Day 1 of write a novel in 30 days? What?! NaNoWriMo Challenge is ON!

It’s official.

This is the coolest writing challenge I’ve ever seen.

And, I’ve picked up my pen, ahem, keyboard and accepted the challenge.

Click here to read about it! National Novel Writing Month Site (NaNoWriMo)

Day 1 of this 30 day challenge began yesterday, November 1st. Writers are to write 50,000 words in the month of November. Which creates a novel – what?! Seriously?!

Why had I never heard of this? So, on 10/31 I signed up. And, enlisted a good friend to do so, too. You know us crazies like to have buddies on the ride with us.

If you are a writer and want inspiration, fine tuning of your skills – check it out!

I’ll be posting daily updates in case any one is interested in what this experience is like.  Day 1 for me started off with me being sick – ugh. And, had to work. So, how can someone who works full time figure out how to write 1667 words a day?? I’ll find out.

Luckily, yesterday evening, my internet stopped working. I say luckily, because I was watching Hulu and probably would’ve done so the rest of the night. So, what else could I do but get started?

I kind of had a storyline in mind, but did I have the guts to write it? It’s intense and real. After watching some of the inspirational videos at NaNoWriMo and reading the Pep Talk email from James Patterson – I agreed, I needed to write with abandon and freedom. I mean, no one has to read it unless I want them to, and it’s not like I think I’ll be published. And, Nancy Drew’s already been done. Darn.

So, with a cup of coffee in hand, dog happily fed and walked, window cracked open for some fresh air – I hunkered down in my bedroom, lamps for my lighting, soft music in the other room – and started hitting the keyboard. I barely looked up once through the first 600 words! Wow, I thought, heyyyyy, that’s not too hard. Am I fooling myself? Am I in the honey moon stage? Who knows. All I know is once I had an outline and got started – BAM!

Of course, I cheekily Facebooked my writing buddy and bragged of my great start! Not fair to her, it was her birthday yesterday so she had been going in 20 directions. I didn’t have the same kind of fun distractions since I was sick and just laying down anyways. Left with my thoughts – might as well write stuff down.

At the end of Day 1, I am proud and to report I completed 2,102 words. WOW! I knew I had a lot to say, but didn’t know I had so much to say.

This is the great WordPress post that sparked my interest – give it a read! It’s not too late to join the fun. Thank you, Ben Huberman at the Daily Post of WordPress!

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/10/31/nanowrimo-roundtable-1/

Interested in joining? It’s not too late. Here’s a breakdown of the word count to aim for tailored to your lifestyle:

http://voices.yahoo.com/nanowrimo-math-5-word-count-strategies-hit-50000-2065125.html?cat=35

That’s all for now – got to save my words for NaNoWriMo!

2013-Participant-Square-Button

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Never alone with a writer nearby

I’m sitting in my living room, laptop in tow, unable to sleep. It’s that quiet of the wee hours of the morning that I love. Where I have time to think, really think. No distractions. Nothing to get ready to do. A softness of life seems to live here in this time of day.

It’s just my favorite time to write and read.

Nothing especially interesting even happened. Or mysterious or curious. It was just a day. Yet, I’m thinking about it.

It occurred to me to turn on the t.v. But, I didn’t want to interrupt the peacefulness. The remnants of the day are rumbling around in my head. And, I am wide-eyed.

So, I started reading some blogs. I go to my daily ones: http://bravegirlsclub.com/ and http://jeanneoliverdesigns.com/blog/

These are part of my Morning Coffee.

Which, by the way, if you use Mozilla Firefox this add on is so cool! (https://addons.mozilla.org/en-us/firefox/addon/morning-coffee/) You can establish the sites you’d like to see on a daily or weekly basis, and literally have your Morning Coffee reads while you have your morning coffee with the click of a button! It’s a great way to keep in front of me what I want to value.

After reading my regulars, I decide to check out some new bloggers in the WordPress world. Every time I do this it’s like going to the library! Or Barnes and Noble. So many wonderful things to read I hardly know where to start!

I’m a book lover. Always have been, probably always will be. There’s something wonderful to me about going into a used book store especially. Like the books could not only tell stories, but they’ve been places. They’ve already been in peoples’ hands, been in their homes, traveled…been read. I always wonder about the people who have read a book before me. What were they like? Like me?

As a child, I really never was alone as long as I had a book. I would even walk home from school with my Nancy Drew hard covers in tow. Hardly looking up to miss stumbling. But, I didn’t care, I just had to know how the story was going. And, how in the world it would end.

Or when I would visit my great grandmother John in the summer. I always had two things with me: books and music. Nancy Drew hard cover books to be more exact. That were my mom’s when she was younger. Grandma John would tuck me in and turn out the light. I’d wait until I heard her bedroom door close so I could turn on my bedside lamp and keep reading! Oh, it was so much fun!

I still do that. Only now, I read on my phone of tablet. But, my husband will come to bed and I’ll turn off our lamp. And, get under the covers and read to my heart’s content.

f82db15af3c293f11a5e3f17a3d83a02I was always so grateful someone took the time to write out these stories! Yes, especially Carolyn Keene. Even though Carolyn Keene was not a real person (spoiler alert! http://www.nancydrewsleuth.com/history.html),  the ghost writers that penned under that name – my childhood was so rich in mystery because of you!

It was Mildred A. Wirt Benson, who breathed such a fiesty spirit into Nancy's character. Mildred wrote 23 of the original 30 Nancy Drew Mystery Stories.

It was Mildred A. Wirt Benson, who breathed such a fiesty spirit into Nancy’s character. Mildred wrote 23 of the original 30 Nancy Drew Mystery Stories.

These people, bloggers, writers, novelists – they keep me going. Keep feeding my imagination, opening my thoughts up to new things, or helping me revisit things in a different way. Perspective – fresh and sincere. Helping me escape reality. I mean come on, don’t we all have enough reality!

I can’t believe how far writing has come.  We are still young in our blog efforts, only making our appearance in the 1990’s, but we sure did come out of the gate in full force!

Thank you internet for allowing us to shoot our words into the network. And, hope that some like minded soul finds a little more of themselves in us. So, we are never alone.

indexFor fellow Nancy Drew sleuths, some interesting blogs to read:

http://usedbooksinclass.com/2013/08/18/reading-girl-sleuth-nancy-drew-and-the-women-who-created-her/

http://nancydrewsleuths.blogspot.com/

And, if you love casual gaming and Nancy Drew, then this is the best of both! www.herinteractive.com

Letting go to hang on

photo credit: seyed mostafa zamani via photopin cc

photo credit: seyed mostafa zamani via photopin cc

“It doesn’t matter what people say

If they are trying to lead you astray.

When others’ views of how you are

Matter more than truth in your heart,

Muster up the strength you’ve earned

And put to practice what you’ve learned.”

-Melissa Stroup

What would you tell the little girl or boy who was used and tossed away like a rag. Would you tell them there is no hope?! Would you ignore what they have been through? Would you devalue them by dismissing their pain and telling them to just get over it or that it didn’t really happen?

If we as adults, who are in charge of our own decisions, do not learn to deal, wrestle, and heal – what do they have to look up to? What if you had had someone teach you how to be real. How to journal and talk about your pain. How to have outlets for it, instead of stuffing it. How to be a person that can help others when they need to talk. How there is a God who wants nothing more than to meet you in the midst of your struggle and free you of it. I say this gently understanding that our thoughts of God are often confusing and muddy.

How different would your life be today?

Some of our friends and family were those children. How we care for them could make all the difference in their healing.

I had a dear friend recently share about her first panic attack. She didn’t see it coming, which is quite normal. They are swift and undetected. Until you learn what is causing them. I am here to say there is hope! And, there is an end to them. But, I’ve spent the last few years (and I’m grateful it hasn’t been longer) trying to figure out: how do I hang on?!

Since that conversation, I’ve been reflecting on how now a days I am able to handle things I couldn’t handle a year ago or more. Talking with friends on a trip that I haven’t talked with for 3 years or so. I left when I was very much at my worst emotionally. Smack dab in the middle of dealing with  facing the effects of the abuse I encountered when I was about 6 years old.

The panic attacks I started to experience were the signals I needed to take my pain seriously. And, in some way, I am thankful I had them. They couldn’t be ignored. And, our pain shouldn’t be ignored either. It is important to address our pain to allow healing. Do not belittle yourself by thinking you should just get over it, whatever it is. REACH out for help. Never stop looking for help. It is there.

The way I see it, all the stuff I didn’t know how or didn’t want to talk about – or did talk about but felt so vulnerable and sensitive it made me regret it – was bubbling to get out of me.

And, in the form of panic and anxiety, I was attacked. Seemingly from the outside. But, truly, it was my internal battle that was the real war ground. The external triggers simply acted as detonators for the mines inside of me.

I would have black out moments, migraines, blurred vision, heart racing, eyes twitching, body trembling, struggle to breathe, let alone concentrate or do anything normal like work or clean the house. All I could do was endure it. Cry and get frustrated. Felt so helpless and out of control thinking I was going crazy. Afraid I’d never recover. Being in relationships were just nearly unthinkable. What did I have to offer anymore? I needed so much.

It would literally take me at least 2 days to recover from one. I’d spend that time feeling depressed, sluggish and just worn out. The burdens we carry inside often make living life nearly impossible. But, how was I supposed to unload? And, on who?! I was hard pressed to find people that could handle what I shared. But, I did find a few. And, they are diamonds to me to this day. People that can hear your pain and see you in it, stop and really go there with you – you never let them go. And, now, I strive to be that kind of person.

Once I found the courage to fight for myself, a different kind of journey began for me. I had to let go of  the norm and everyday in order to conserve enough energy to look inside of myself. With the help of solid counseling, journaling and a God that never let me run too far from Him.

My healing came by engaging God even when I was mad, truly grappling – it’s part of the fight. Otherwise, I would’ve allowed myself to stay numb and find more ways to just disconnect. And, eventually wither away. And, God knows suffering and abuse. He knows first hand what I battle. So, even when others do not understand, I now can find comfort in knowing He does.

Now when I look in someone’s eyes and they are sharing, even though you can tell it’s not really all they want to say, but all they can say – you see, that is the look of the fight.

Hanging on is letting go of being embarrassed, or being afraid to say what’s really happening in us, or of our friends looking at us like they don’t know who we are anymore. Letting go of being afraid of admitting we don’t know who we are anymore.

Letting go of thinking my life had to look like everyone else’s around me.  As a woman, I hear all the time the question of am I going to have children. I have people tell me I would be a great mom. I have my mom friends that love it and encourage it, and I have the ones that have struggled and are more realistic about the challenges of it with me.

Facing this decision I always came up inadequate. People that have been abused struggle greatly with intimacy on any level. Marriage is just that much harder. My limitations in intimacy severely exposed. And, shame settled on me.

So, for me to hang on, I let go of that norm. I decided I didn’t need to focus on that like most of the women around me. I risked being different yet again from the people around me. But, it was good for me to let it go. And, the sweet peace I have is making it worth it.

One day I realized how much had been truly taken from me because I was abused. I need so much help to do what I see so many people doing without any struggle at all. But, I decided – no more.

I’m letting go of being robbed. I’m hanging onto God’s promise that He can make all things work together for good. All things. Romans 8:28.  And, He promises that He can do abundantly more than I can think or imagine. Ephesians 3:20.

So, I have let go of my deprivation. I have let go of thinking I’m destined to be this way forever. It’s just not true. I’m hanging onto my new dreams. Hanging onto forgiveness because it really does set me free.

It’s remarkable how far healing can bring a person. And, how hard you have to fight for it! I don’t even feel like the same person I was when I last around these friends. I feel…strong. And, calm – and peaceful. Not confused. Allowing myself to make the changes I needed in order to deal brought me to this place – a place of new faith. I have fought for it, too.

I have suffered and struggled and wrestled with the hard questions. Some questions I still don’t have answers to – but, I had to lay those down in order to have peace.  And, accept I may never know all the answers.

But, the things I do know for sure – those are the things I hold onto.

Resources from people who have fought and are overcoming. I have seen both in person I can tell you they are the real deal.

Victor Marx, Christian, Survivor, Marine, Martial Arts extraordinaire:    http://victormarx.com/the-victor-marx-story/

Beth Moore, Christian Author, Teacher and abuse survivor, speaks on Claiming Your Right to a Sound Mind  – I found this video one very hard morning and felt God met me there: http://lifetoday.org/video/claiming-your-right-to-a-sound-mind/

Bethany Dillon, musician – a dear friend sent this song to me and it meets the most tender hearted of souls where they are: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oFf-WaFJRTI

“But those who wait on the Lord
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31

Why do I blog?

Not that long ago, I was just in a world of hurt. Emotionally. Battling depression, struggling to just get through the day.  I remember walking my dog and seeing people golfing, or running, or walking their dogs – they looked SO happy. Not just happy, but in contrast to my brokenness they looked SO happy. You know what I mean?

And, just doing little things like managing myself at work on a daily fashion – that completely drained me. I tried so hard, but kept coming up short. I wasn’t connecting with anyone. How could I connect when I hated my own thoughts. I hated these stubborn dark feelings that were my near constant companion. It all made me…sad.

I remember trying to talk to people. How could I unload that kind of baggage? I resented even having to carry it. Let alone trying to burden it onto someone else? So, I tried, probably shared too much or nothing at all.

“The Wounded Heart “by Dan Allender (http://thepathlesschosen.com/) taught me we are not made to heal alone. This doesn’t mean not having your time of solitude. It is talking about being isolated, cut off where no one could help you.

It was one night I was journaling, but couldn’t find anything new to say. So sick of my season, I didn’t want to chronicle it in any way. I couldn’t even cry. That meant accepting my place – and I was fighting it with as much dignity as I could muster.

Then, I got online. I googled something like “how to overcome childhood abuse.” All kinds of things were found. A lot of blogs. Hmmm…a blog? You mean people actually write down what happened to them and share it online? Intriguing.

I have to admit – it was like a glass of cool water. I was not alone! And, some blogs gave words to my experiences I could never find in myself to express.

Soon, I found Melody Ross’ blog. Brave Girls Club founder. I’ve mentioned her a few times. I was absolutely moved by her sharing. Rawness, no shame in her game…I started changing. She describes her pain as so intense she had to retreat. And, how a bird, when it is wounded, heals fastest and best, when it’s set in a safe box, with holes to breathe – untouched for a period of time. http://melodyross.typepad.com/my_weblog/2009/01/you-will-fly-again.html

Some people blog about Jesus, some blog about being angry with God, some blog to help people, to create a network, on and on.

Blogging helped me do three things – three things I was in desperate need of being able to do:

  1. Figure out what I would say if people were listening
  2. Get more comfortable with not saying everything right
  3. Learn that everyone hurts, everyone has things they grapple with

Nowadays, I blog because simply: I love to write.

And, I thoroughly enjoy reading other peoples’ blogs. Because they took a risk and shared, I was found on those dark, lonely nights in my fight – I was found.

And, I hope my words help someone on a dark and lonely night. You are not alone. And, it will get better if you let your voice speak.

The art of sound

http://www.moma.org/interactives/exhibitions/2013/soundings/artists/9/works/

Camille Norment. Triplight. 2008. Microphone cage, stand, light, electronics, dimensions variable. Courtesy the artist http://www.moma.org/interactives/exhibitions/2013/soundings/artists/9/works/

One of my favorite sounds is quiet.

But, honestly, I tend to hear everything, yet can hardly tell you what so and so said about an hour ago. I get distracted by the hum of the a/c, the click of someone’s tongue when they’re talking, the ever present cell phone tunes and beeps, the way my friend laughs without taking a breath or that one bird in the tree that sings the same way every morning on my way out the door, when a loved one’s voice begins to  sound only  like droning.

I was a musician when I was younger. I learned to train my ears to hear not only what I was playing, but to listen to fellow players next to me. It was never just about what I was doing. It was about how all of us worked together. This created the art of sound. And, to this day, I can’t NOT hear every player around me unless I am intentional about tuning out, rather than tuning in to the world around me.

It’s so lovely when we have reached a place in our maturity, where we are aware of the things around us. No longer so self-absorbed that all we do is hear ourselves, our thoughts, our fill-in-the-blank.

I think because of the storminess in my soul off and on, I’ve been more acutely aware at times of every piece of thing around me. When I get to the point where everything is noise again – I go to my favorite sound: quiet. But, up to that point, I get impatient, anxious, distracted, and crave food for no reason at all.

On exhibit right now at the Museum of Modern Art in New York is Soundings: A Contemporary Score.

Part of the description includes something I relish reading:

“While these artists approach sound from a variety of disciplinary angles—the visual arts, architecture, performance, computer programming, and music—they share an interest in working with, rather than against or independent of, material realities and environments.”

With discipline, these remarkably talented people have learned to work with their environments. If I can find a way to translate that to my own life, I really believe I’d know what Paul meant in Philippians 4:11 when he said he had learned in whatever state he was in to be content.

I’m not sure that working with my environment would mean contentment, but I can see how embracing where I am would produce a creative work in me that I would never know had I not embraced.

I invite you to take a stroll through Soundings, and see if your mind isn’t challenged to see things a little different. The art is unique and I can’t help but wonder about each artists’ story.

Can you make a living as an artist?

photo credit: Linh H. Nguyen via photopin cc

photo credit: Linh H. Nguyen via photopin cc

Let’s find out, shall we?  The remarkable thing is art is wherever we see it or put it. Whether we write it, paint it, capture it, film it, sing it…

Practically speaking, to make a living doing anything you have to showcase your skills and talents. A portfolio.

I intend to put my I’m tired’s aside and prove to myself how badly I really want this.  Dig IN. Unabashedly create my portfolio with the spark I had when I first learned art was inside of me.

To begin with my discovery, the two women here are most certainly making a living from their art:

maya-angelou

 

“A bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer. It sings because it has a song.” ~Maya Angelou http://mayaangelou.com/

artbanner-resized

 

“She was inspired by the styles of the past and created pieces that tell a story today.”

~Jeanne Oliver

http://jeanneoliverdesigns.com/ quote on her eCourse: Creatively Made [Rediscovering the beauty of your gifts] http://www.jeanneoliverdesigns.com/item_142/Creatively-Made-E-Course.htm

What would you dig INTO?

a poet’s portfolio

medium_2881778314

photo credit: pfv. via photopin cc

A Poet’s Portfolio

“In the winding of the day, as thoughts become my lists,

I settle into the comfort that my heart’s words will persist.

Confronting defeat with power and skill,

Never allowing my faith to sit still.

It’s a lonely walk when I am looking for my way,

Wandering the trail, turning my back on dismay.

While in the quiet the loudness abounds

Of the questions invading the peace that surrounds.

Examining my heart to read its script,

Thankful for the pages left unripped,

Noting their tones of suffering and doubt,

A thread of resilience soon stands out.

As the stories pour forth scars and mistakes,

Soon it is clear where my little heart aches.

A faint flutter of foreshadowing is there,

A picture being painted of what’s worn from the tears.

A ragged edged line from my pain to the strain,

Softens so slightly, as the sharp gaps are tamed.

In the calming of my urge to valiantly ignite

A powerful plot against the evils in the night,

Runs a golden stream of peace and release.

Where the wicked schemes are overcome

By the only Hand that can undo what was done

But, not in the way my cravings cried for

Yet, in an inexplicable way that miraculously restored.

Gave back to my soul what was stolen for lust,

And crumbled the enemy’s trods into dust.”

~Melissa Stroup, author

It is a beautiful moment, then day, then weeks, then months, then year – when you can look back at your life and see the transformation. I am fortunate to know God. To call Him my Redeemer. My portfolio is one filled with forgiveness, strain, struggle, suffering, joy, newness, love…

On your journey, never give up on your portfolio. It is unique to you. It’s your story, but also it’s what’s happened after your story. The next story. And, the one after that.