Perhaps you’re familiar with the sensation. You sit down to write, your story a brilliant movie playing in your head, but the blank page in front of you sends a sickening throb of fear through your chest.
What if the words come out wrong?
What if you can’t make the story on paper as glorious as the one in your head?
What if you fail?
And so you sit, paralyzed by fear. You check email. You post on Instagram. You decide your toilet really does need to be cleaned right. this. second.
You do anything but write.
Fear can be useful. It can motivate us to work hard. To revise and edit and get a second opinion before revising once more. It can drive us to the limits of our craft in a mad effort to do better on this story than we’ve ever done before.
But fear can also…
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Source: Art of Writing
My best friend killed herself and I told myself my fight for suicide prevention had nothing to do with my grief.
For nearly a year and a half, I researched every related topic, every keyword, every article and news link, every way suicide correlated with her life or mine. I dug into her past. I dug into my past. I encountered the next death and I didn’t even blink.
Suicide number ___, in my mind. Lost hope. Lost battles to cancer. Drug overdoses. Loss number ___. I searched every hashtag. I followed, bookmarked, and connected with every organization and professional available to me. College work would be due, I’d go to research a topic, no matter what it was, I landed on suicide-related things. I collected articles I didn’t have access to otherwise. I didn’t stop. I couldn’t stop.
Neither could death by family member number four or suicide number…
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Lately, I have been trying to do an exercise for my brain in the morning called ‘morning pages ‘. Basically brain vomit put in physical form. This helps me to clear the crap that weighs me down, and recognize my problems so that I can address them. It actually is helping. I used to understand the power of keeping a diary… Unfortunately people happened. Said people used those diaries against me. So I got out of the habit. I stopped listening to the internal therapist. And the result? I have a fair amount of issues that bind my self esteem in a knot. So by starting to do this at least one time each day, I am going to see so much of what garbage is buried in my brain. And I will see what I am able to start working through. I will be improving who I am.
Today I found that I was feeling like a failure because I was not juggling the numerous hats I wear as well as I want to. Today I was kicking ass as a mom, but my writing was not going as well as I wanted it to. I rocked as a friend and I even did decent as a housewife. But I was doing poorly as a crafter and small business owner. I was an amazing artist but I felt that I was not a wonderful person…. Now… Read this again. Today I was amazing but I did not feel like it. That is the place where the exercise helps. We have to change how we see the world if we want to change the way it sees us.
What’s something that you can adjust your way of thinking about? And how can you use it to make your world brighter?