Monday, December 29, 2014

Wickedly Looking Battle Scars…

This year has been a complete mess of emotions—where every component of my life has been thrown into a large barrel and shaken around, to the point where I haven’t had any clarity—like all of my foundations have been ripped out from under me, and for a time all I could feel was pain—physical and emotional. Multiple surgeries. Physical anguish. Mental anguish. This past week alone has been the most difficult week I’ve ever lived. And I don’t say this for sympathy—because we’ve all been here—but I say this to set up the tone of this post.  

How much hardship is too much? At what point do you break?

There’s so much truth to “When it rains…” Have you ever had a period of your life where you haven’t been able to see any light? Even when you know it’s there, you just can’t FEEL it? Where life has pounded down so hard on you that it’s hard enough to just breathe let alone try and accomplish the pile of ‘to do’s’ on the counter—or let alone accomplish the dreams that are burning deep within your soul.

This year alone has brought on the most extreme emotions and trials I’ve ever faced. From friendships to family to writing life to my health to my mental sanity and more.   Whatever kinds of demons you’re facing, it’s so difficult when you feel so alone, or that you’ll never be able to get a grip on life or yourself and pull yourself out of the darkness.

Can you think back to a time where every dream you envisioned was a possibility? Where you felt that no matter what you faced, you would pull out of it for the better?

Life has a funny way of challenging us. Of taking whatever we thought we could handle and show us that we can’t… or try to show us that we can’t. ;)

Because one thing I’ve learned is that every time—and I mean every time—that I thought I was broken
and that I thought I couldn’t possibly handle any more, the sun has shown its face again. Even when it’s just a smidge of sunlight peeking through the dark clouds.

And more often than not, it’s people who end up being my miracles. People who step outside of themselves and reach out, who have come into my life at the right time, who have made me smile or have made miracles happen right in front of my eyes. And it’s these people who have helped me through the dark—been able to help me see the light again and remember that I need to fight to find happiness and live the life that I want.

Do you ever envision the person you want to be? Ever feel so strongly that you were meant for something spectacular? Something that only you were capable of? Maybe I’m just a romantic, but I believe that’s true for all of us…

And I know for me, I’m sick of not being the person I want to be. Sick of being held down by physical limitations.  I’m ready for a change. I’m ready to be healthy and have energy and be happy and use my talents to their full benefit… I want to be the person I know is inside of me bursting to come out. The person that’s been dormant for way too long.

But the twisted part is I know that I won’t become the person I want to be without the hardship… because it isn’t until we’ve faced the demons or physical ailments or whatever challenges we have that we can change—that we become better. And I know we all know this, but there’s such a difference in feeling something as we go through trial and knowing it in our head.

But there’s one thing I know more than anything right now. And that’s it’s we’ve got to fight. We’ve got to. We’ve got to keep pushing forward, forging on to find those little bits of sunlight and hold onto them. Because I know there’s a time and season for everything. And even though life is always going to be hard, it’s not always going to be this *kind of hard. Things are going to get better and we can either let hardship mold us into who we really want to be, or we can let it break us and let it beat us down until we don’t recognize who we are any more.

And I would rather come out of it standing tall with some wickedly looking battle scars than not live up to the full potential that I know I have.

And to the few of you who have been my sunlight, I want to thank you—you know who you are. People make a difference. And I can only hope that some day I can be that kind of person for someone else that you have been to me.

Red. Head. Out. 

***Hope you all have a Happy New Year! Can't wait to see what 2015 brings. :) 

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Reading And Finding Inspiration…

For me, I’ve always been inspired by the blank page.

But sometimes whatever magic we can conjure inside of ourselves just isn’t enough. I know a lot of us get inspiration from tv, movies, music, or even just stepping outside our front doors and observing people. It never ceases to amaze me how much magic and inspiration is just waiting for us to tap into it—grab onto it and put it on the page, and I think most of the time, all we need to do is just slow down long enough to notice that it’s there.

As writers, we work and work and work and edit and edit and edit—and what I find interesting is that a lot of us cease to read for pleasure while we get in work mode… we get to a point where we aren’t able to truly enjoy a book like we used to—where all we can see is plot/pacing issues, or too much telling, or character inconsistencies or unbelievable settings. Think to the last time you truly enjoyed a story without critiquing it to death inside your head…

For me, lately, I’ve gone back and reread the books that made me want to start writing in the first place. The books that first planted that seed of magic—those settings that lingered with me for days afterward—where I would do anything to stay in that world and spend time with those characters. I’ve been analyzing what it is that makes me love these books so much. Is it the ambiance? The characters? The conflict?

I’ve also discovered that whenever I beta read for someone incredible it restores inspiration fast. I think when we READ we can discover what it is that made us want to venture into this daring writing world. And even though I think we should immerse ourselves in stories as much as possible (not only for knowing the market and what’s out there), but so we can keep our creativity fresh and keep ourselves aligned with who we want to be as a writer. Because when we are right within ourselves, we’ll be in that place mentally where we can create what we’re trying to portray on the page.

Yesterday I received a package in the mail containing an ARC for Woven, David Powers King’s debut novel (Out in January!) with Scholastic. And already, I’m immersed in this wonderful world and pieces of inspiration are stitching itself back together in my writing soul. I’d forgotten what reading could do for my happiness and motivation. Can’t wait to finish it.

What was the last book you read that made you inspired to write? Do you reread books that take you back to that “magical place?” Jealous I get to read Woven right NOW?!?!? 

Red. Head. Out. 

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