Write in Your Own Unique and Magical Way

We writers try to get our hands and eyes on every piece of information regarding the myriad of ways, forms, and fashions in which well-known writers write/have written. We try to imitate, emulate, grasp for any minuscule scrap of inspiration in which to awaken our creative muse. Stop and think about that for a minute. WE are looking at THEIR stuff to awaken OUR creative muse. And then we wonder why we have writer’s block?! Maybe it’s because we are trying to be more like them to get at what they have. We want what they have. We need to embrace what WE have.

We will never shed the skin of incompetence if we are trying too hard to grab onto what someone else has. It’s like comparing ourselves to them, trying to study them, trying to be like them. Don’t misunderstand – it’s all well and good to study and read and enjoy the works of others. It does feed the creativity and inspiration bug. But studying more on how someone else does something to improve your own writing might stifle your efforts just a bit. You can take all the creative writing classes in the world and study the works of every NYT best-selling author in your genre and still fall flat on your face.

Face it. You want to be the next J. K. Rowling. C. S. Lewis. Tolkien. No. You want to surpass them. Your first step in attaining this goal? Stop trying to be like them. Stop trying to write like them. Stop trying to beat them. Be yourself. Write from your own unique perspective.

Each person on the planet was born into a unique set of circumstances. We each were born with a mission, and we each have many purposes. We were not placed here to be someone else. We were not replicated. We are not clones nor robots. We have our own mind, behaviors, imagination and quirks that no one else has. We are each unique and special and it’s from that uniqueness you should find your writing groove. There is no one else quite like you. No one else has what you have. No one else has your voice nor can write like you. Own that. These are TREASURES!

Do you find yourself stuck quite a bit on your writing journey? There are so many reasons for this: Trying to be like someone else. Trying to be as good as… Not enough self-worth, not enough faith in ourselves, overthinking everything, the thought of “One day, I’ll be published. I’ll be famous. I won’t have to worry about how to pay the bills ever again!” All these things block us, psychologically and creatively, as well as emotionally, spiritually and mentally.

So my advice? And this goes out to me, too. Write from your own heart, your own soul, your own mind. Don’t wait for inspiration to strike, or for your muse to awaken, or a free hour in your day to show up, to actually sit there and write. You make the time each day, wherever you can. You do it because you cannot live your life without making time to do that thing you love – writing, imagining, playing/conversing with your imaginary friends. Get up 2 hours earlier. Stay up 2 hours later. But work it in somehow. Write during your lunch hour. Write instead of watching 3 hours of tv.

Make your inspiration:

Use a coffee cup that inspires you – either sit it on your writing space & fill it with writing tools or fill it with coffee/tea.

Fix yourself a glass of wine, or two, or three, if that helps with your flow.

Put on a “magic shirt” or “magic cape” in which to stir your muse.

Buy a “magic quill” and bottle of ink and sit it on your writing space. Or just a photo of it.

Heck! Go break off a limb and craft your own “magic wand” if that’s what gets you inspired! Or turn your pencil into a wand by decorating. Point it at your screen or tablet of paper or your brain and command, “Wake, Creative Muse! Create! Work through my mind and fingers! Make my writing great!” LOL (Go check out this cool page I found on creating your own magic wands out of pencils!)

Find something fun and add it to your writing routine. But make it your own.

And don’t focus on the end goal of being published. That’s putting way too much pressure on yourself. Just write because you love it. Do it for the fun of it. And if, one day, you finish the book and you revise and revise and revise and proof and proof and polish, then perhaps you can attempt to get it out into the world. But even if it never gets there, you have accomplished a great feat! You finished what you started. And that’s big. HUGE!

Ciao for now. Smooches! xoxo

-Carol

Catching up – everything and the kitchen sink

i-missed-you

So I realize I’ve been absent a while. Many of you know I started a new adventure – my family etsy store. Not only have I been busy creating, filling custom orders and managing the biz, I have been studying up on other items we will soon be adding. (By the way, the store is http://www.etsy.com/shop/cedarcreekhaven and if you want a 10% off coupon, one will go out in the upcoming March newsletter, and you can sign up for it here.) Also thinking about adding a blog related to the store and creating/crafting, perhaps showing how-to’s, perhaps how-to instructional videos, step-by-step how to’s…I don’t know…it’s just a thought. Not sure if people would be into or open to that. What do you think?

But my absence is not only in relation to being busy with our store. I’ve been working, of course, with my clients (non-store related) and, admittedly, I’ve not made much time for writing. Like everything I do in life, I put it off. I put off what’s important to me. I push it off the plate, talking myself out of it, as if I have no time for it, or I tell myself I’m not a good enough writer or look for some sort of way to self-sabotage because that’s what I do. It’s what I’ve always done. Okay, maybe not with everything. I mean, I have run businesses that I started myself and ran for years and actually loved it and was quite successful. I question myself there, too. How could I have been?

***I had an idea. I didn’t spend a ton of time planning and thinking about it. I just thought about it for a day or two, made a quickie 1-day plan, started finding ways of drumming up business, got booked for a couple of months making more per hour for myself than half that working for someone else, put my 2 weeks notice in at my regular job that I hated, and POOF! I was running with it and I ran with it for years.

Then the recession hit the fan and I was offered a full-time gig working for one of my clients, so I took it while the taking was good and before I ran out of work. Girl’s gotta pay the bills. Plus, firms were slowing down on calling my freelance legal service. After years of being highly sought after, the calls stopped, but I could still pay the bills because I opted for the full-time gig. Smart, right? I mean, sure, the money was good and I had benefits but isn’t there more to being happy than that? It can’t be all about the money and benefits package.

What about the inner-most callings of your heart? My heart?

For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to be a writer. A writer of books. Of course, I didn’t know when I was 5 or 6, it was about books. At that time, it was about making up funny songs and imaginative, adventurous stories to tell my dolls (Patty, Lisa, and Tender Love Baby Doll) and stuffed animal (Peaches, the Wonder Dog!), and oh my, how they loved hearing them, as they sat on the edge of their seats, gripping the covers, wide-eyed and gasping, on the edge of my bed, and sometimes couldn’t even contain themselves, as they fell right off.

And then time passes by and your stories have become private – your innermost secrets not shared with anyone. Not even your dolls because they are packed away.

And then time passes and you’ve lost all belief in yourself, so you stop writing. Anything.

I sat one day thinking I used to write great imaginative stories that my teachers loved and asked to keep. I used to write poetry and songs. I even wrote love letters to my beloved one-day husband, or who I wished to be my husband – not that I had anyone particular in mind but more of a dream of what I wanted him to be… I never met him. I married once, had the daughter of my dreams and lifelong prayers, and happily divorced. My daughter is still the child of my dreams and prayers, and I’m happy being single, but deep inside, very very deep inside, I still wonder what it would be like to have that best friend, that confidant, that man that actually listened when I had something to share, and actually remembered what I said. That man who knows how to make me laugh when things have become too serious and knows how to make me laugh just because he knows I love to laugh. That best friend who shares his soul and allows me to be heard, respected and treasured. I still wonder if he exists. Who knew I had any sense of being a hopeless romantic?! I surprise myself. Or maybe it’s just me living in my own little dream world bubble.

Even the thought of the love letters drifted through the years and I had resigned myself to never marry, adopt my daughter when I turned 35 and live happily ever after as a writer or secretary. I knew one thing for certain. I had to have my baby girl. Thankfully, love is blind and I married and had her and she looked like me, which made me appreciate my looks for the first time. Since then, she’s brought me to appreciate so much more about me and about life and about humanity and God. Actually, she brings out the best in me. She helped me to appreciate my mother more and to see everything differently. I treasure every second with my mom and daughter.

And I was a secretary for over 20 years.

More time passes and you start writing again because if you don’t, you’ll just burst! The voices in my head could no longer be stifled. I had to let them have their say before I lost my mind. I tried to ignore them for years. They were just not having it. I’d start a book. Then, at 2 am, I had a nightmarish idea for another book, so got up to write everything I could remember about that dream. Then, I’d start another book from another dream. Other voices showed up. It was a nightmare! Creation overload much?! Some might be thankful for the outpouring of such creativity but I was easily overwhelmed, I have to say. I told the voices that I have a job and a family and I need sleep, so the voices stopped again. The cool dreams stopped. I worked, I was there for my family. And then I wrote articles and sold them to magazines. And I ghostwrote stuff for clients, which worked well. I edited for them, proofread, a little of everything really, but I still, deep in my soul, was unhappy. I just could not understand. I gave up writing books, even though it made my heart so full of joy, and I’ll tell you why…

It wasn’t earning me any money. It can take years to write a book, especially when you are working full-time hours and taking care of a home as a single parent and raising a family. It just didn’t seem feasible. And I was giving myself negative self-talk such as “You aren’t a writer. You’ll never be any good. What are you doing? Why waste your time? You have no talent.” Actually, I was looking for ways to sabotage myself. It’s what I do.

I go back and forth with this all the time and I don’t know that this time will stick but I’ve been making small steps lately, making changes, trying to simplify my life. I realized and I’ve known for a long time I’m a hypersensitive person. Everything affects me. I cannot watch the news or read it or even hear about much of it because I will go home and cry my eyes out. I cannot see graphic pictures and videos that hurt my heart, mind, and soul, so I am careful what I view and I’ve been in the process of deleting Facebook “friends” who choose to post such crap and say stupid stuff like “Oh, I should have warned this video was graphic. Sorry, not sorry.” Some of my friends call me an empath. I don’t know what I am except I am going to be careful what I let into my brain because I am a very sensitive and emotional person. I feel deeply and I think it sucks. I guess that’s one thing that can possibly make a writer good – you can feel the feelings of every character easily. And since I’ve been so unhappy not writing what’s truly in my heart, I’ve decided to get back to it. I did participate in Nanowrimo in November, so that was a step in the right direction for the book I’ve worked on for the last 2-3 years. It’s more than half finished so that’s another perk. Much of the research has been done. I’ve talked with several experts in various fields, so there’s much truth to my fantasy adventure YA novel series. No more am I going to focus, at all, on ever having it published. I may continue to get my finished children’s book out there – I have been submitting to agents for a little while. From now on, when I write, I will write for me. I will act as if never another set of eyes will grace my typed pages and when it reaches completion, once I’ve revised once and twice and polished and proofed and final, I will then, and only then, take it to my Beta readers and decide if it’s meant to be out in the world.

And since I’ve been so unhappy not writing what’s truly in my heart, I’ve decided to get back to it. I did participate in Nanowrimo in November, so that was a step in the right direction for the book I’ve worked on for the last 2-3 years. It’s more than half finished and books 2, 3 and 4 all have a bit of work done so that’s another perk. Much of the research has been done. I’ve talked with several experts in various fields, so there’s much truth to my fantasy adventure YA novel series. No more am I going to focus, at all, on ever having it published. I may continue to get my finished children’s book out there – I have been submitting to agents for a little while. From now on, when I write, I will write for me. I will act as if never another set of eyes will grace my typed pages and when it reaches completion, once I’ve revised once and twice and polished and proofed and finalized, I will then, and only then, take it to my Beta readers and decide if it’s meant to be out in the world.

But until then, I write for me.

***(reading back over this, I think I need to return to this plan – not the legal thing but the 1-2 day brainstorm/planning, 1 day of going with the plan and taking action, getting the word out, getting clients booked and just go, go, go!) Stop thinking. Start doing. Thinking is my biggest problem. It’s always been my biggest problem. I overthink everything!

Anywho, sorry for my rambling on. Just wanted to catch you up on everything and I got carried away. But now you are all caught up. Did I leave anything out? Sounds like I put in everything but the kitchen sink. Oh, guess I just added that. Huh?

I hope you are all well as are your loved ones. Drop me a line and let me know how everything’s going. I’ll attempt to do better on updating more regularly. And I’ll try not to be too wordy.

Love, hugs and smooches,

Carol

 

Sorry for being MIA – Have a Fabulous Turkey Day!!

thanks

Just wanted to drop a line or two or a few…

Sorry for being MIA. I have been working on NaNoWriMo and updating more on Instagram (@carolblakesessums) than anywhere else lately.

I will be more present and updating more regularly to the blog come January. December will be even crazier than November with Christmas and revising/polishing my book, so if I don’t see y’all on the blog, hopefully I’ll catch you on Instagram or I’ll see you back here in January. I haven’t forgotten you or the blog, so just know you are loved and special and thought about and I hope you have a fabulous, fun, filling Thanksgiving with all your favorite foods, family and friends! That’s a lot of F-words! The good kind! Believe it or not, I did not actually plan it that way. Ha! Just one o’ them things…

Go out there and make some memories. Don’t forget to take pictures!

*smooch*

Love ya,

Carol

Nanowrimo 2016 – Time to lose our minds

nanowrimo_2016_webbadge_participant-200

“Are you crazy?”

“No, I’m a writer.”

“Om…isn’t that the same thing?”

____

Join us, one and all (children and teens included), and join in on the intense month of intense writing. Get your writing frenzy on! I’m ready! *coffee in hand*

Fell Off the Face of the Earth

fallingNo, I didn’t. Though, I’m sure some of you probably thought I had. I’ve been so consumed lately with work and then Spring Break vacation and family time, I’ve not put much focus toward writing nor blogging. However, that’s all about to change. Yes, I’m gearing up for facing sleepless nights and early mornings once again. No more sleeping in till 5 or 6 am. I’ll still be putting forth my 46+ hours of work per week, adequate time for family and then all the extras will come in within those hours while the rest of the world sleeps, and I’ll be missing those precious hours of dreaming, though they’ll still be precious, as I’ll be appointing that energy to writing daily and blogging at least once a week.

And if you haven’t figured out how crazy I am yet…

Camp NaNoWriMo, Here I come!

Yes, indeedy, I’ve lost my mind, taking the plunge of investing up to 50,000 words and finally finishing my novel (book 1) during the month of April. I’m not entirely sure it will be 50,000 words that I type during the month, as I’m half finished with book 1 already. Mostly, needing to reorganize, then finish. Certain parts need to be transferred to books 2 and 3. So, that’s my main objective for April – finishing book 1.  Then May will be spent revising, editing, proofing, polishing, employing my beta readers, querying agents/publishers, and finding representation/ publication. A little crazy?  Yes. Impossible? Never. I have reached 50,000 words before during a NaNoWriMo and Camp NaNoWriMo, so I know I can do it. Plus, it does become a bit easier once you get in the habit of getting up at 2am or 4am every morning to get in your 1,500 to 2,000 words per day.

If you are a writer and love a challenge, I encourage you to join in April’s Camp NaNoWriMo. It’s free and it’s most helpful if you need a kick in the pants to motivate you to get your rear in the chair and write a book or finish something you started. Wanna learn more about it? Check this out.

When you work from home and have a family, you set a crazy schedule that best works for you.

Here’s my schedule now:

M-F

Up, fix coffee, get ready for the day 6-7

Work 7-8

Fix breakfast and lunch for the kiddo 8-830

Work 830-430 (while walking 2 dogs every hour, it seems)

Prepare and sit down to supper 430-5 or 6-630 (depending on day)

Family time (depending on how much homework and studying Mini-me has) 5-8 or 630-9 or 10

Get ready for bed – anytime between 8 and 10, depending on what’s going on that particular day

Sometimes, it varies, though. Sometimes, I start at 4 or 5am, depending on what else I have going on that day. And if I have to be out at appointments on a particular day, I’ll spend part of Saturday morning getting the rest of my work hours. Plus, getting in a smidge of writing time on some of those mornings or evenings. Sound crazy? I rather like it, myself. It’s not that hard working in your pajamas or a t-shirt and shorts, and for clients you actually like, doing work you actually like. Plus, it’s nice setting your own schedule.

My new schedule, starting April 1, will look more like this:

M-F

Up, coffee will be ready (on auto) 4am

Write quietly (in office or livingroom) 4-6

Get ready for day 6-7

Then, everything else, and making sure I get to bed NLT 8pm, and hoping Hallie can make it to bed by then, as well

 

I’m gonna be a tired Mama-jama.  Of course, if there are appointments anywhere that day, I’ll be getting up at 2am to fit it all in, as well as getting up super early on Saturday morning. I’ve done it before.  This is not just my schedule for April but will my schedule for May, as well, since I will need to fix all the details and polish the book the month following Camp Nano. Half-way dreading it and half-way super excited to dig in!!  Are you coming to camp? Will you be joining a cabin? Look me up if you like and shoot me a message.  To message me inside the camp, I think I’m Carol-Blake or Carol_Blake. This may be my last opt-in for the cabin-mates. A couple of times, it was really great, because a couple of the bunk mates made good conversation and I made new friends (that are still friends in and out of camp) but most of the camps, the cabin was pretty quiet. Not sure that I’ll be making much conversation in April, either. We’ll see.  And good luck to you, whether you join us at camp, or not.

What are you doing in April? Got any big goals planned?  Been thinkin’ about you guys! And been missing y’all.

Chat soon! Smooches!  xoxo

-Carol

Thank you, Jesus

My second thank you letter in my 365 Thank You Letters project.

_____

My dear, sweet, loving Jesus,

jesus

How very special you are to me! I can never thank you enough for always being close by, guiding me, along with our Father’s help. Thank y’all for the employment of God’s many angels, for all our many blessings and most of all, for saving me from my sins so that I can be with you and my family in heaven one day, hopefully far, far from now. No offense. I surely will be so very happy to see you again. I just want to be around on the earth for a while so I can spend more time with my two favorite girls, witness my daughter graduate high school, then college, then her marrying the right guy, my playing ‘Nonnie’ (otherwise known as grandma) to my grandbabe(s), witness my mom turning a happy and healthy 110+, and witness so many more blessings.

Thank you for showing up at all the right times when I needed you most. I know that was you. I felt you sit on the edge of my bed and soothe the pain in my soul. You lulled me to sleep that night. Thank you for getting me out of all those bad decisions and almost bad decisions, for loving me in spite of my many weaknesses and stupidity and anger and meanness. Thank you for your forgiveness and for going to our Father on my behalf.

jesus2

When I think of what all you went through for me (for all of us), I can’t help but cry, sweet Jesus. To go through so much torture, cruelty and torment, it physically hurts my heart and body. I wish it could have gone a different way. I wish you could have saved us from our sins without going through such pain and suffering. But you did do it. And you did it for us. Because you love us. Because you’re strong and brave and your love has more courage, strength and power than any physical abuse you could have ever experienced. I know you are healed and feel no physical pain now, but my heart still aches when I think of those six hours you spent on the cross and the torture leading up to that.

Please forgive me for my sins. Please wash me as white as snow. Wash those sins away and renew me in you, sweet Brother. I belong to you and to our Father and I always will. Please help me to be more like you, fill me with your love and compassion and friendship and kindness so that I, too, can spread that love and goodness like you did and still do. Help me to be courageous and strong in spirit. Help me to have confidence so that I can do whatever it is you and our Father wish for me to do. And fill me with your strongest faith, Jesus. You are my truest hero and I will never love anyone as much as I so deeply and truly love you!!! Thank God and YOU for your beautiful soul!!

Love forever and ever till the end of time (if there is such a thing),

Carol

 

Images courtesy of http://www.akiane.com/ and photobucket.com

Living the Adventure to Completion

boots

Buried deep within the caves

The recesses of my mind

Taken there by worn tired weathered leather

And antique sheets wrapped with twine

bookandtwine

 

Past the echoes and whispers

Through the dark twisted figures

Evermore deeper still toward the dark

Torment and fear churn and shiver

darkscary

 

Not turning to whence I came

Facing the struggle and climb

Promise beckoning me adventure on

Completing the trek is mine

the end