I Found It

I only had to write 200 posts…and travel this journey of self-reflection and facing fear and coming to know and like myself to do it.

If I’d known the process would be so simple and so freeing, I would’ve started years ago.

In the midst of a world clamoring for attention, with everyone shouting here and there, I lived in more of a state of absorption, uncomfortable putting myself out there.

I used to be okay with who I was. Now and then, I get a glimpse of that girl–poised and powerful. She existed in a world all her own, able to make up the stories as she went, experiencing every dewdrop of life.

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Then, something happened. Several things, actually.

Instead of letting them go, I internalized the trauma. I let the words of others drown me. I gave up my power. I became a mirror of the words and actions of others. My words became silent, poured only into volumes and volumes of journals and diaries–my personal sanity. Some days, I couldn’t even share myself within the confines of those pages for the fear that someone may someday discover me.

But, at some point, I decided to follow Kelly Clarkson’s advice belting through my earbuds when I ran around mountains and hills for the second time in my adult life. “Out of the darkness and into the sun….

I began a blog. It wasn’t my first, but it was my own. I participated in NaNoWriMo for two years. I did hard things. I faced my fears. I climbed higher and sailed longer and swam deeper and prayed harder than I ever have. And I started singing again.

The need for silence was so heavy at times, pressing upon me. Other times, I wanted to scream from the rooftops (& I tend to have height issues). People around me fought against changes. I even yelled for about a week, needing to get words out of my body and into the warming air. (I have since stopped yelling, thankfully.)

But, I found it. I hope it’s here to stay.

I’m writing consistently.

I’m singing daily. I even auditioned for a solo (& got it)!

I’m happy.

I have found my voice.
Out-of-the-darkness-and

Name Hijacking

Courtesy of www.mysoulpurpose.org
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So, I’m working on this piece of writing–a novel excerpt–and I’ve been really struggling with naming one of the main characters.

He’s not someone I ever want to know in reality. I don’t like him. And, occasionally, I get a little creeped out editing chapters about him. (Hopefully, that occurrence means that I’ve written him affectively.)

Still, I’ve had a most difficult time naming him.

Now, I take naming real lives quite seriously. When each of our children entered our arms, we spent a minimum of a day reflecting on what to name them, knowing well that a name can have influence on your life in an almost tangible way.

I may be just slightly less serious about naming my characters.

(And this guy isn’t a great guy–so, of course, I don’t want to name him after anyone that I like….)

The only problem there is that I’ve known lots of people, and I like most of them. πŸ™‚

We (the character and I) went through a transition from a name that started with a G (that was a real name, though it kinda sounded like I made it up) to a name that began with a C (but had a pretty obvious Biblical allusion…anyone care to guess?) to a name that began with an E (what he is named currently). The E name is not a name of anyone I know personally, and it is also the name of a fairly malicious character in a book series I read recently. I was okay with using the E name…at least for now.

While we are talking about names, I found a name that I loved but my husband wasn’t too fond of–and one that was in my ancestry. I didn’t have another daughter after I discovered it (which was probably a blessing since I don’t like to argue with my husband–& I just might’ve been willing to fight for that one). I was excited last month when I remembered the name while I started working on a new novel (I’ve been dying to try something dystopian). Hooray! I can name a character after one of my ancestors.

And, I actually like this character.

πŸ™‚

How do you name your characters? Do you try to make connections or simply find a name you like? Do your characters show up in your brain with or without names? Do you use online resources to do name research?

Deadlines…

So, I’ve been working on a project that entails several components…and the process has been a bit slow at times and brilliantly filled with energy at others. (Such is the creative process, eh?)

Well, I’m on the last leg of this…and the most-involved…and could use a little positive energy to send me whirling through this last step before I say goodbye to this part of my journey. πŸ™‚

While I’m here, though, let me share a few points I’ve learned through the process:

1. Feedback is not only appropriate, it is beyond necessary and extremely important.

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2. Friendship and family support are invaluable.

Friendship Day
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3. Inquire. Ask questions. Ponder. Think. Ask again. Find the clarity you seek. Then, move forward with your goals.


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4. We each have individual roads to walk. Don’t judge others on their paths and don’t seek their approval for your journey. It’s yours. Own it.


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5. Feed your body (with good food, fresh air, and exercise) and your spirit (though connection, meditation, prayer, and study).

6. Let go of your past. Conquer your fear. Live in the moment.

7. You can do this.

leap of faith

8. Be happy. πŸ™‚


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9. Enlist the help of others. They have skills. So do you. Share the love.

How To Love
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10. Keep a positive energy flow. When you start to feel down, pull yourself back up to a place of positivity. Post affirmations; create a mantra–whatever works.


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***Above all, have FUN! Life is meant to be enjoyed, not endured! Find your happy place and roll!!!!!***


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Well, I’m gonna get back to work. I have a deadline, you know?

πŸ™‚

Allegiant…Sprinkled With Divergent and Insurgent

As you are aware from yesterday’s post, I was reading (and subsequently finished) Allegiant, the third installment in Veronica Roth’s Divergent trilogy. My mind has since been bouncing around processing her approximately 1,500 pages of writing…but I would like to record a few themes here and the way the story affected me.
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From the dedication, the mother-daughter connection was evident. It was the most powerful connection for me in the series, with the second being the love shared between two main characters (both of whom share in voicing Allegiant). Without spoiling the story, (and if you read these books, I urge you not to read summaries or talk to others about them too much prior to reading them) the connection between Tris and her mother, especially as Tris discovers her mother’s strength as well as her own, brought out the most emotion for me.

Fear is also a major theme, as well as cultivating bravery. I enjoyed the journey, which caused self-reflection and a great deal of thought. I am still pondering. (And, I wish I knew what my fear landscape would look like.)

Faith is also expressed–though not necessarily in the religious sense of faith. Rather, the characters find faith in themselves, in each other, in their strength and relationships. This faith leads them to trust and to love more deeply.

The theme of forgiveness is paramount through Insurgent and Allegiant. Tris’s acknowledgement of forgiveness in Insurgent as well as her discussion and pondering about it in Allegiant are notable. Without this theme, I’m not sure I could’ve continued in Insurgent (which held less pull for me than the other two books in the series, but is necessary in understanding character development).

Speaking of continuing, I almost stopped at the end of Insurgent. I had heard from friends who were upset by the third book or the ending or whatever. None of them went into detail (and my son cautioned me after finishing Allegiant sometime last November not to discuss the ending with anyone until after I read it). I was glad I took his advice.

Though many of my friends vehemently oppose the conclusion of Allegiant, I felt like Roth did what was necessary as a writer to be true to the characters who spoke through her in this series. I wept through the last forty pages or so, and laughed a few times, as well. I found the ending beautiful and poignant.

I’d love to hear your thoughts if you have read the series or if you plan to read it. πŸ™‚ Till then, much love!

Struggling, Writers?

Well, yes, I have been struggling as a writer lately. I have this manuscript I’ve been writing and editing since November 2012–and this manuscript (though it has great potential) has needed some work–such as a new beginning. Not really a big deal, right?

Wrong.

And I have been struggling. And thinking. And pondering. And writing. And editing. And thinking some more.

I could have chosen at any moment to let it all go, to quit, to give in to the voices that tell me the process is too difficult, that I don’t have whatever-it-is that is needed to publish, that I really can’t be successful in a sea of so many voices.

But I did not. And I do not.

Actually, working through these moments, I have realized how much writing means to me.

Yesterday, I was in the midst of supporting a lovely community I found recently on twitter. As I was reading posts to retweet and favorite on #MondayBlogs, I connected with a fellow wordpress blogger who posted this lovely piece of amazingness. As I read about her journey, I was able to envision another moment in my first chapter–another beginning–one which I know is a step in the right direction (even if it might not be the final beginning). And the energy and life-giving writing is beginning to flow once more.

And I am grateful–grateful for community among writers, for support, and for the shutting down the negativity inside myself and feeding the positive!

Sending much love to all of you this year! xoxoxox

#NaNoWriMo 2013 Final Results

Well, I know I posted my “I did it!” post at the end of last month…but for my records (& frankly so I can throw away the little Post-it note that kept my running total word count that bothers my husband since it’s still by the computer), I’m posting my NaNoWriMo 2013 progress here:

Fri, 11/1 – 3,443
Mon, 11/4 – 7,359 (+3,916)
Tues, 11/5 – 10,228 (+2,929)
Wed, 11/6 – 14,006 (+3,718)
Thurs, 11/7 – 17,779 (+3,773)
Fri, 11/8 – 18,873 (+1,094)
Sat, 11/9 – 20,572 (+1,699)
Mon, 11/11 – 25,038 (+4,466)
Tues, 11/12 – 26,814 (+1,776)
Wed, 11/13 – 30,506 (+3,692)
Fri, 11/15 – 34,091 (+3,585)
Sat, 11/16 – 35,562 (+1,471)
Mon, 11/18 – 40,105 (+4,543)
Tues, 11/19 – 42,529 (+2,424)
Wed, 11/20 – 43,672 (+1,143)
Mon, 11/25 – 46,838 (+3,166)
Tues, 11/26 – 50,497 (+3,659)

I have a difficult time taking credit for what I can do. Frankly, I was supremely happy and generally amazed that I could write so many words each day. I felt blessed by progress on days I applied myself to writing, and I had more than enough “days off” to balance kiddos and homework and appointments and date night and church (& all the other stuff I do in my non-spare time…)! I feel blessed to have been able to accomplish this goal, and I am eternally grateful for each of you for supporting me! I couldn’t have done this without you!!!

2013-Winner-Square-Button NaNoWriMo

Sending you all the best!!!!