Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Don't Wait for Inspiration

I'm convinced the condition of "writer's block" is a real thing, but I'm also convinced that is not an excuse to keep showing up at the blank page.

One of my favorite writers, and possibly my patron saint, Madeleine L'Engle said, "Inspiration usually comes during work, rather than before it."

Showing up, putting pen to paper or fingers to keys in a blinking Word document, becomes the battle.

I recently read "Bird by Bird" by another writer, Anne Lamott. She says when you can't think of anything to write about, start with kindergarten. Describe everything you can remember about each grade growing up. Childhood is full of writing fodder.

When I'm unfulfilled in my regular life, it is usually reflected in my writing life, because I believe been stood up by inspiration.

But I'm finding that simply showing up to that empty page at the same time daily awakes inspiration. Forcing myself to do the work, even when I'm tired or don't want to or would rather play games on my iDevices, always brings forth some valuable nugget.

Sometimes I walk away from a writing session, proud of ONE WORD that I put on page. Sometimes it's a hilarious sentence I came up with. Sometimes it jogs a memory I'd forgotten, like this one:

"While we waited at our bus stop, Mom would hand each of us a plastic bucket like the ones for constructing sandcastles. With backpacks, lunch boxes, and buckets in balance, we gathered fallen hazelnuts with our perpetually dirty farmkid fingers. The race of our collecting always stopped abruptly upon hearing the tired groan of the giant yellow school bus turning left at the farm down the road. Time for school!"

After showing up, putting in work and time, the next best step is to keep on living. For me, that looks like going outside, having interesting conversations, and eating really good food. All of those experiences jump start inspiration the next time I show up. But I'm learning as a writer to never stop showing up.

*FTC Disclosure: Some links may be affiliate links, which means if you buy something through my links I get a small percentage of the sale. The price stays the same for you, and my views are always my own.

Friday, August 29, 2014

High Five for Friday: End of Summer Edition

It's been awhile since I've participated in High Five for Friday. Here are some cool things that happened in my life this week.

1. I finally live close enough to a Jazzercise to rejoin my all-time favorite workout. Yoga people talk about their yoga practice. Watch out or I'll talk your ear off about my Jazzercise practice. I basically pretend I'm on "So You Think You Can Dance" during every workout.

2. Today I read the book #GIRLBOSS by Sophia Amoruso. It was hilarious, timely, and a great kick in the pants. Don't wait around for life to happen to you, create your own success. I've been feeling letdown by the system lately, so I'm trying to figure out how to flip the system on its head in my favor.

3. Adam and I got up with the sun on Sunday and went to watch a field full of hot air balloons inflate and lift-off. It was beautiful, and church for the week.

4. Three words: Summer Reality TV. Mindless summer television is kind of my jam. Don't tell the chief #BOSSGIRL. Big Brother, So You Think You Can Dance, all the spinoffs of the Bachelor franchise, and Master Chef (just to name a few) are my favorites this time of year.

5. The Oregon State Fair was happening this weekend, and we spent a day there with the whole fam. My sister won Best of Show for her table decorations (you can check out her hand-bound vintage book journals here). We had a great day eating fair food, checking out the award-winning piggies, and soaking up the hot days of August in Oregon.

Janey with her fabulous "Summertime Supper" table decor.
How has your summer been? Have your read anything share-worthy? Are you a lover of summertime reality TV or are you sick of it? Have you ever JAZZERCISED? These are important life questions!!!

Monday, August 18, 2014

A Prayer for Today

from my husband's instagram.

I started today with a simple prayer: Give me enough faith to make it through today.

I couldn't find it within myself to ask for a lifetime, year, or month. Just one day.

Help me believe. Help me hope. Help me trust. Just for today.

If I'm not quite at mustard-seed-level, maybe a grain of salt or a fleck of pepper will suffice. A little breath of life might do. Just enough to sustain me right where I'm at.

Then I forgot about that prayer and carried on my normal day, until something wonderful happened in the middle of a lot of regular and mundane.

Lying in the field of grass under trees sounds dreamy up until the grass gets itchy, a root digs into your shoulder, and is that an ant or a spider crawling up the back of my arm?

But once you get past the sensory overload you find yourself gazing at the milky way of daylight: the underside of decades old trees.

The sun splits through the leaves and for a few moments everything is alright again. There I find hope for one more day.

Tomorrow I'll ask again: Give me enough faith to make it through today.

It may be the only prayer I can muster during this season, but it seems enough.