Friday, June 24, 2016

Flashback Friday: The Beginning of a Writer's Journey

**This post is a part of the new Flashback Friday series. Participants use the last Friday of each month to repost an old post that needed more attention, that you're very proud of, that you think is still relevant, etc. It is hosted by Michael G D'Agostino at A Life Examined. This is my very first Blogger post from September 19, 2010.**
The Beginning of a Writer's Journey
I went to the ladies retreat with my church this past weekend and I came across this sudden inspiration to write. I guess in God’s eyes, it’s not sudden at all, He knows all the seeds He has been planting over the years. I think the very first seed was planted back when I was in 6th grade in Arizona. Through my class' writer’s workshop I first learned about the writing process and different types of poetry, and I found out that I really liked writing. During jr. high and high school, I didn’t get the same enjoyment from writing for my classes, except in my 11th grade English class with the writing portfolios we kept. I did start keeping a diary on a semi-regular basis during high school, and have written in it on and off since then. Those were more seeds for my inspiration. In college, writing became more of a chore, there was always something that needed to be written about in every class, and even many of my exams were essay tests. I started to get tired of writing so much and began to, as they say so nicely, “BS” my way through many of my reflections and reports. Despite these strained feelings toward writing, seeds were still planted from others. My professors would remark on how thoughtful and well-written my reflections were. There was a fellow student who asked me to help write a skit for a group project because she heard I was a good writer. My friends sometimes commented on my cards or emails being inspiring. But at that point in my life and even up until about 2 years ago, I didn’t feel like an inspired, good writer.

Part of my inspiration to write comes from reading good, engaging books. A couple years ago, I hadn’t read anything for a while, and I decided to start back up again. I picked up one of Karen Kingsbury’s books at the library and had no idea what I was getting myself into. For those who haven’t read her books, Karen takes you into her stories in a way that makes you feel like you’re a part of them. I feel like the Baxters are real people who I know personally. There are many other good authors, but the reason I was drawn to Karen’s stories was because those were the types of stories I wanted to write back in the 6th and 11th grades. Realistic fiction: that was the genre I was drawn to; inspiring stories of things that could happen in everyday life. Reading her books revived my desire to write. I started collecting ideas for books or stories by making lists in notebooks, on my computer, in my phone…I had so many ideas floating around that I became overwhelmed with them and had no idea where to begin. So I procrastinated and still did not feel motivated to write, at least not publicly.

Finally I find myself back where I started: with the retreat (everything written beyond my first sentence above was just background information…) The theme was “A Legacy to Remember.” Beforehand, I didn’t really feel like I had a legacy to leave, and being without a husband or children, I had nobody to leave it with. But, God was already preparing my heart for what I’d learn over the weekend. I read a devotional story right before I left on Friday. It was about a girl’s grandmother who wrote thousands of letters to her children and grandchildren throughout her life. It says, “Part of Gram’s legacy was how she lived her life, but part of it, too, was the words she left with us all—words that became an extension of the woman who penned them.” I reflected on the fact that this story mentioned a legacy, which just happened to be the theme of this retreat I was about to leave for. I also began thinking about how much I would love to write more to encourage my friends and family. During the retreat, so many women talked about the legacies that have been passed down through the generations of their families. But, what I noticed the most was the many times writing was involved. Twyla read a story she wrote when she was younger; Darla mentioned the importance of keeping a journal of your thoughts and reflections; Sara brought journals from her experiences in Germany and Mexico. I came to the realization that maybe writing could become my own legacy. After all the encouragement and inspiring moments over the years, my spark was finally ignited. So, I am beginning a journey, one that I plan to share with my friends and family. I don’t really know where this journey is taking me, but I know that I plan to continue on. I want my words to leave a legacy in someone’s life. I don't know if my writing is really that good or not, but I hope these writings are uplifting to those who wish to bear with me through these beginning steps.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

The Struggle Continues

            Well, I thought I had more to say on my Struggle is Real post, but after reading it over again, I think there is not much more I could say on the subject beyond what I already said in that post and others like this one. I’m not sure where my train of thought was heading, but it’s gone now. That happens to me a lot in writing and speaking. I think I’m going somewhere and then my train of thought disappears entirely, sometimes right in the middle of my sentence! Like I said in that previous post, I have been distracted and demotivated by work, so I'm sure that's a factor in my inability to focus. I have also been trying to get some things done around the house over the past week and my internet connection has been very slow at times. I will try to sit down and make some blog visits eventually when I am ready for a lesson on patience (as I wait for pages to load), but my chores are calling me right now. For now, here are recent pictures of my lazy cats and a beautiful peacock I saw at the Renaissance Festival last month.


Verses for the week: "Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.  For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.  So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal." 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 (NIV)

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Good Morning! Would You Like Some Coffee?

            Alright, so I'm not really a morning person, in fact, this post will be scheduled to go up before my morning alarms go off. But I do like coffee! I came across this great video in my YouTube recommendations in the aftermath of the A to Z Challenge. I actually did mention this particular cantata in my post for Letter D. This is the 4th movement in J.S. Bach's Secular cantata Schweigt stille, plaudert nicht, also known as the Coffee Cantata. This song is quite hilarious, if you read the English lyrics (or know German). And believe it or not, it was written between 1732 and 1735! I hope you enjoy :)

            In other news, I wanted to continue some thoughts on my post from a few weeks ago, but I have not managed to get them written out yet, but it should be coming at some point. I did find a nice way to share some of my older devotional posts. I signed up for Michael G D'Agostino's Flashback Friday, which will occur the last Friday of each month. Since that post is already written, I will probably have two posts next week, one on Wednesday and my first Flashback Friday post. So, I will be back next week. Now go get that coffee, milk, orange juice, or whatever morning beverage you enjoy!

Monday, June 6, 2016

Question of the Month: Where to Next?

The Question of the Month is a bloghop that occurs the first Monday of each month and it is hosted by Michael G D'Agostino from A Life Examined. Here is this month’s question:
Of all the places in the world that you haven’t yet been to, where would you like to go next?

            Initially, I thought this would be a hard question to answer, because I love traveling and I have dreams of traveling to many different places around the world. It would be hard to pick just one place I’d like to go next. After thinking it over, I realized that I know exactly where I hope to go next: Virginia! “Why Virginia?” you may be asking, well, because that is where one of my best friends has been living for the past few years and I have not yet been able to visit her there. Since I have never been to Virginia, I would have a new state to mark off my list. It has been over a year since I have seen my friend, so it would be great to catch up with her in person again. Plus, she has invited me multiple times to fly out there, so I think it’s about time I go!

Where would you like to go?

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

IWSG: Narrowing Down the Genre

            Time for another posting with the Insecure Writers Support Group, where writers can share their insecurities and encourage one another. IWSG was founded by Alex J. Cavanaugh and we share our posts the first Wednesday of the month. The co-hosts for June are: Murees Dupe, Alexia Chamberlynn, Chemist Ken, and Heather Gardner.

            I did not write as much as I wanted to this month, but at least I did get started on my novel! One thing I figured out pretty quick is that I do not write the same way on my computer as I do writing by hand. I’m also having trouble with choosing a genre, has anyone else had trouble with genre before? Genre selection seems hard for me. I just can’t seem to decide what genre my book is. At first I thought it might be a memoir, but I thought it would be too boring. I could have a taken a non-fictional psychological approach, but I doubt people would take it very seriously since I do not have credentials in psychology. And so I decided to go with fiction. When I first started writing on my computer, I was making it a realistic fiction based off of things that I have experienced. It just did not seem to be going anywhere, so I took a break for a few minutes and decided to try writing by hand. As I was writing in my notebook, my story took an interesting turn toward a sort of soft science fiction. I still don’t quite know how to classify my story, but it has been an interesting trip so far. As of now, my current WIP (Work In Progress to my non-writer friends) is a young adult soft science fiction that may or may not become a series. Despite this slight confusion, I am feeling less insecure this month simply because I have finally embarked on my WIP :)

Maybe this chart will help...
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