Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Insecurity Creates Writer's Blocks Part 1

I attended my normal write-in that my writing coach holds on a weekly basis. A new writer attended. I was glad to see her since I have met her before in other writer's groups. She mentioned a group online called the Insecure Writer's Support Group. This perked up my ears. Soon others were sharing their experiences with how their urge to write fantasy was dismissed by the universities and how their writing in general, was belittled and they were urged to pursue other careers. I wanted to share my experiences but realized if I did, I would be one-upping since my experiences were more profound (in my eyes and deep feelings). I decided to wait.
  I checked out the Insecure Writer's Support Group and noticed they had a blog tour, but I hesitated to sign up for  it because I still feel deeply I am not good enough.
  This morning, the seeds of this article began to take place so here I am writing it to bring to the forefront my deep struggles with being consistent with my writing.
 From an early age, I wanted to be a writer. My mom and dad admitted I had talent, but urged me not to make it my career goal since it didn't make a lot of money. My Mom's number one issue was it would cause me to go crazy because of most great authors become crazy or end up taking their lives. At age 13, this caused me to become fearful of pursuing the one passion I had and the inner drive I felt. I wanted to speak out and but was terrified of standing up and did not have anyone to talk to regarding the battle deep within myself. My high school guidance counselors encouraged me to pursue easy courses and steered me away from anything that would require effort. I allowed this, but the battle deep within remained. Indecision followed me even though I knew I needed to write. It was like someone refusing oxygen who has been told the oxygen they need to live could poison them (which could be lying) because the other person is afraid of them dying, yet by cutting off their oxygen, they will surely die.
 In 1990, after receiving a both a Bachelor of Arts and Masters of Science in social services and working in with the Department of Children and Families services, (1985- 1990) I went back to college at Eastern Washington University in Cheney, Washington. I choose, at my dad's urging, to study accounting and business, but my brain couldn't grasp the fundamentals of accounting principles. After meeting a graduate student in the Masters of Fine Arts with an emphasis in poetry I realized my true love really was creative writing. I started taking graduate and undergraduate writing workshop classes. My love of fantasy was born. I wrote one story based on a dream that had a friendly dragon in it that was misunderstood and the villagers wanted to capture it. The dragon lived in a castle with his family and befriended a boy who was also misunderstood. The town was called Rumination and involved indecision and longing to decide what is most important in choosing a direction in life. I turned it in. On the day my story was to be workshopped, the adjunct professor announced we wouldn't workshop because dragons were not real and the story itself was fantasy. It had no redeeming elements of literary work within it. The students in class sighed with disappointment. As they passed their copies to me, I heard it was excellent and they were looking forward to discussing it. I was crushed because I wanted to hear what they had to say. I knew I had to become a writer but was not sure how to pursue it. When I  would confront my professor at it, she got this painful look on her face as if she was afraid of telling me the truth. Instead, she said, "Everyone has potential." This delighted me, but underneath, what there was the lingering, "Except you."
  Fantasy is considered a genre form written for the general public while literary fiction is written for intellectuals as they study one important emotion or theme. Sometimes it is to understand how divorce after a child dies effects a couple and those around them or to understand what is going through the mind of someone who isolates herself. Though, often the deeper issues, such as rape and intense hatred toward men who only want a woman for her body, but not a  solid relationship with her are not welcomed. I know this because I also wrote a story like that for this same professor, and again, would not workshop it because the anger and abuse of the men in the story was too intense. It made her uncomfortable. She wanted balance or something like that. Again, some of the students gave me favorable comments and suggestions for improvements. One, in particular, loved one of the redeeming characters in that story and asked if she could use him. I let her, but inside, I felt crushed. I felt helpless and wondered if I could ever make my dream come true of being a published writer.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Journaling With Soul

 Two weeks ago, I talked about wanting to teach individuals to journal to solve help them grow both emotionally and spiritually. Journaling is not just about writing about the events of your day or your interactions with others, but it also about desiring to see how we interact with others. When a situation arises that upsets us, it is easy to fall into blaming the other person while refusing to see how we could have reacted differently. I am not saying a situation is always "my fault," but it is a two-way street. I find journaling is a way for me to be objective.
We are supposed to write what we fear. Often we are afraid to explore our dark side. To take an honest look at our fears, trace them back to an origin and find a way to reduce them down to nothing. Through introducing Soul into your journaling process, one can begin to do this. Yet I admit, there is still the fear element of not wanting to take an honest look at that darkest side of ourselves. To truly begin a journal for personal and spiritual growth, we must be willing to face those dark areas and lay them. We don't  have to show anyone what we write. It is for us to share with ourselves and learn from.