A little writer with a long way to go

Posts tagged ‘encouragement’

You aren’t crazy if you hear voices

There’s a stigma behind having voices in your head. At best, people will joke about it. “Everyone hears voices,” they’ll say. They might even tell you that it’s okay to listen to them. Might even tell you that it’s okay to talk to them. But then they’ll joke “But if they talk back, that’s when you should worry.”

They don’t realize that the voices in your head are actually a part of you. Probably a suppressed part.

Everyone likes to think that the voices in your head are dangerous. And maybe sometimes they can be a little reckless if you aren’t doing much with your life. Maybe they want to shake things up for you because they’ve realized that you’ve settled for a life you didn’t want. Are you at a desk job when you’d rather be out walking among the trees or working with animals? Are you working with kids when you’d rather be painting or writing? Are you in a place that you always want a vacation from?

Maybe your voices know you better than you know yourself. Maybe your voices are the part of you that was told to stop being so excited over “silly things” or told to be realistic and pick a job that would actually make you money instead of going after what you were actually passionate about. Maybe your voices just want a conversation but because so many people think voices make you crazy.

But what is crazy other than a lazy way of saying that you are too different to be taken seriously. Really? You’re going to let them tell you that. Don’t sell yourself short.

Next time you hear that voice in your head, or maybe even just a vague awareness of something else going on under the surface, tune into it. Listen to it for a minute. Give it a chance to actually voice its thoughts.

“What are you doing with your life?” It might ask. “Why are you even here?”

Maybe it isn’t being harsh. Maybe it realizes your actual potential and knows that you aren’t even giving yourself a chance. Maybe it wants to remind you of what you used to want to be.

Talk to yourself. It doesn’t have to be outloud. Your voice is in your head as well. All these voices are parts of you. Listen to them, make friends with them, see how to change up your life so that you are settling for something or just waiting for retirement for your life to start.

Embrace the crazy if that’s what it is for you. Crazy isn’t an insult. Crazy is knowing that you deserve better than commonplace and going after what you actually want in life. Find what’s holding you back, cut ties with it, and just listen to your own voice for once. Don’t let them silence you anymore.

Bittersweet NaNoWriMo

Today is very bittersweet for me. November 30 marks the end to NaNoWriMo, a challenge taken on by the most determined and amazing group of writers I have ever met. NaNo has come to mean so much to me in the last five years. But this year, this year I just couldn’t.

School has been kicking my butt this semester and I started falling behind early on due to mental struggles and emotional plight. I’ve been dealing a lot with things that are going on inside of myself that I am struggling to find the words for. I so wanted to jump into NaNo – even part-time! – to get back into the groove of writing and finding ways to express what was going on.

But some days, even making it to class was an accomplishment. I have been more exhausted these last months than I can ever remember. I am tired of being so different that people don’t really know how to help me.

But still I know that I must continue to do things as only I can, or my life gets voided. If I become like the masses, I cease to matter. One big grey blob of similarity and blending in will never be beautiful.

What is beautiful are those who walk their own way. Those who color themselves differently. Those like who I have met because of my years doing NaNo.

I have been so inspired by those I have had the pleasure of writing alongside and those I have learned from. I cherish each and every writer, study partner, accountability partner, and encouraging friend who has ever shared in my journey as I wrote through my novels.

Today, I want to celebrate my fellow writers. Their victories, whether by hitting the 50,000 word mark or just creating a character they love or a perfect scene to be used later. You are my inspiration and though I missed out this year, I will be back with a vengeance next year.

Silence No More

For most of my life, I’ve been known as outgoing. Always surrounded by friends or family and almost always talking. But under the surface, I’ve been hiding major parts of me because they didn’t fit with what I was seeing around me. Most of middle school I spent writing in class because it was an escape. I could be anyone on the page and I could create an environment of people in there that loved and supported me despite my oddities. My characters always greeted me with open arms of love and acceptance. It didn’t matter that I had created them and they weren’t in the “real world” as so many people reminded me. These characters were very real to me and their support got me through many difficult times.

I am here today though because I have found people outside of my own head that love and support me. It has taken quite some time to voice what I’ve been hiding and it was terrifying to say it out loud. But I have been greeted with love that I could never have imagined. To be so completely free around these people has been the most amazing feeling in the world.

But it wasn’t around everyone that I could feel this way. Around some people, I was still afraid that they would disapprove or ridicule me so I stayed quiet. I bit my tongue as much as I could. But little by little, I started speaking up a bit more. Little by little, I grew more brave. I found the courage to talk to more people. I found love in some cases and unfortunately others decided they needed to leave. It’s been a hard journey so far and it won’t be over anytime soon.

I present myself to you today as myself. I do not fit into the socially constructed gender roles. I am not a lady, proper and clean with intentions of starting a family because my birth certificate says female. I am not a tomboy wishing to play sports or be active and full of testosterone. I am not confused and I do not need to make a decision of one or the other to fit the society gender binary. Some days I wake up and wear hand me down boys clothing in order to hide a frame that is built small and feminine. Other days I wake up and put on a dress that fits that form. But my favorite days are when I wake up and pull on whatever feels comfortable without worrying how people will perceive me.

Because of this in myself, I disregard gender ideas and normal perceptions when looking at everyone else. Instead of boys and girls, I see kids playing on swing sets and running around. At college, I don’t understand the check boxes that sort people into male and female. I see everyone as a person with completely unique ways that will differ from every other person on the planet because no one else is like them. I strive to always see people like this because it allows me the most open and accepting place to start getting to know a new person from.

I completely love who I am when I’m being free and honest with myself. I love being able to share that with other people. Hiding myself has never been in my nature. It makes me literally sick to my stomach when I feel like I cannot be myself around a person or group of people. I’ve had many dark days struggling with this issue. Not because I am unsure of myself but because of how I expect people to act when I say things or just present myself to them.

So here I am. I will be as honest with myself as I can be and I will do my best to always present that to others. I love myself and nothing can take that away from me. I hope you will continue in my journey with me. They say it gets better from here and I believe them. Life is beautiful and full of wonder and I never want to stop exploring it all.

Reflections Beyond the Masks

I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting this Halloween season. Halloween isn’t a typical time for reflecting but I do it every year. Halloween used to be my favorite time of year as a child – better than my birthday or even Christmas.

Every year, I’d plan out my costume well enough ahead of time and work on building my costume. (Though for my younger years, the credit goes to my mom.) But the best part of the year was when Grandpa came to get me for our trick-or-treat excursions in a complementary costume. Prince Charming when I was Cinderella, a baby bottle when I was a preteen baby, a long-haired hippie when I went through my cool stage, and my favorite year, a blue M&M to compliment my red M&M.

You can't top this awesomeness!

You can’t top this awesomeness!

Sure my sisters and my dad went along but everyone knew what Grandpa and I had was special. You couldn’t fake this level of style. We had it and we knew it.

My grandpa was many things to me over the years but overall, he was my best friend. He inspired me to be different and be creative but more than anything, he taught me to be proud of that. Grandpa is the reason I smile when people call me weird. Halloween is the time for masks and costumes but by using those things, Grandpa ended up teaching me how to better express myself without needing to hide behind those things. A costume is great but you can’t wear it all the time. I sure tried but it got me into some trouble. I’d like to think that with every passing day, I show the world more of me. I’d like to think that but I know there are days I still try to hide myself from the critics and naysayers.

You can be anyone you want to be on Halloween but the biggest challenge of them all is to be who you really are.

NaNo Addiction

NaNo is barreling towards me as if it hasn’t seen me in forever and is coming to greet me with hugs and smooches and all sorts of embarrassing affection that I secretly love. I look forward to its visits every year knowing the excitement and energy it brings will always outweigh the annoyances. It brings parties and crazy ideas only found when you’ve had way too much caffeine (something it always demands so much of) and plenty of other writers doing the same crazy thing I’m doing.

I mean seriously, NaNites are crazy! Who carves out time in their day to write in a fictional word, tormenting themselves with a word goal that is sky-high, and trying to do this on top of classes, extra jobs, and everyday life. And the annoyances! Who can even stand it having so many characters to keep up with as they run through the brain creating plot holes and love triangles or just plain messes. It’s maddening!

So why do I do it?
addiction to writing
Because I have an addiction to writing. It’s my drug of choice. I love the exhilaration of watching my creations run around and react to the crap I throw at them. There’s a high in creating worlds much different from what I live in. And who doesn’t love having the power to have the final say in how something goes? Writing is amazing.

And I love a challenge. A novel in a month. Fifty thousand words in thirty days. Beginning, middle, and end – though not necessarily in that order. New people to get to know and new places to explore. It makes me wonder how anyone can say that writing isn’t their thing. But I know it’s mine so I shall drink it whole and take it all in.

NaNoWriMo is my new favorite time of the year. Christmas may still be my favorite time for family and food (with Thanksgiving close behind) with plenty of memories and traditions to keep close to my heart, but NaNo is a time for people like me. I plug myself fully into my writing and prove to myself that this is what I’m supposed to be doing. Above all else, this is what I want to do with my life. And with each victory, with each completed novel, is a reassurance that not only do I want to do this but that I can. I can do this.

If you ever considered doing this writing thing or have ever said of yourself “I am a writer,” give it a shot. During this time, there are no rules and no restrictions but a lot to gain for yourself. So what if you don’t finish or you have to quit because whatever, you tried something crazy and have something to show for yourself. But if there is any part of you that is curious or excited by the idea, do it. Sign yourself up on the main site, plug into the region nearest you to meet other crazy writers, and just go at it.

No fear can stop you if you just want to have fun and try something new. No doubt has any power over the person who says so what? And if anyone dares to make fun of you for writing, ask them what they are doing with their time – ten bucks they say Netflix. Try something strange and see where it takes you. The worst that could happen is that you get addicted to writing or decide it wasn’t your thing. And let me tell you, that writing addiction is extremely helpful in solving many other problems in your life.

Accountability

As NaNoWriMo draws closer to beginning, my focus on writing grows stronger. And of course my excitement and planning is heightened. But with school going on and hopefully taking on an extra job soon, time management can be a problem. If you’re doing NaNo this will probably be your number one hurdle to jump day after day as you fight your word count. NaNo bloggers all around will tell you to keep track of your word count, to have some accountability with your fellow writers or even just the people around you who know what you’re setting out to do.

I’m here to tell you to take that accountability a step further. Make sure people know how you’re feeling. Let people know when you’re excited so they can be excited with you. But also let them know when you skipped sleeping last night to knock out some extra words. Let them know when you’re writing something hard and possibly personal or trigger worthy. We draw from our experiences and it can hurt to write about something that is still hurting us. Let them know that this novel is kicking your butt and completely overwhelming you. Because if you don’t tell someone, you’re the only one dealing with it. And that’s hard during any time period and you’re about to embark on an adventure.

This year, I’ll be writing about some tough stuff again because it’s therapeutic for me. I’ll be bringing up themes surrounding my grandfather’s death and what his life still means to me. I’ll also be featuring abandonment because I’ve recently separated from my husband and I haven’t fully come to terms with it. My writing is personal but I’m not doing it alone. My family and friends will be there along side me and just a phone call away should I need them. At the same time, I’ll be staying central to my favorite genre and writing a story I’ve currently dubbed “Fantasy Saves the World” because it continually saves mine.

And be nice to yourself this November. Pump your caffeine but don’t overdose. Make sure you’re eating and getting enough sleep for your non-writing duties as well. And I’ll be here too and you can help keep me accountable as well. We’re in this together and win or lose, we are embarking on a great adventure that not everyone can even try.

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