Power of the Written Word

Back in the end of May/beginning of June the Stanford rape case was everywhere you looked. My Facebook page was full of articles discussing it, the mainstream news talked about it daily. People were outraged, with very good reason. I was one of those outraged people.

There is so much that can be said about this case and about rape culture in general. I could go on and on about it and have done so numerous times. But the one thing that I love about this particular situation, is that this survivor was brave enough to put her experience down in the written word and it was so powerful that it could not be ignored.

It was read in Congress, which according to an article I saw, is the first time such a letter/statement was read and added to Congressional Record. It was read on a news program by a reporter who got choked up and had a difficult time finishing the reading. When it was first on Buzzfeed and went viral it was read nearly 5 million times in one weekend.

As a writer, this fact has stuck with me since the entire thing first was publicized. This is what I love about writing. Sometimes it can be fun and entertaining and not really that important in the grand scheme of things. Other times, it can drive a powerful message home that is so often ignored. That girl poured her heart out in that statement, letting go of any fear or embarrassment. She wrote it down in a way that connected with people–people who have never experienced a situation like that before, who now have at least an idea of what it is like from the survivor’s perspective.

I would love to meet this woman, to congratulate her on her immense bravery and the impact she made when she wrote down those words. In spite of the turmoil she experienced, she managed to be strong enough to do something to make this world a little better and she should be incredibly proud of herself.

Notebooks & Books On Writing

Apparently I’ve been missing out, not knowing about this book. It seems that many high school English classes use it, but mine definitely did not. The book is “Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within” by Natalie Goldberg.

I’m only a few chapters in, but I’m already loving it. There are so many prompts and ideas and I’m finding it all to be quite inspiring. I read a chapter or two and I have to stop because there’s something that I want to write down before I forget!

I’ve also decided to follow in Natalie Goldberg’s footsteps and start using just plain, single subject, spiral-bound notebooks for my writing practice. I’m a little bit obsessed with office supplies, notebooks included, so I find myself constantly buying new ones, different ones. I’ll buy a large 300 page notebook and then before I’ve even filled 5 pages, I buy a pretty composition book style notebook. And another, and then a fun journal that I liked because it opened flat. Before I know it, I have 6 or 7 empty notebooks lying around, only 25% filled in total! It’s like I’m spending more time worrying about the notebooks and which one to write in than I am actually writing. And how silly is that?!

I figure that if I take the guesswork out of it and give myself that “routine” of using regular single subject notebooks, it will enable me to be more productive.

Basically, I should know by now that I work best with a routine set in place. At the very least, organized chaos. 🙂

Workshopaholic

I’m searching for writing workshops I can attend (that don’t cost an arm & a leg) that are local, and I haven’t been having any luck!

For some reason I’m really craving a writing workshop. Maybe I’m feeling nostalgic for my college classes, or the summer workshops I would attend in middle and high school. School, but only involving writing. I could do that all day!

However, earlier last week I came across a few helpful websites!

http://writing.shawguides.com/index.cfm?action=search&fSearch=arizona&fSiteID=6&fSearchPointer=1&subaction=doSearch

http://www.azauthors.com/event_calendar.html

I’m pretty interested in a few of them–hoping I’ll be able to attend! I don’t mind conferences, but I’d really like a genuine workshop more than anything. Something that feels like I’m back in the classroom.

In other news, I have been severely slacking in the October Writing Challenge…! I’ll forget for a couple days then catch up a little, then forget again. I just feel like I need a “boost” with my writing lately. Not feeling motivated. Last night I randomly got inspired/motivated to work on my book some more, so that was good. I’ve decided to change quite a few things. There are more elements of mythology I want to add, after reading up on it more. It’s funny how these mythological elements keep popping up, matching what I already have in the story. I love it!

Freelance Resources of a Spoiled Generation

The Internet makes life so much easier, doesn’t it? I’ve come across various online resources for my freelance business, and it makes me wonder what people did before the Internet. We are so spoiled. HaHa! One resource I really like, though I haven’t used it all that much yet, is Elance.com. I use it to search for writing and editing gigs, and it seems like there are tons of options. So far I just haven’t really cracked down, but as I mentioned in my previous post I am working on changing that! I would definitely suggest checking it out if you are a freelancer yourself. There are posts from all over the globe, really. For all kinds of projects–personal, corporate, educational, etc. They were pretty thorough in the whole profile verification process, too. You have to schedule a Skype call where an Elance employee takes a photo of you to verify your identity, based on your display photo, I believe. I hope everyone is having a fabulously productive Tuesday! It’s gloomy & rainy here in normally sunny Phoenix. Makes for a nice change of pace, but I must admit that I miss the sunshine!

Creative Push

It’s amazing to me what a little push of inspiration can do.

The other day I used a B&N gift card to buy “624 Things to Write About” and the prompts are great so far!

Of course it’s wonderful to sit down with a blank screen/page and have creativity just pour out of you without need for prompts, but sometimes we need a little bit of a nudge in the right direction. It puts me back into that college workshop mentality. Sitting down with a group, getting the same bit of inspiration as everyone else, and going with it. That was always interesting–to see where people’s minds went. Creativity is great like that–very specific to each person who is cultivating it.

I am a busy girl currently with a lot on my mind (two volunteer mentoring gigs, full time job and part-time job, trying to get a book published, other personal situations) so being able to sit down for a brief amount of time but still have a decent amount of creative productivity is amazing! And much needed. 🙂

Adjusting My Mentality

I may have talked about this topic before, but it’s currently on my mind so here I go. 

For the large majority of my life I was always anticipating the next step. My mind was constantly already on the next big thing. Impatiently waiting for a new chapter to start. That whole “13 going on 30” thing was especially true for me. I couldn’t WAIT to be an adult. I couldn’t wait to get to high school, then college, then get married, then have babies! 

I’m quickly approaching 28 and most of the things I thought would have already happened haven’t yet. As the years went by I realized that the preconceived timeline I had in my mind wasn’t really important after all. Not to me, anyway. I don’t have any children yet… and while I did get married I also got divorced! And I don’t care! That’s not to say that I think divorce is frivolous and something to be taken lightly; I certainly don’t. But I’m definitely not beating myself up over the fact that my life took a different turn. 

Something that I did start beating myself up about, however, was that I’d been working on a book for 2 years and hadn’t finished it. It’s like my mind was always so preoccupied with the future that I wasn’t taking the necessary steps in the PRESENT to get to the future… if that makes any sense. It does no good to anticipate being an author if you aren’t finishing an actual book. Duh. 🙂 I needed to adjust my thought process to focus on what was going on currently in my life rather than anticipating what I wanted to happen in the upcoming months and years. I mean, this seems fairly self-explanatory, I’m sure. But it really did take some effort to switch this up in my mind. I needed a jump start. 

Living pretty much entirely in the present is not only helpful for my work (I’ve been more productive in the last year than in the last THREE years), but it’s helpful for my personal life and my general state of mind. I didn’t want to look back and feel like I missed out on life because I was too focused on what was coming up in life. 

So here I am. Doing my best to live in the moment–in the present. I finished my novel and am working on the sequel. I started my freelance editing side gig. I started volunteering as a mentor to a foster child. I’m working up plans for a potential after school writing program (we’ll see what happens!), and I’m just doing what I can to enjoy life right now. 

Writing Residency

So have you seen this? Amtrack to possibly offer free rides for writers?

I think that would be incredibly fun/interesting to do! It also got me thinking about residencies in general. I would love to do one… ! I should look into that for this fall. What with needing to have a full-time job to you know, pay my bills, I doubt I’d be able to do anything longer than a 4 day weekend, but that would still be beneficial.

What a dream… to just go somewhere and write. Eat. Sleep. Write. Walk around in some nature and what-not. Heaven!

If I was by myself I think I might get scared, though. Haha! I’m imagining being out in the woods… or up at the Grand Canyon or something… renting a house for the weekend… and I think there probably wouldn’t be much sleeping going on. My childhood fear of the dark and noises in the night would likely come back fairly strong. 🙂

In my dream life I’d be like Ernest Hemingway (and I’m sure so many other writers in history) and have a little studio apartment to venture off to when I needed to focus. THAT would be the true Heavenly scenario for me.

I wonder what a residency is like… has anyone done one? Let me know in the comments if you have any input!