My Story

announcement (3)

Like I wrote in my Announcement post, I’ve been looking at my blog and reevaluating why I’m here and what my goals are.

And the truth is, I think I started blogging for the wrong reasons.

When I finished my memoir last year, I naively thought it would be as simply as printing out my manuscript and shipping it off to the big publishing houses. Surely they would appreciate the compelling story it contained and agree on publishing it. When I actually started looking into the process of publication, I realized that it isn’t as simple as that.

So I decided to learn as much as I could about it. I did a ton of research. I read articles. I talked to different people. I studied a publishing program kit. And everywhere, everyone was saying the same thing. Build your platform. Your message, your story, everything about you, is essentially pointless if you don’t have a following to share it with.

I was told that unless I built this following, unless I attracted an audience, no publisher would be interested in my book.

With this daunting knowledge weighing upon me, I hurried to set up my social media sites. I started a blog on Blogger. With the sense that I had already wasted years of potential audience-building in my ignorance, I felt like I was in a race against time.

All I succeeded in doing was overwhelming the life out of myself.

And I mean that literally. The creative force and inspiration that had aforetime spurred my love of writing withered and died. It became all about the numbers. Once, I had enjoyed blogging. I had been a part of a blog as a teenager for a fitness group. I had blogged regularly and loved it. But not anymore.

On my Facebook page, I would often joke about my spinning head and splitting headache because I was so overwhelmed all the time with trying to make everything work right from the get-go. I had no room left to enjoy the process. It was a chore. A requirement. A job. And when I look back at my old posts, I see that reflected in my writing.

The worst part was, I felt like I fraud. I wanted to write more about my struggle with blogging than actually blog. (And I do realize this is ironic given the current subject material of this post – bear with me.) An element that kind of robs from the over-all magic of the experience. Bloggers are almost like entertainers, at the end of the day. And the show they pull off, from the actual writing of the post to the images embedded, the keywords they tag it with, the catchy headline and the subtle but persuasive promoting is an art in and of itself. And I felt like some kind of one-woman show trying to pull it all off behind the drawn curtains when I wanted nothing more than to pull that curtain back and reveal my struggle.

Having reached a point where I’d rather not blog than blog just to fill up space, I’m revealing that struggle now.

It’s not the popular approach. It’s not the recommended approach. I’m tempted to let the (poorly executed) magic live on. But I don’t think I was fooling anybody. I think anybody could tell that I didn’t know what I was doing or why I was doing it (if the infrequency of my posting was any indicator, at least). I felt like a fraud because I knew that I was only blogging to build a platform. And that isn’t a bad motive, necessarily… Everyone’s trying to sell something. But it’s not the motive I wanted to start out with and it’s not the motive that was doing anything for me. It was killing my creative juices and I felt like I was throwing together content that I didn’t really care about – and because of that, I doubted anyone else was really caring about it either.

When you take all these elements and mush them together with the very integrity-oriented nature of yours truly, add a healthy dollop of good, old-fashioned insecurity, and a personality that veers toward the high-strung, sensitive, and shy, you get a proverbial mess.

And that mess was me.

In my recent hiatus, I’ve had a lot of time to think. And I’ve come to this conclusion.

I’m not going to blog with the aforementioned mentality anymore. Sure, SEO and engagement is important. Always will be in this crazy Internet world. But if I’m going to blog, I want to enjoy it. And I want to know that I’m sharing something that’s worthy and valuable – not just created with the intention of attracting views.

I figured I should circle back to the beginning – no, not the beginning of time, but the beginnings of me. The back-story that I’ve purposefully left out, the one I’ve alluded to so often but have yet to really relinquish. It’s the why behind my memoir. It’s the reason I am who I am today. It’s what I thought would come out little by little but instead remained firmly locked in the archives of my mind, under the section that reads I Dare Not. And subtitled No One Will Care.

It’s my story.

Writing

Where I’ve Been

It’s been a long time since I’ve blogged here. I had a series of very difficult situations take place within my family and for that I found it necessary to take a long hiatus from blogging and whatnot. But, learning to function even in the face of difficulties is something I’m learning so I’ve decided to come back and get back to writing again!

It’s been a little over two months and like I said, I’ve had some very tough times as of late. Have had to trust in the Lord and take it day by day and believe that God would see me and my family through. I’d like to write about it a little more in depth someday but I’ve noticed something funny – it’s much easier to write about things that are already gone and past versus the things we go through in the present. Can anyone relate?

My Writing

The publishing of my memoir has been postponed indefinitely while we work through the family issues we’ve been having. It’s the tides of life and I’m trying not to fret. It will happen in God’s timing.

As of late, my writing has suffered. I write here and there but not as much as I would like. I feel like I need to sit down and read some good books or read some inspiring posts on getting back into the habit. If anyone has any recommendations, I’m all ears! I used to feel so inspired and on fire with ideas and dreams and things I wanted to put into words but lately, all I want to do is journal or write letters or not write at all.

Inspiration? 

It has been awhile since I’ve found a good blog on writing. Have you read any lately? Let me know! I usually find myself fired up with the urge to write after I’ve gotten my hands on some good literature or some contemporary pieces. I’m currently reading The Amethyst Box by Anna Katherine Green (free for Kindle) and I just finished The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde (also free for Kindle!) This was my first experience reading Oscar Wilde and I found this play hilarious and so clever. Will definitely be reading more of his work!

Updates Regarding My Blog: 

As you can see, I’ve redesigned my entire website and have removed some of my earlier posts. This blog and what I share here is something I’m constantly seeking to refine and perfect. In some ways, I feel like I’ve yet to find my stride. There is a lot that I want to say but should all of it be said here? That’s something I’m figuring out right now. In any case, I’m working on creating content that falls in line with the theme of this blog. With these changes, I’ll hopefully be able to produce a site that reflects my message and the story I’m telling.

Thanks for reading. See you here next time! 

Memoir

It’s strange the things that stands out in one’s memory. I can remember the sun blazing down on the top of their car and how the stocky, mustached man and the petite, brown-haired woman squinted as they came to stand in front of our gate. It was a hot day.

The man called out a greeting in Spanish. Nervously, my eyes shifted to meet Hannah’s and I could see my uneasiness reflected in her expression. Who are they? A few seconds passed and then he called again but this time it wasn’t a greeting: it was my father’s name. How did he know Daddy’s name? I wondered. A moment later, our front door slammed.

Daddy was walking down towards the gate.

A prickle of unease ran the length of my spine. Our house seemed unusually silent. Why couldn’t I hear anyone talking? Why weren’t the little ones laughing? Why wasn’t Mommy calling for lunch? My heart pounded faster as I shifted uncomfortably on my knees.

We could see the strangers were talking to my father, though we couldn’t hear them. I could only see the side of Dad from where I knelt but I could tell that he was frowning. Hannah wondered aloud if they could be customers but I shook my head. No. There was something different about these people. Daddy’s customers didn’t look like that.

It’d been several minutes. The strangers didn’t go away, even when Daddy left them there and returned to the house. We watched them in silence for a few seconds, wondering. When the door behind us opened, we all jumped, startled.

It was Jenna. Gone from her face was the reproof and hidden amusement we’d seen only moments before. Now, her eyes were full of fear and a barely concealed dread. Her mouth was a grim line as she went straight to the bureau and began rummaging through the clothes. Matthew stood behind her. His blond hair brushed his long eyelashes but he didn’t bother to push it away, only stood quietly, watching his mother. I stared at him. The strangeness of the moment kept me silent but questions burned in my mind. We watched as Jenna pulled out a blue, button-down shirt from the dresser.

 “Honey, let’s put this on,” she said to Matthew, helping him pull off his plain tee-shirt. “Listen to me, sweetheart, you don’t have to answer any questions if you don’t want to. You know that, right? You just smile and hold Daddy’s hand and everything will be alright.” He nodded and she straightened his shirt, brushed at his hair. His eyes were round and solemn. He took his mother’s hand when she reached for him and followed her from the room. The door clicked shut behind them and I looked at my sisters in bewilderment. Their eyes mirrored mine. Together, we turned back to the window and saw that strangers were still standing there… except now, Daddy was walking down the driveway towards them, and he had Matthew with him.

Matthew looked like a sheep being led to slaughter, shuffling along slowly behind our father. His eyes were on the ground, his hand clutched tightly around Daddy’s. I shot Hannah another look filled with dread. What now?

The strangers stared at Matthew and the man questioned our father. Daddy’s face was unreadable. He didn’t let go of Matthew’s hand and at some comment of the man’s, he turned quickly and brought Matthew back inside. I felt a stab of relief. Safe again, he’s safe.

But would the strangers never leave? Daddy had gone back out to them, now carrying Matthew’s basket of supplements. I shook my head, frustrated.

 “How come they wanted to see Matthew?” I asked Hannah. “Who are they anyway? What do they want?”

She shrugged, her eyes darting to mine and then away again. Something’s not right. I understood the glance as easily as if she’d spoken aloud. I nodded slightly and looked at Abby to see if she had noticed our exchange. Her eyes were wider than usual and her mouth was slightly open as she stared out the dusty window screen. She hadn’t.

We watched Daddy show the strangers Matthew’s medicine and we watched as he showed them proof of Bernadette’s graduate’s degree in nursing and we watched as he showed them the doctor’s notes on Matthew’s condition and progress. It seemed like forever before the strangers finally got back into their car and drove away, leaving as quickly and as suddenly as they’d arrived.

The car hadn’t even disappeared down the road before we were off the bed and running from the room.

MISS RUTH® All rights are reserved for the creator and owner of this work and any unauthorized copying, broadcasting, manipulation, distribution or selling of this work constitutes as an infringement of copyright. Any infringement of this copyright is punishable by law.

Life

inspiration quotes

I’ve been having a series of uninspired days. I don’t feel like doing much of anything. If you’re having one of those days (or weeks) too, then this post is for you! Enjoy.

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“Hold fast to dreams,
For if dreams die
Life is a broken-winged bird,
That cannot fly.”

Langston Hughes

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“The flower that blooms in adversity is the rarest and most beautiful of all.”

Mulan

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“If you’re reading this…
Congratulations, you’re alive.
If that’s not something to smile about,
then I don’t know what is.”

Chad Sugg

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“We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.”

Maya Angelou

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“Pain is temporary. Quitting lasts forever.”

Lance Armstrong

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“What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.”

Jane Goodall

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“I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”

Philippians 4:13

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“I dream my painting and I paint my dream.”

Vincent Van Gogh

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“They that sow in tears shall reap in joy.”

Psalm 126:5

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“You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.”

Jack London

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“The only person who can pull me down is myself, and I’m not going to let myself pull me down anymore.”

C. Joybell C.

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“With the new day comes new strength and new thoughts.”

Eleanor Roosevelt

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“Your life is an occasion. Rise to it.”

Suzanne Weyn

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“My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it. Therefore will I trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.”

Thomas Merton

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I hope these quotes inspired you like they did me. Feel free to share!

Memoir, Writing

reflections

Just over a year ago, I wrote this post on my former blog a couple of weeks after completing my first memoir. I thought it’d be fun to share it here as it has inspired me as I begin writing the second half of my story:

• • •

Jan. 5, 2015

I finished the book.

It’s so weird and awesome to say that. I finished it. It’s taken me several years (6.5 to be exact). I started writing it just before turning fourteen. Maybe it wouldn’t have taken me so long if I didn’t need to learn so much, if I had already had within me all the experience and skill that years of writing brings, if life hadn’t gotten in the way multiple times, and if I had had a fully-functioning computer from the start to it’s finish. (As it happens, I’m still bumming off of my sister’s fully-functioning laptop, ha di ha.) It’s something I have worked towards for so long. How can it be finished?! Gahh.

And it’s only ever been real in my head. That’s the weird part. Friends have drifted in and out of our lives for as long as I can remember and I’ve never spoken about my book, not unless asked (my father would make a great agent: he tells everybody and anybody!). Even speaking about it amongst the family is something I’ve shied away from: the subject (and all the memories it brings with it) is a sure way to shut down their faces and bring that certain look of silent torment to their eyes. I have avoided it at all costs. Did I have their full support and the constant assertion that if I ever needed help it was mine? Absolutely. But writing this book was still lonely. While life went on and we taught ourselves to forget, I went back. Over and over again. I went back while we struggled to make ends meet with no income, living off coupons and our friends’ charity. I went back while we welcomed two more babies into the family. I went back while the owner of our old house brought us to court and marshals stalked our gate and the electricity got turned off (…and stayed off). I went back while we moved into the apartment of a friend and hunkered down for three years of cramped living while looking for a new home. It became a silent world within my head inhabited only by me, something I couldn’t share with anyone else… no one but God.

He was patient with me. Whenever I would hit a rough patch and stumble into a memory I wasn’t prepared to face, I would pull a Jonah and run to the land where procrastination thrives: the Internet. I would remain there for several weeks and then come crawling back, stricken with guilt. I was plagued with a sense of inferiority: how could I write a book? Having grown up an avid reader, books were something I was only too familiar with… I read anything I could get my hands on: Austen, Dickens, Alcott, Bronte. As a teenager, my horizons broadened: E.M. Forster, John Steinbeck, Salman Rushdie, Irving Stone. My standards were high; my expectations even higher. I didn’t want to just tell our story – I wanted to write something epic, something revolutionary, something life-changing. Something that would climb its way into its reader’s heart and stay there. I wrote and rewrote the manuscript multiple times. It was never good enough; it could always be better. I wrestled with my sense of duty: why was I doing this? Was there a point to all this private torture? Would it do any good?

Towards the end, the real thing that kept me going was digging deep into the nitty-gritty details of what Matthew [my brother] suffered and realizing all over again the absolute anguish that his last five months of life contained. Don’t I owe it to him, to tell his story? Isn’t it the least I could do? To make sure that people don’t forget, to make sure that his name and his existence doesn’t get swallowed up by time?

This year is going to bring so much change, I can feel it already. It’s daunting, but I’m praying that God gives me strength to face it…

Last year did bring a lot of change, but it wasn’t the kind of change I expected. I learned so much though, and I’m praying that God gives me the means to go forward with self-publishing my memoir this year.

I hope this post inspired you… there’s nothing like the feeling of accomplishment that comes after completing this kind of project, especially one that lasted as long as writing my memoir did. God willing the second doesn’t take as long – ha!

Memoir, Writing

 

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While I was writing my first memoir, I remember Googling phrases like how to write a memoir, how to write an emotional story, and how to write an impacting book. I had no idea what I was doing, but being an avid reader, I knew what I wanted to do:

I wanted to write in a way that impacted my reader.

I wanted to make sure that I achieved the kind of story that left a lasting impression.

Finding the answers to my puzzled questions proved difficult. I couldn’t find much on writing a memoir, let alone writing an emotionally impacting memoir. In the end, I had to find out for myself the answers to my questions.

It’s my hope that this post can offer the kind of useful and practical tips that I wished someone could have told me way back when!

So, without further ado, let’s get started!

Determine your why

First things first, you need to determine your why. Why are you writing your story?

Are you writing about the death of a loved one? Why? To heal? To find answers? To share what you learned through it? What is the reader going to take away from your account?

Discovering the answers to these questions is a process, I think, and you may not find them until you’ve reached the end of your tale. That’s okay. But it’s important that you know why you’re writing your story and what you want to achieve with it.

As hard as it is to swallow, our life-changing moments may not seem that big of a deal to other people. From what I’ve learned, there has to be a redeeming element, such as:

  • incredible writing
  • a lesson learned
  • the quality of forgiveness
  • the process of overcoming something, etc.

Don’t write just to say “this thing happened to me and it was awful/amazing/horrible/incredible.” Your reader will go, “yeah, and?” Dig deep within yourself and find the triumph, find the lesson learned, so that your reader can walk away feeling enriched by the experience of reading your story.

Let’s look at The Railway Man by Eric Lomax, for instance. Semi-autobiographical, this memoir relates the traumatic experiences that Lomax underwent as a Japanese POW working the Burma-Siam railway. Lomax was tortured by his Japanese captors, and though he survived, suffered from PTSD for the fifty years following WWII. While this is a tragic and remarkable story in itself, what makes it absolutely unforgettable is the redemptive conclusion given at the end of the book: this man not only finds it within himself to forgive one of the men that had participated in his torture, but ends up becoming friends with him. How amazing is that?!

This is the quality that you need to find in your story. The one that makes the reader say, “Wow, this really inspired me” or, “this so perfectly describes the grieving process – I related so much!”

What do you think the reader is going to take away from your story?

Answering this question is the first step towards writing an emotionally impacting memoir.

Read other people’s memoirs

Reading is so important when it comes to writing – and this applies to all writing, not just memoir. How else will you know what’s good or what works or what impacts you and gets inside you and imprints itself on your heart?

In answering these questions you are developing your taste. You are fine-tuning your palette. Read everything you can get your hands on, but when you study memoir, try and figure out what it is that gets to you.

Why did such-and-such a book make you cry? What was it exactly? How did the writer set the tone of the book? How did it make you feel?

Writing  Tip:

When you find yourself impacted by a particular writer, go back and read their writing over and over again until you determine what it is that impressed you so deeply.

Was it the evocative imagery? The unforgettable story? The particular writing style? You can learn from both the good and the bad. Where did such-and-such a writer go wrong? Why didn’t the recounting of their tragic story leave you in tears?

Going back to The Railway Man for an example, I can say that while the story is incredible and while I felt deeply for the writer, I didn’t cry and I didn’t feel particularly invested in the story. This was, I believe, mostly due to the fact that Lomax’s writing gives off a kind of distant air – it’s completely understandable, don’t get me wrong, considering what he experienced. But it doesn’t make for a very emotionally invest-able story. Dialogue is at the absolute minimum. He tells the story from beginning to end without showing us very much of what happened. Which leads me to my next point.

Showing and telling

When it comes to memoir, I have a theory.

My theory is that the writer must be a very masterful storyteller. One must learn how to bring their reader to the very edge of an emotional precipice and display the churning waters of anguish below without shoving the reader off the cliff into it’s depths. To do that would be to lose the reader forever; how will you draw them back into the story if they have drowned in the pathos of your memories? It takes skill and a good deal of thought to learn how to visit those churning waters while always giving the reader ample oxygen to breathe.

To do this, I believe, is by alternately employing the methods of showing and telling in your writing.

My interpretation of showing is this: “Showing” is when you paint a picture in the reader’s mind. You don’t just say, “We had some bad times and I wasn’t handling them well.” You show, when you say, “After the baby died, I stopped eating. My stomach knotted whenever I tried to put food in my mouth. Haunting memories of his last moments tormented me in a slide of gruesome images.”

Do you see the difference? It elicits an emotional response in the reader. It paints a picture in their mind. It leaves an imprint, and helps them better relate with the character.

In memoir, both showing and telling have their place. It boils down to the writer and their own particular style, of course, and some writers do very well with only telling their story. Their writing is so clever that they can get away with it. Others manage showing very well. Personally, I think the best writers are those who can masterfully blend both. 

For me, the stories leave the greatest imprint on my heart are those that cleverly employ the method of showing. Show me what it was like the night that your life fell apart. I want to hear the cicadas singing outside your bedroom window and feel the chill of the night breeze on my skin before the pounding of your heart sets the hairs on the back of my neck on end. Do you see? It is not enough to say “I was lying in bed when my mother came into the room and gave me the worst news of my life.” Bring the moments to life. Paint a picture inside my head so that I’m there with you, experiencing every shift of fate as if it were playing on a television screen in my mind.

Don’t tell me the moon is shining. Show me the glint of light on broken glass.

Anton Chekhov

Trial and error

At the end of the day, it all boils down to this:

Write.

Write badly. Write until you learn to write better, and then keeping writing. Don’t stop. Don’t let your inadequacy hold you back. You may never feel fully satisfied with your writing, but I promise you, if you keep at it, you will come to a place where you find your rhythm. You’ll figure out what works.

It’s in the wrestling, in the endless rewrites, in the exhaustive edits, in the constant revising, that you find your style. 

I wrote several drafts of my book. Like Eric Lomax of The Railway Man, I often resorted to telling my story rather than showing it. Showing is, admittedly, more arduous to the writer, especially when it comes to relating painful memories. It requires reliving the experience in a very profound way. It is easier to say, “My father died and I was devastated,” than it is to dig deep into your memories and reawaken those painful moments that encompassed that tragedy.

Learning how to write is a part of telling your story. You want to do it justice: I know I did. To write badly would be an unjust tribute to my experiences. So I learned how to write… how good of a writer I am now is something I don’t think I can determine but I know I’m better than when I started, and maybe that’s the only measure a writer can allow herself.

Here are some bits of advice, as well as suggestions that will help you in your quest:

  • It helps to work in other genres, to experiment and see what works.
  • Try writing a short story or work on a fictional novel. Wattpad is a great online tool for this.
  • Share your stories and get feedback. See what other people think. Ask for their constructive criticism.
  • Be patient with yourself.
  • Don’t write to write a bestseller: write to tell your story as best as you know how.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
  • Learn from your mistakes.

You can do this!

Almost all good writing begins with terrible first efforts. You need to start somewhere.

Anne Lamott

If this post helped you at all, please let me know in the comments below! And, if you’re on a quest to write your own memoir, let me know how it’s going for you. 🙂

Writing

When I write, I kick it old school - 158-365 - 13 November 2009

Memoirs are the backstairs of history.

George Meredith

When it comes to writing the truth about our lives, we often face what is, I believe, a commonly shared struggle.

We want to write – we need to write, and we know it, although some of us may not be sure why – but every time we sit down to confront this need, we find ourselves in a desperate struggle: a struggle with our inner critic, a struggle with fear, a struggle with doubt. All of these unseen evils come with one purpose: to keep us from writing.

You see, silence can be a double-edged sword. There is a time to speak, and a time to let silence be the teacher. Silence can be a mark of maturity; it can also be a mark of quiet suffering.

What it should not be is a surrender to fear. 

Fear will keep us cowed down and quiet. Fear will keep us from what proves to be an incredibly healing and triumphant experience: telling our stories.

Telling your story doesn’t happen through memoir-writing alone. It can be the memories we relate in our journals, the letters we write to our loved ones, the stories we share with trusted friends and family.

They don’t always have to be broadcast to the world, but telling them keeps them from dying with us.

However we tell our stories, it’s important that we realize that each of us have an important one to tell. They are important because they are entirely unique and different from everyone else’s. Circumstances may appear similar, but setting, personality, perception, and emotion will always differ. Finding the right method of telling our stories is yet another defining factor.

Each of us is a book waiting to be written, and that book, if written, results in a person explained.

Thomas M. Cirignano

The longer I write, the more I express what I have to say, the easier it is for me to find my voice. The more I realize that the words I have to say carry weight and meaning and worth, the more willing I am to speak them. It’s through writing that I find my voice.

Don’t let fear of being less keep you from owning your story. It’s yours. Your experiences, your memories, your past. No one else can tell it as you can.

And remember this: the simple act of writing is an act of defiance against the crippling power of fear; overcoming fear can be as simple as not believing the lies we tell ourselves (or the lies others tell us).

Writing is a struggle against silence. It’s also a triumph over fear. 

What keeps you from telling your story? 

Writing

writing doesnt

Journaling is wonderful. Writing memoir is helpful. But in and of itself, it is not enough.

It’s not enough to erase the pain.

It’s not enough to heal the wounds. 

It’s not enough to deliver me from all my sufferings. 

It’s not enough to give me peace.

It’s not enough to save me.

It’s not enough to wash away the memories.

It’s not enough to heal the hurt.

It’s not enough to fix me.

Writing is a gift. But it’s not my salvation.

When times are hard and it feels like the entire host of hell is stirred up against me, running to writing doesn’t fix it. It doesn’t fix it for me because it wasn’t meant to. There is only One that can fix it, and His name is Jesus. 

He binds up my brokenness and saves me from my crushing pain. He heals my wounds and anoints me with the oil of gladness. He is the only One I have.

These are the words my soul needs to live by. In them I’ll find my peace.

What words of encouragement do you live by?

Writing

writing quotes

I love quotes. Literary quotes, quotes derived from books: I find myself in them. It always surprises me when I realize that the things that puzzle me, inspire me, plague me, and excite me have already been discovered, dissected, and transformed into pieces of poetry by strangers whom I will never know. Isn’t it amazing how words can transcend time and space that way?

I’m preparing myself emotionally and spiritually to begin tackling my second book. Here are a collection of 21 quotes on writing that inspire me. (21 being a nod to my 21st year of life – gah!) I hope they can inspire you too!

  1. Write what disturbs you, what you fear, what you have not been willing to speak about. Be willing to be split open.

― Natalie Goldberg

2. Write what should not be forgotten.

― Isabel Allende

3. When we read, we start at the beginning and continue until we reach the end. When we write, we start in the middle and fight our way out.

― Vickie Karp

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5. Don’t be a writer. Be writing.

― William Faulkner

6. Quiet people have the loudest minds.

― Stephen King

7. If it is still in your mind, it’s worth taking the risk.

― Paolo Coehlo

The role of a writer is not to say what we all can say, but what we are unable to say.

― Anaïs Nin

9. There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.

― Ernest Hemingway

10. Be the instrument playing the sound of your life’s passing.

― Jonathan Safran Foer

11. Nothing haunts us like the things we don’t say.

― Mitch Albom

12. The first draft is just you telling yourself the story.

― Terry Pratchett

You don’t write because you want to say something, you write because you have something to say.

F. Scott Fitzgerald

14. We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect.

― Anaïs Nin

15. The best time for planning a book is while you’re doing the dishes.

― Agatha Christie

16. This is how you do it: you sit down at the keyboard and you put one word after another until it’s done. It’s that easy, and that hard. 

― Neil Gaiman

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18. A writer is someone for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.

― Thomas Mann

19. I can shake off everything as I write; my sorrows disappear, my courage is reborn.

― Anne Frank

20. Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.

― Anton Chekhov

21. Don’t be paralyzed by the idea that you’re writing a book – just write.

― Isabel Allende

Are any of these quotes your favorite?