Tag Archives: My Book

Are You In Need Of A Writing Push?

13 Jun

“The great thing about dreams is no one else controls them.”

The above quote was told to me by one of my writing mentors 3 years ago, and I haven’t been able to get it out of my head recently. Yesterday I got some great support from the same writing mentor who told me the above quote.

Even though I haven’t touched my memoir in quite a while, the simple realization that there are people out there aching for me to share my story as much as I’m aching to get it out is enough of a push to help me to understand that I can’t stop writing. I can’t stop writing, even on the days when it hurts so much to emotionally revisit my painful past. I owe it to myself as well as those who love me to share my story of what it’s been like to live with, and ultimately overcome, Cerebral Palsy.

So here is my mantra as of today: Write On.

Have any of you recently needed a push to keep on writing? What has been your fallback when looking for something (an object or something abstract) to push you to keep digging for the words that you long to share with the world? 

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Every Scar Has A Story.

4 Jun

“Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars.”-Khalil Grbran

One of my previous physical therapists, Meredith, shared the above quote with me a few months ago when I was going through a rough patch while writing my memoir, when my head was stuck in the memories that brought me so much physical pain that I wasn’t even sure where to begin writing. Lately I’ve been shying away from working on my memoir because I feel like I need to be able to just sit quietly in the closet with some of my memories that are mentally boxed away before I can shed light on them and begin writing.

I’m a very introspective person, and I’d rather sit outside among the natural beauty around me and reflect on life rather than be surrounded by tons of people. I enjoy time to myself, and since I’ve reached a point in my life where I’m not utterly terrified to reflect on my past, the pain I felt, and the memories that sometimes still haunt me, that’s what I choose to do: revisit the memories, even when they hurt. Occasionally, I wonder why I choose to fill my head with memories that hurt, but then I realize that facing the memories is the only way I’ll be able to accept myself. I kept the memories boxed up for so long, kicking the boxes to the back of my closet and refusing to even think about them.

I’ve been told that the special thing about scars is the story they tell. I hated my scars for such a long time. I never wore shorts even when it was really hot outside because I didn’t like to look down and be reminded of the physical and emotional pain that I went through. So during the summer, you’ll see me in jeans, no matter the temperature. I’d rather wear jeans and feel okay about myself than wear shorts and feel self-conscious. For many years, I couldn’t bring myself to even look at my scars. In the beginning, they scared me. Then, I hated them for being a reminder of my pain. And now, instead of being afraid or angry, I am reminded of not just what I went through….but what I fought through…and what I survived. My scars are a reminder that I survived a level of pain that most people can’t understand. Though my scars will forever be a part of me, they are also a reminder of what I’ve endured and overcome in order to reach a point in my life where I can honestly say that I am happy.

My scars tell their own unique story: the story of my life with Cerebral Palsy, full of every detailed memory during my childhood and teenage years. They hold more emotion than I can even fathom, much of which has been released over time through the process of writing my memoir and having this blog. And even though every day is a little bit easier for me to write what I felt during the years of intense surgeries and intense physical therapy, my scars still remain. Even though my surgery scars tell the first part of my story, the part that involves intense surgeries, 15 years of physical therapy, and many, many tears, they don’t tell the part of the story that I’m living now. I do. I’m writing the story of my life, and I’ve always held the key to unlock the boxes of what I’ve felt. However, it wasn’t until a few months ago that I actually realized I wanted to open up those boxes. But I haven’t just wanted to look at them, I’ve wanted to write them. The pain, the hurt, the strength. Because writing it all down makes it that more real, while also making it easier to be able to say: Yes, I have Cerebral Palsy, and I’m a survivor.

Starting My Internship Tomorrow!

3 Jun

A few months ago I applied for a summer internship with Lark Books, a book publisher in Asheville. I learned about the internship through a job and internship fair held at UNCA, and I’m so glad I came across the Lark Books booth. I informed Lark Books at the fair that I was interested in the internship even though I knew I’d be in Ireland for 5 weeks of the summer, and they urged me to still apply.

I applied, went in for an interview, and last week I found out that I was selected for the internship. I’ll be working from tomorrow until the 15th, go to Ireland for 5 weeks, and then return to the internship to complete the 160 hour requirement. I’m so excited to have still been given this opportunity despite the fact that I’ll be in Ireland for 5 weeks. I can’t wait to learn more about the book publishing world (since I know close to nothing at this point).

Lark Books is a branch of Sterling Publishing, which is based in New York. According to sterlingpublishing.com:

Founded in 1949, Sterling Publishing is one of the world’s leading publishers of non-fiction books. We are unique in that we have the reach of the major publishers yet the passion & creativity of an independent press.

I’m really excited for this opportunity to learn all the facets of the book publishing world, plus having the chance to be back in the city that I love: Asheville, North Carolina. I have no doubt that I will learn a lot, while also having the opportunity to make connections in the publishing world that will help me in the future. Most of all, however, I’m just eager to get to know a new group of people and be introduced to an area of work that is of interest to me, especially since I love to write and hope to publish my memoir someday.

Published Again: The Holstee Site, My Life, is now live!

9 May

Last week I wrote a post about how I wrote a piece for the Holstee site, My Life, about how the Holstee Manifesto has impacted my life: Getting Published For The Third Time?! I’m excited to announce that the My Life site has officially gone live, so all of you can now go read the piece that I wrote for them!

My piece can be found here. All of the pieces written for the site are categorized under Travel, People, Wellness, Work, or Passion. My piece was placed under Wellness, which I feel like fits since I talk about my CP and how the Holstee Manifesto has given me the push I need to continue writing my memoir/share my story with the world. Anyway, last night I spent a good amount of time on the My Life site reading other people’s’ stories, and if you have the time, you should read a few more other than mine.

It’s amazing how people can be in completely different phases in life and having their own unique life story and still be able to say that they were touched by this inspirational poster, the Holstee Manifesto. If anything, the people who wrote the stories for the site have all been impacted by the poster. Whether it has meant discovering their passion, realizing they aren’t enjoying the life they are currently living, or finally deciding to follow their dreams….it’s words that helping them come to that conclusion. I don’t know about you, but I find that really, really cool!

Anyway, check out the piece I wrote for My Life, pass it on to others who you think might enjoy it, and most of all, give me YOUR thoughts on it. I always love hearing what my fellow bloggers and writers have to say.

Find ALL of the stories here, including mine: My Life.

How Do You Deal With Criticism, Writer’s Block And Burnout?

2 May

This past Friday, I met up with one of my writing mentors, Mike, that I hadn’t seen in over 2 years. It was great to see him, and we had a great hour and a half conversation about writing, life, struggles, etc. Since Mike is one of those people who is a writer himself and will tell me the honest truth, sometimes I’m a bit hesitant to share what I’ve written with him.

I have yet to share any part of my book with him because I feel like I’m still in the early stage of writing my memoir. I only started writing at the end of January, and I’ve only written about 12 pages (which I’m not exactly proud of. However, I was dealing with schoolwork up until a little less than a week ago, so what can you do?). Though I’ve only written 12 pages, at this point, I’m still very close to those 12 pages of my life, my heart, and ultimately, my soul. Those 12 pages are memories that I’ve pulled directly from my heart and written down. They aren’t changed in any way. They are as close to the actual truth that I have been able to get (since I’ve realized that I’ve blocked out a good chunk of memories due to their degree of pain). Deep down, I’m not ready to share anything yet. I still feel so emotionally close to what I’ve written so far. I mean, it’s my life. It’s what I felt, not just physically, but emotionally too. How can I turn it over to someone to critique just yet? I understand that dealing with criticism is a huge part of being a writer. I also understand that I’m going to get good and bad criticism, and it’s important to focus on the good criticism since that is the advice that will propel me forward. However, I just feel like it’s too soon. Does that make sense?

Now that I’m done with academics until the fall semester (or until I study abroad in Ireland in June), I have the time to sit down with my memoir and try to sort through as many memories as I can that I have yet to write down. However, at this point, I’m just not sure where to go. I sit down to write, and nothing comes out. I think it’s primarily because I’m not in the right mindset for the memories to surface. The things that I want to share aren’t particularly happy, so sitting down to write when I’m in a relatively cheerful mood doesn’t get me anywhere. Though I understand that the writing process isn’t something that occurs overnight, it’s hard to wait when I just want to finally get all the painful memories out. They’ve been buried inside for so long. We all have to face our demons eventually. I may as well start now.

When I talked with Mike on Friday, he made the comment that my memoir is something that I shouldn’t force, and since it is such a delicate topic for me, it’s something that I should try to not get too frustrated over. However, since the process of writing is frustrating anyway, some frustration is normal. I think the best advice Mike gave me was to start another writing project (as well as working on my memoir). He pointed out that since my memoir is such an emotionally heavy project, it’d be good to work on something light on the side. Whether it’s poetry or a short story, working on another project is good when I’m stuck on my memoir. Mike said “Even if you write a short story about bunnies, you’re writing. That’s all that matters.” Mike has made a point to tell me that writing every day is an important part of writing. Even though I’ve seen the benefits of that (through this blog, mainly), I guess I didn’t consider starting another writing project.

I didn’t consider starting to write something other than my memoir because my memoir was taking up so much of my emotional energy. However, now that I take a second look at it, I guess that’s why people take on multiple writing projects….to give their mind a break from focusing on the same writing project day in and day out. I know that since I’ve started my memoir, there have been days that I just don’t feel like working on it. However, in the back of my mind, I know that I’ve got to work on something if I want my writing spark to stay alive. There have been previous times in my life when I’ve taken breaks from writing, but not just a break from a particular writing project, but a break from writing altogether. Even though in those instances I’ve eventually returned to writing, the breaks from writing have made it even harder to get back into the swing of things.

So, moral of the story: Write every day (no matter what), don’t let a certain writing project burn you out (start something else to keep your writing juices flowing, while also allowing yourself to have a break from the first writing project), and don’t give up (I know writing is frustrating, but for the few of us who love it, writing is our passion, our love, and the only way we can accurately portray ourselves).

Are you ever hesitant to share something you’ve written because you’re too emotionally close to it? How do you deal with criticism? Would you rather focus on one writing project at a time or split your time between two different writing projects and why? I’d love feedback from you fellow writers! 

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?

Photo Friday: Holstee Manifesto.

20 Apr

So it’s Friday again, meaning that it’s also Photo Friday. However, instead of having the chance to get outside and take pictures during this beautiful warm spring day, I’m sitting in Atlanta Bread Co. about to continue working on the Humanities paper that I’ve been complaining about for days. Normally, I’m able to easily get into the paper writing zone and just go go go! However, this specific paper on top of all the other things I must focus on has placed me into a “I’m so stressed that I don’t even know where to begin” phase.

However, I’ve got the majority of the day to get this paper written, and I’m not leaving Atlanta Bread until I’ve reached the 6 page mark. Currently, I’m taking up 2 tables with the amount of stuff I have with me. My computer, obviously…along with piles of Humanities notes and 2 of my 3 sources that I’m using for the paper. Agh, I’m getting overwhelmed just looking at everything. But I’ve just got to keep on keepin’ on. A week from today, I’ll officially be done with the semester, and I’ll be enjoying my first day of summer. I’ve just got to keep that in mind.

Anyway, even though the photo I want to share for Photo Friday is not one that I have taken myself, I feel like it is the perfect thing to reflect on when in need of motivation or inspiration, and I’m definitely looking for inspiration right now.

This is known as the Holstee Manifesto poster, and it has had a huge impact on the world since its creation. According to Holstee.com, “A message that has since been shared over 500,000 times and viewed over 60 million times online. Years later it is encouraging and inspiring to see how many people the words of The Holstee Manifesto resonate with. Above all else, it has confirmed for us that with genuine positive intentions, anything is possible.”

When I first saw the Holstee Manifesto poster, I wasn’t sure what it was a part of, but I knew that it resonated with me. When I first read it, I cried because of how much the words truly spoke to me. It is a daily reminder than writing IS my passion, and I am eager to share every ounce of it with the world. Reading these words give me the motivation that I need to continue sharing my story, as well as recognizing that this is the only life we have, so we’ve got to make it count.

Happy Friday everyone!