Tag Archives: Creative Process

Monday’s Musings.

23 Apr

It’s Monday aka the beginning of finals week. I realized that I haven’t made a motivation list in a while, so here are the things that are helping me get through finals week.

  • Summer!–I’m done on Thursday, and then it’s me and pleasure reading for weeks on end. Ah, it sounds so amazing. I can’t wait!
  • Alison Krauss and Union Station concert with my mom on Saturday!–We both love Alison Krauss. Her voice is simply beautiful, and I can’t wait to hear her perform live.
  • Sleep!–Which is always something college kids look forward to since not much sleep occurs during finals. I can’t wait to just cuddle up in my comfy bed with a book, reading late into the night.
  • IRELAND!–Yes, this probably should have been first on the list, but I won’t be leaving for Ireland until around June 18th, so I’ve got a while to wait. However, it’ll be exciting to put together packing lists and figure out all the cool places my mom and I are going to see when we travel around for a week before my program in Galway begins. I’m really happy that we will be able to experience Ireland together!
  • Spending quality time working on my memoir!–I haven’t be able to dedicate long spans of time to working on my memoir in a while since I’ve been busy with finals and work, etc, but I’m glad that I will be able to spend more time with it this summer. I’ve been in somewhat of a writing rut recently, but I think that’s partly because I’ve reached the point where I finally have to confront some of the really delicate memories that I’ve put off dealing with. However, this summer will be a good time to do that since I won’t have much else to focus on that’s important.

That’s about it for what’s getting me through this week, but I can do it. One day at a time, right?

Life has no smooth road for any of us; and in the bracing atmosphere of a high aim the very roughness stimulates the climber to steadier steps, till the legend, over steep ways to the stars, fulfills itself. -W.C. Doane

What are some things helping you get through this week? What do you use as motivation when you know a busy week is coming up?

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Writing Quotes.

9 Apr

Over the past few days, I’ve been looking for quotes that explain what I’ve been feeling as I’ve been writing my book. Through the quotes I’ve come across, I’ve realized that all writers struggle with loneliness, dark days, insecurity and days when it feels as if those that aren’t also writers can’t understand what they are feeling. I’ve compiled a list of quotes that either resonated with me or helped encourage me to keep on digging up memories of my past to ultimately share my story with the world.

  • “Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.” -Anton Chekhov
  • “Tears are words that need to be written.” -Paulo Coelho
  • “Write what disturbs you, what you fear, what you have not been willing to speak about. Be willing to be split open.” -Natalie Goldberg
  • “Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work.” -Stephen King
  • “With writing, we have second chances.” -Johnathon Safran Foer
  • “When you’re missing a piece of yourself, aching, gut wrenching emptiness begins to take over. Until you find the link that completes your very soul, the feeling will never go away. Most people find a way to fill this void, material possessions, a string of relationships, affairs, food…I bear my soul, with words, for all to see.” -Jennifer Salaiz
  • “You cannot hope to sweep someone else away by the force of your writing until it has been done to you.” -Stephen King
  • “I am simply of the opinion that you cannot be taught to write. You have to spend a lifetime in love with words.” -Craig Claiborne
  • “If a story is in you, it has to come out.” -William Faulkner
  • “A story isn’t a charcoal sketch, where every stroke lies on the surface to be seen. It’s an oil painting, filled with layers that the author must uncover so carefully to show its beauty.” -Amelia Atwater-Rhodes
  • “To me, the greatest pleasure of writing is not what it’s about, but the music the words make.” -Truman Capote
  • “Becoming a writer is about becoming conscious. When you’re conscious and writing from a place of insight and simplicity and real caring about the truth, you have the ability to throw the lights on for your reader. He or she will recognize his or her life and truth in what you say, in the pictures you have painted, and this decreases the terrible sense of isolation that we have all had too much of.” -Anne Lamott
  • “Sometimes a book isn’t a heartbreaking work of staggering genius. Sometimes it’s the only story you knew how to tell.” -Tahereh Mafi
  • “When I am writing, I am trying to find out who I am, who we are, what we’re capable of, how we feel, how we lose and stand up, and go on from darkness into darkness. I’m trying for that.” -Maya Angelou
  • “You are lucky to be one of those people who wishes to build sand castles with words, who is willing to create a place where your imagination can wander. We build this place with the sand of memories; these castles are our memories and inventiveness made tangible. So part of us believes that when the tide starts coming in, we won’t really have lost anything, because actually only a symbol of it was there in the sand. Another part of us thinks we’ll figure out a way to divert the ocean. This is what separates artists from ordinary people: the belief, deep in our hearts, that if we build our castles well enough, somehow the ocean won’t wash them away.” -Anne Lamott

A New Blog Look And My Writing Journey.

31 Mar

“Everything you’re ashamed of, all the parts of yourself that you keep secret, everything you want to change about yourself – it’s who you are. That’s your power. Deny it and you’re nothing.”-Fame

Last night after I watched Fame (the 2003 version…sorry to disappoint), I was messing around on WordPress and decided to change the look of my blog, while also adding a few widgets (or the various things located along my sidebar). I added a countdown to Ireland. As many of you know, I’m studying abroad in Ireland this summer, and I just had to have a countdown. I’ve also got one on my computer that’s broken down in days (it’s 87 days, by the way). That seems so crazy. 87 days until I’m in Galway, Ireland. WHAT?! Ah, so so cool.

Anyway, I’m happy for a new look on here, and I hope you all enjoy it as well. I figured it was time for some change, especially since it’s Spring. Also, in terms of change, I feel like I have changed a lot since beginning this blog back in November. As crazy as it seems, I began this blog 5 months ago. I’ve blogged every single day for the past 5 months. How cool! However, I owe it to all of my amazing followers who’ve given me nothing but support and encouragement. Really, all of you are so awesome!

I feel like I’m a very different person than I was back in November. When I began this blog, I didn’t really know where it would lead. At the time, I didn’t know that in 5 short months I would have established “Tuesday’s Tunes,” “Photo Fridays,” and above all, the beginning of my first novel, a memoir of sorts. I was thinking today about the journey my writing has taken. I haven’t ever been in touch with my own writing as I have since beginning my novel at the end of January. Though I’ve always had a love of writing (despite a 2 year hiatus when I was trying to figure out what I wanted out of life…which I still don’t quite know the answer to), it hasn’t always been this raw, this natural, this true. A lot of what I wrote growing up was fiction: mostly short stories and some poetry too. There were a few times I attempted writing about my own struggles when I was younger, but back then, I didn’t fully understand everything. I still had so many more questions to answer and tons of obstacles to work through. Also, I wasn’t mature enough yet to attempt to understand the reasoning behind my own emotions that I felt as I was going through all my surgeries and physical therapy sessions. However, that doesn’t mean that I’ve got it all figured out now. I definitely don’t. Writing this book is a journey. A journey filled with pain, fear, love, hope, and dreams. And it’s a journey I finally want to take (which has not always been the case).

It’s exciting to know that I’ve reached this point. Yes, the entire process of writing this book will have its ups and downs, but right now, during one of the high points, I’m finding happiness in the fact that I’ve finally found my voice. I’ve found my voice in the sense of finally knowing how I want to share my story. Through writing, yes. But for a while I didn’t know what I wanted my voice to sound like for future readers. However, I’ve begun to understand that there’s only one thing I want my voice to be: authentic. If I’m writing about a memory that’s sad or emotionally hard, I’ll cry through it. If I’m writing about a memory that makes me angry, I’ll be angry. The only way my readers are going to be able to feel all the emotions I went through is if I shed every tear and let out the anger right along with them.

True Writing Lies In Vulnerability.

29 Mar

“Your task is not to seek love, but to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.”-Rumi

I came across this quote by Rumi this morning, and for a while, I just sat and stared at it. Do you ever come across those quotes that seem to say what’s in your heart better than you’re able to say it yourself? Well, this quote did that for me this morning. Through the process of writing my book, I’ve broken down a lot of barriers inside myself. Barriers that housed the pain, the fear, the details of the really hard memories. Now that the barriers are slowly being bulldozed to the ground, my true self is showing. I kept so much hidden for so long, and now that everything’s being exposed, I feel so vulnerable. It’s scary to think that through my writing everyone will be able to see so much more. They’ll see all the pieces, rather than just the parts that are relatively put together.

Though allowing others to see all that I went through is a big part of writing this book, it means that I’m pouring out every memory, every ounce of pain and fear, to put myself in an extremely vulnerable position. Last year in my Freshman English class, my professor (Dr. Cox), who is now one of my writing mentors, pointed out that reaching the point of vulnerability in our writing was the best place to connect with others, and ultimately, who we truly are. Dr. Cox also told me that writing isn’t “true” unless it costs the writer something. Though I understand what Dr. Cox means, it’s scary to know that by sharing so many details of my life, strangers are going to get a picture of who I truly am, inside and out. Though I have no doubt that putting myself in a vulnerable position will allow others to better connect with who I truly am, I feel like I’ll no longer have certain memories that are mine and mine alone.

However, through this book, I want to connect. I want to show other kids and families that have kids with Cerebral Palsy that they are not alone. I want to show them that I’ve been there and I understand. However, to do that I must break down all these walls in order to share the memories that will put me in the most vulnerable position possible. However, though vulnerability is scary, it’s also raw, true and the most honest portrayal of myself I can provide to my readers.

A Writing Day.

28 Mar

There is no greater tragedy than bearing an untold story inside you.-Maya Angelou

And with that, I’m off to work on my book. Happy Wednesday everyone!

Photo Friday: Blue Ridge Sunset.

23 Mar

“Be not the slave of your own past – plunge into the sublime seas, dive deep, and swim far, so you shall come back with new self-respect, with new power, and with an advanced experience that shall explain and overlook the old.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson

As most of you know, I’m in the process of writing a book. However, I’ve been taking a break from my writing for a while. I feel like I need to catch my breath. It’s been a nice way to focus on the people in my life that I love, while also giving me time to reflect on myself as well as the beauty that’s around me. Recently though, my back has caused me a good bit of pain. There have been multiple times in the past few days that I’ve been walking and I’ve come to a complete stop due to the back spasms that come out of nowhere. It’s almost as if the breath is knocked out of me. Because of this recent back pain, though it has been extremely unpleasant, it has given me a jumping off point for some descriptions that I’ve been wanting to include in my book.

Certain pain that not everyone has felt is really hard to explain. I don’t doubt that at some point everyone has had some sort of spasm, but it’s nothing like the intense spasms I had in my legs after surgeries though. But the thing is, I want people to be able to understand. I want people to be able to try to envision the degree of pain that I felt. It’s just such a hard thing to describe. Pain. We’ve all felt it. It can be dull pain, sharp pain or any one of the grey areas in between those extremes. But my spasms were neither dull nor sharp. They’re quick, fast, alarming. It’s like if you tried to keep your arm straight for as long as possible and then all of a sudden you bent it really fast. Multiply that by a really huge number, and you’ve got the spasms that I’ve felt in my legs. Even with that, I don’t know how to describe them in a way that relates to everyone. I just know what I felt.

The unfortunate part about writing about all this pain is that it happened so long ago. And since it was a very painful time for me, I have no doubt that I blocked out some of the really small details of the degree of the pain. I wish I knew the exact words to describe the pain, but I just don’t. The words aren’t coming. All I remember during all those spasms are the screams that I let out. I screamed so loud. It was my release. Growing up, doctors and physical therapists told me that I had quite a voice for how loud and often that I screamed. I also have an incredibly strong grip in terms of my hands. I feel like the screams and the hand strength combined makes a lot of sense. When the spasms took over, I needed any sort of way to feel in control. Though I hardly ever did, I screamed out the pain. I held the pain in my hands as my knuckles would go white due to grabbing onto a mat or the arms of a wheelchair.

Though my CP has made me into a much stronger person, the pain and fear that I faced was overwhelming. I’d never wish it on anyone, no matter how much I dislike them.

Tuesday’s Tunes: Dulling The Pain With Alan Jackson.

20 Mar

On the drive up to Shriner’s Hospital for my second surgery in 2003, my mom and I stopped at Best Buy so that I could get a new cd as a present. I picked Alan Jackson’s Greatest Hits Volume Two. From the time until I bought that cd until I went into the operating room for my second surgery (and afterwards), that cd played in my Walkman. Now, when I hear a song from that album, I think of how I replayed that cd in order to drown out fear. I remember my roommate at Shriner’s, Jocelyn, and her bouncy blonde curls and heavy southern accent. I remember how Jocelyn and I would go to the computer room down from our room and play Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, laughing at how much money we “won” or “lost.”

In previous posts, I’ve mentioned how specific songs have brought me back to a specific moment, a specific time in my life. But in terms of the Alan Jackson album, I’m not only reminded of specific memories, I’m reminded that music could also make me happy. Though my parents most likely got sick of the fact that I listened to that cd on repeat for months, it dulled the pain in a way. Or rather, it brought a small smile to my face in between the grimaces of pain. When I think of the Alan Jackson cd though, I remember how it didn’t take me long at all to memorize the words. I remember listening to it as Jocelyn wished me luck in surgery, and then later learned that she had been discharged while I was in surgery, but chose to not go home until after my surgery to make sure that I was okay. Or as okay as could be expected. I remember the good things. The things mixed in with the bad that reminded me to keep trying even though all I wanted to do was cry.

I’m beginning to see that not all the memories in my book will be sad. As I push through the really bad ones, I’m reminded of the good ones (from the hospital)….like dulling the pain with Alan Jackson, my first hospital roommate (Ginny), the benefits of craft night, the weekly visit of the therapy dogs, the ICU nurses….and more that I can’t think of right now. When I visited my best friend Skidmore this past weekend and she read what I’ve written so far in regards to my book, she suggested that I alternate chapters between good and bad memories. She pointed out that a “happy” chapter may be a nice breather in between the really sad, painful tear-jerker type chapters, which is a good point.