Mayhem Monday: Advice to Writers–Keep Going!

Overwhelmingly insignificant. Those are the words that I wrote down. It was the only way I could think of to describe how a beginning writer feels when she’s trying to gain her footing on this overpopulated landscape where writers come a dime a dozen! What sets me apart? What makes me different? Special? Worthy of attention? These are the kinds of questions a writer asks each time she sits down to write. Perhaps these are the questions that others ask as they set out to make their mark in the world as well—singers, artists, athletes—all those whose gifts feel special to them and to their loved ones, but look so pale in comparison to the esteemed greats of society–those who have achieved the highest heights and honors in their class, whose garments we can only hope to graze with the tips of our fingers in a crowded street if we’re lucky.

It’s hard when you’re buried under a mountain of crumpled papers and unfinished manuscripts, and discouraging when the rejection slips come in faster than the book proposals that go out. It’s demoralizing to sit, shivering in the corner of crowded coffee shops, pleading with God for inspiration while trying to tune out the distracting chatter as the blank page of the computer screen is mocking you and the blinking cursor keeps time with the fleeting seconds you have left before your other responsibilities invade this small space in time.

How, exactly, does one move from the crowded streets of insignificance, obscurity and non-productivity onto the fast track of notoriety, achievement and fecundity? I’ve been listening to some authors’ success stories and the same answer emerges from each one—“keep going,” they say. Keep doing what you’re doing. Keep writing. Easier said than done, huh? But, the consensus is, there’s no magic pill, no easy answer and, unfortunately, no shortcut. There are always exceptions, of course, but for the vast majority, the path to success is an arduous process of putting one foot (or should I say word?) in front of the other and refusing to lose faith. That feeling of insignificance is simply the reality that you’re not the only one who can do this—that is, write stories, articles or books—but it should be countered with another reality: you are the only person who can be you. At the very least, there’s that. So, they say, the trick is to infuse your work with your self—something that is unique to you. Do you know what’s unique about you? (Take this personality test to find out: My Personality)

Rather than focusing on the successes of others, focus on being your best self. Focus on improving as a writer, an artist, an athlete, etc, not so that you can be more like someone else, but so that you can be a better version of yourself. With your own past and future successes in sight you will have less time to drool over the achievements of others and your own significance will loom larger in your eyes. After all, each of us has been given an assignment. Let’s not waste time wondering why someone else’s assignment looks more interesting than ours.

In the grand scheme of things we do matter and we can and will make our mark in this world. We just have to keep going!

Happy Monday

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Cover photo by Kinga Cichewicz on Unsplash

Soul Sisters!

So, this has been an AMAZING week for the writer in me! In this one week I have had the opportunity to engage with two inspired writers who have had major impact and reach and both of them have had an impact on me.  The first person I met was W. Paul Young, author of The Shack who visited my class and spoke life into me and my aspiring student writers.  I will share more about his visit in a later post.

The other person is Chrystal Evans Hurst, author of Kingdom Woman and She’s Still Here whom I have just spent the past two days with in her home town of Dallas, TX.  A few months ago, on a whim, I responded to Chrystal’s call for interns to be a part of a six month project to help her build on her current media platform.  By some fluke–one might say God’s Providence–I was one of the 15 chosen! Now, as part of her “Mastermind 2018” team, I will help her to create and manage the content  for her podcasts and social media in order to further develop her ministry of encouraging, equiping, educating and empowering women.

Although Chrystal is a brilliant writer and speaker, she is also the most warm, kind, down-to-earth person you will ever meet. So when she told me that she thought that I was a “good writer” and that she knew she wanted me to be part of the team in order to “put my writing skills to use,” I can’t tell you how much that seal of approval meant. Validation matters–especially when it comes from someone you admire.

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But, this is not all about me! This is about the beautiful women that I met this weekend. Amazing women with an array of talents and vibrant personalities. Chrystal’s core team did an incredible job of pulling together a group that clicked immediately! I LITERALLY wanted to spend more time with every one of these ladies. We just did not have enough time together!  Each one exuded such a spirit of Godliness and love that I wanted to know them more. I wanted to hear their stories. I wished we had two more days, at least! I know that this group can and will do good work together simply because we connected so well, so quickly, which can only translate into good things for Chrystal’s ministry, which is a win for all of us. I’m truly excited about the possibilities and I am looking forward to everything that is to come.

The title “soul sisters” popped into my head because that’s what it felt like. We made a “soul” connection. First with Chrystal, then with each other and soon it will flow outward to all of you! Big things are coming, so get ready!

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Never heard of Chrystal or her book, She’s Still There? Well, this is one that that very well may change your life–for the better! Don’t just take my word for it, click here to see what others have to say.

 

Why Write?

So, people who don’t like writing won’t understand this, but those of us who are in love with the Word will…

Writing is like breathing! It gives life.

I am happiest when I’m creating something–whether it’s a poem, a story or a commentary–there’s this high that comes from stringing words together like pearls. Such a simple thing, yet so captivating!  Sometimes I don’t even know what I’m about to say, but the words just come spilling out. Then I’ll read what I wrote and have to sop it up with a napkin…”that was awful.” But other times, the words flow as they should. In a steady stream, cool and sweet as iced coffee and I must admit, “mmm…that was good!”

But, good or bad, the blank page is a faithful friend, always there waiting for me. And I hate to leave my friend waiting too long.

Speaking of friends, I’ve found that as much fun as it is to write, it’s equally as fun to connect with other writers. Since starting this blog I’ve entered an alternate universe where people like me gather to babble. I can get lost in the sea of syllables! If I didn’t have to go to work I could sit here all day reading and responding to writers and bloggers like me. There’s comfort in the coalition of common interests.

So, these are some of my reasons for writing, what are yours? Is writing therapeutic? Does it help you think more clearly? Escape from the daily grind? Tell me what writing does for you!

In the meantime, here are some great image quotes that I found in response to this enduring question…smallsignature