Tag Archives: Inner Voice

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.

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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!

Tuesday’s Tunes And Advice From A Writing Mentor

27 Mar

I keep up with one of my writing mentors, Mike, pretty regularly. Recently, I’ve told him how the progress on my book is going and the different feelings I’ve been having. I thought I’d share what I sent to him and what he replied:

From Me to Mike: Though writing this book has been incredibly therapeutic, I’ve found that it has also caused me to bury deeper into myself. Though that is good in terms of growing individually and learning more about myself, it also creates a sense of loneliness that I know many writers struggle with. Though I have support from friends and family, they don’t quite understand the ability to get so lost in words that reality seems far away. Though many years ago I used to welcome the escape from reality that writing provided for me, now it seems to be more detrimental than beneficial.
There are days when I’m just lost in the words, in the memories, and climbing out takes more strength than simply sitting among the memories. It’s hard to plunge into shades of grey to write out my feelings. Then again, the only way to do this sort of thing is to just write. Write to breathe, to communicate, to connect, to truly live. The urge that I have to write in order to survive is strong, though sometimes being “in the dark place” for too long can be frightening. However, I’ve come to realize that in those places….the places of total fear and memories…are the places that I’ll be able to come face to face with who I truly am.
Through my writing, I’ve finally found my voice, which is something I remember you telling me the importance of a few years ago. Often times, people are surprised when they read some of my work only to find out that I’m as young as I am. However, though I am told how mature I am at my age, I remember that I came face to face with the reality of life at a very young age: the reality that life is hard and that the most important things one can achieve in life are never easy. Can you relate to any of this? The dark places…the shades of grey…the loneliness? How have you handled it?

From Mike To Me: My friend Tom Poland, who has made his living as a writer, thinks all good writers are flawed individuals; whether from an internal defect or something traumatic that happened in their life. I don’t necessarily agree, but a lot of us are. No one else quite understands how the process affects us. Other writers all understand the loneliness.
I am by nature a positive person and see the humor even in the darkest of times. I also find that writing about those dark days, times, and feelings is therapeutic for me. We all have dark days, periods of nothingness, and insecurity.
People who want to write, to open up their heart, put it on display and allow others to pass judgment on what is written, are different from the rest. If you want to write, whether you eventually become recognized or paid for the effort, you must have some of those feelings. Writers are more introspective, see things differently, and analyze events and feelings different from other people.
I have had a relatively simple and ordinary life. You have suffered and endured more already than I have in my whole life so far. I can’t begin to relate to what it must be to try and dig up some of the things you find deep inside. I do think it is important to do it, even if no one ever reads it but you (and hopefully me). The writing is the important part. It begins to take shape as you sweat over every word and you become stronger with each deeply hidden scrap you uncover.
Guy Clark wrote a song recently called Hemingway’s Whiskey, about the art of writing. It is simple as are most of his songs. Kenny Chesney recorded a version on the Lucky Old Sun album. Listen to an old man’s version of what you are feeling and stay in touch with me.
I am with you all the way and know what you are feeling. I am also extremely proud of you, as if you were one of my own. Keep digging and keep me informed.

Words cannot express the gratefulness I have towards Mike for always being truthful when it comes to the art of writing, while also being supportive and giving me the push I need to believe in myself. I’ve struggled with believing in myself for quite some time, and when I can see how much others believe in me, it gives me a spark of hope….a small glimpse that maybe the dream of sharing my story with the world could one day become a reality. However, like Mike said, writing is the important part (no matter if it’s published or not). I understand what he means by that, especially since so many times he’s reminded me how therapeutic the simple act of writing is. The knowledge that I’ll be a stronger person after I’ve uncovered all that has been hidden is another motivator, another push to keep on writing until all I feel is relief and joy.

Thank All Of Your Writing Mentors.

14 Mar

After yesterday’s blog post Does Music Help Your Writing generated so much feedback, I thought I’d stick with the topic of writing for today’s post as well. However, I don’t want to focus on just writing, but mainly how certain people have impacted your writing…and the different ways that they have helped you broaden your writing experience. I’ll start with some of the writing mentors I’ve had over the years.

  1. My seventh grade English teacher, Mrs. Trish: Though I enjoyed writing before I took Mrs. Trish’s English class, the belief in my ability grew when I entered her classroom. Not only did she encourage me to keep on writing, she helped me realize that I could use writing as an outlet, as a way to escape when reality became too painful. She was also the first person (other than my parents) who told me that I had “a gift.” Hearing that from someone other than my parents was a huge turning point. I remember when I let Mrs. Trish read the first article that I ever got published (Writing To Survive). She cried, telling me how proud she was of me and how she knew that one day I’d truly impact the world with my writing. I didn’t remember some of the great advice she gave me until reflecting on what I gained from her in terms of my writing, but I know that she was the one who first really supported me (besides my parents) in my love of writing. To this day, we still keep up, but not as much as I’d like since college keeps me busy.
  2. A previous co-worker, Mike: In my junior year at Salem, I interned at the Columbia Star (and wrote the article “Writing To Survive,” mentioned above). One of my co-workers there, Mike, had a huge impact on me and my writing. I interned at The Star for three weeks, and while I was there, Mike was constantly picking at me. Not in a mean way, but in a way that solidified our mentor-mentee relationship. When my internship was over, Mike wrote me a letter (that is still one of the most honest portrayals of what it means to be a writer I’ve ever read) and gave me Stephen King’s book, On Writing (which has been extremely helpful through the process of writing my book). I met Mike back in 2009, and I’m happy to say that we keep up a regular email correspondence, which I’m grateful for. He is one of those writers who I know will give me completely honest feedback on my writing. He knows what I’ve been through, and so he also knows that I can take the criticism, especially since he also points out that the criticisms he gives me come from his heart since he wants to see me grow as a writer and a person.
  3. My AP English teacher, Dr. Cahill: Between my internship with The Star and the start of my freshman year at Wofford College, I took a hiatus from writing. However, that doesn’t mean that I didn’t have people supporting my writing. Dr. Cahill is one of the teachers that I’ll never forget. She loves what she teaches, and she makes that known to her students. Though I didn’t do much personal writing during my senior year (since I had so many other responsibilities like college applications and being the editor-in-chief of my school paper), I still had support. For every literary analysis that I wrote in AP English, I went to see Dr. Cahill in order to get her feedback before turning in my final draft. Though she knew that I was an anxious student, she always made a point to try to lift me up. I remember one day when I was in her office she said: “Amelia, you’ve got to believe in yourself a little more. You’re a great writer. Can’t you see that?” It was in that moment that I realized how hard I was being on myself as a writer. To this day, I’m still hard on myself in terms of my writing, and I think it’s something that all artists face when trying to express themselves. However, having Dr. Cahill point it out to me was an important realization in terms of growing as a writer.
  4. My Freshman English teacher, Dr. Cox: Beginning in August of 2010 (my freshman year at Wofford College), Dr. Cox had a huge impact on me. She’s a writer herself, and one of the truest writing professors that I’ve known. I remember one specific assignment we were given during the fall semester of 2010. The assignment was to write a short story in which we held a specific belief and then over time our position/opinion changed regarding this particular belief. I put a personal spin on my story. I wrote about how as a kid I thought that I only had friends because I thought they pitied me. This opinion changed when, in seventh grade, I befriended my first true friend, Lauren. She showed me what it meant to be a true friend, and she helped me realize that I shouldn’t automatically jump to the assumption of pity when it comes to friends. Anyway, Dr. Cox helped me so much with this story. After a short conversation with her after class, I realized that she knew me better than I knew myself. I remember the end of that conversation because Dr. Cox said: “Amelia, writing isn’t true unless it costs you something,” and I’m pretty sure I’ll never forget that. In my case, this meant showing my vulnerability to Dr. Cox as well as my English class, and I was scared. However, I got positive reactions from my classmates, and on future writing assignments I noticed that my classmates were sharing stories that were more personal for them. One day, I came out of class smiling because after having numerous classmates share personal stories, Dr. Cox pulled me aside and said: “It’s because of you, Amelia. You broke down the wall of fear that people had built around their personal experiences and made it known that it was okay to share them.” That is something that will always stick with me because it’s a reminder that my words have the power to impact others around me.

I have no idea where I’d be without these 4 people. Well, yes, I do. My writing wouldn’t be as developed as it is at this point. I wouldn’t have grown so much over the last few years. Thankfully, I still correspond with all 4 of my writing mentors, and every day I am happy to have their support and love. As writers, we all need guidance, whether we care to admit it or not. As it turns out, the people who guide us may be some of the most influential people in our lives, because they’ve taught us not only what it means to express ourselves, but how to look within ourselves to find our true inner voice. I know from experience that it can take a while to find your inner voice, but once you’re able to find it, a strong and life-long connection to creativity, and ultimately, to ourselves and those around us, emerges.