” Annie Dillard

on being a writer

joining up over at Kate’s place to reflect on each chapter of this lovely book (click on the book above)