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A quote for today…

I’m having trouble today, writing words. When I try to set the words free through my fingers, fear reigns them back in. So, today, I’ll share the words of Audre Lorde until I can gather my own.

Your silences will not protect you…What are the words you do not yet have? What are the tyrannies you swallow day by day and attempt to make your own, until you will sicken and die of them, still in silence? We have been socialized to respect fear more than our own need for language.

Next time, ask: What’s the worst that will happen? Then push yourself a little further than you dare. Once you start to speak, people will yell at you. They will interrupt you, put you down and suggest it’s personal. And the world won’t end.

And the speaking will get easier and easier. And you will find you have discovered your own vision, which you may never have realized you had. And at last you’ll know with surpassing certainty that only one thing is more frightening than speaking your truth. And that is not speaking.

 

Image

Photograph: Robert Alexander/Getty Images/via The Guardian

 


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Sarah Moon and the Writer’s Block Redemption

Trapped by writer's block! AHH!

I wish they made ex-lax for your brain because I have writer’s block.

Yup. I’ve been trying to write something for days and…nothing. I’ve got nothing.

So, I’m going to write about my failure to write, and what I’m doing about it. We’ll see within the next few days whether or not my efforts pay off. If you see another blog post by me, that means they’ve worked and maybe they’ll work for you too!

I’m reading Rob Bell: Say what you want about Rob Bell, but the man is good at making you think. He’s vague and says things that are a little “out there” sometimes. And he leaves lots of blank space. And I don’t mean

This

Kind

Of

Blank

Space.

I mean, he asks questions and leaves you to ponder them. So I’m reading his writing and hoping I’ll be inspired to fill in some of the blanks.

 

I’m having adventures!: I have this bad habit – I like to live like a hermit. I like to lock myself in my room with my books and my internet. It’s peaceful and relaxing, and because I’m an extreme introvert, it’s where I feel most comfortable.

But it’s good to get out of my hobbit hole now and then. It’s good to have fun and go out and explore the world…or, explore small town Ohio at least!

I guarantee this game will be the subject of a blog post someday.

So, today, I went on a tour of an old prison (the one they filmed “The Shawshank Redemption” in). I went thrift store shopping, bought a random old board game (“The Game of Happiness”- you have to collect the keys to happiness -love, money, friendship, faith, knowledge, and health-, and use them to build a ladder to the rainbow of happiness. I couldn’t make this up, people). I went to a drive-in movie for the first time.

I didn’t have to travel to Mirkwood and slay goblins or anything. I just had to leave my house and try some new things. ‘Cause how can I expect to write about life if I’m not out there living it?

 

I’m writing anyway…damn it!: Over the past few days, I’ve started about 20 drafts. Some of them had titles but no body. Others had about two words. Some looked a bit like this:

“GAH! MUST…write things!!! Jaklsdfjaowie!”

But I wrote! I did it. And I’m going to keep writing if it kills me. Eventually something coherent is going to come out, right?

Oh, hey, look at that!

Insert "Shawshank Redemption" pose here


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Why I Shouldn’t Write (According to Me)

Writing is hard work sometimes…

Like right now, for instance.

I’ve always felt called by God to write. That’s my part right now in this race that we call the Christian life. But I must admit that I’ve spent most of my life on the sidelines. Why?

Because I made too many excuses.

But lately, as I’ve been pondering these excuses, and as I’ve been reading advice from writers that I look up to, I’ve been learning something. Most excuses aren’t legitimate.

These are my 5 most commonly used ones, and why they are not, as the kids are saying , “legit:”

1. I don’t have time: Now, in my defense, I did spend the last year of my life working full time and going to school full time. But now that I’ve quit my job and am home for the summer, this excuse makes like a penguin and doesn’t fly. I’m pretty sure I’ve played Resident Evil for 15 consecutive hours on more than one occasion this month (remember the episode of Spaced where Simon Pegg plays Resident Evil 2 so much that he hallucinates that everyone he sees is a zombie? I can sort of relate). So, it’s not that I don’t have time. It’s that I waste time.

2. No creative ideas have come to me: I’m not sure why I take such a passive approach when it comes to writing. Sitting on my couch watching PBS and eating Combos, hoping that Creativity shows up on my doorstep isn’t going to help. For one thing, my doorbell is broken. But, seriously, if I want to fill my creative energy gauge, I should go out and do it. It’s not like creative energy costs $4 a gallon. I know exactly what inspires me- a Harry Potter novel, a Queen music video, a Beethoven symphony, a Serious Wednesday post at Stuff Christians Like…Inspiration is all around me. I just have to turn off Elmo’s World and go get it!

3. I can’t write too often. I’ll use up all my good ideas: It’s funny. I’ve never heard a pianist say, “I can’t practice too often. I might learn all the best sonatas.” I’ve never heard a baseball player say, “I can’t play too well. I might run out of home-runs to hit.” Why do I think that writing more is going to make me less creative?

4. It’s not going to make a difference: I wrote my first blog post in August of 2010. It got 2 views. But, one of those two original readers sent me a message telling me how much my post had helped her. I thought, “Every person is worth it. If I help just one person, that’s more than enough.” Now-a-days, my blog usually gets about 200 views a month. I get messages similar to that first message on a regular basis. You’d think I’d be happy. But then I look at these other blogs that get thousands of views a week and think, “Why am I even bothering?” Silly me. I answered my own question months ago: Because each person is worth it. If I help just one person, that’s more than enough.

5. I’m afraid: This one’s usually the killer. See, God could have asked me to blog about movies or video games or other, more impersonal topics. But he didn’t. He wants me to write because he wants me to be transparent. He wants me to get people to think differently. He wants me to be discerning. He wants me to give the gift of going second. Sometimes those things offend people. Sometimes those things kick my pride in the kidneys. Sometimes they make me feel vulnerable. Writing is scary. And it’s hard to crush the excuse of fear.

But writing is not a job for the faint of heart. We have to face, not only our own excuses as to why we should not write, but other people’s opinions on our writing ability. It takes courage.

And furthermore, following Christ is not a job for the faint of heart. Taking up a cross takes courage too. If I want to follow Christ with my writing, I need to put my excuses down and face my fears.

Deuteronomy 31:6 says, “Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.”

I won’t be alone.



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When Stephen King Punched Me in the Face (figuratively speaking)

For the past four days, I have been blogging daily. I know that may not seem like much of an accomplishment, but if you’ll take a look at the dates of my other blog posts, you’ll notice that this is a new record for me. My previous record for most consecutive days in which I blogged is probably a whopping 1.

But, a couple weeks ago, I finished reading Stephen King’s book, On Writing (which is a must-read for anyone who wants to be a writer, by the way). It inspired me, encouraged me, but most of all, it whipped my lazy butt into shape. Stephen King doesn’t use fluffy, inspirational phrases that make you believe in yourself as a writer. The man tells you like it is:

“If you don’t want to work your ass off, you have no business trying to write well. Settle back into competency and be grateful you have that much to fall back on.”

Ouch.

That hurt.

But it was exactly what I needed.

And since then, I’ve been writing every day. It’s taken me awhile to actually work up the courage to publish something everyday, but I’m hoping I can make it a habit.

So, tune in tomorrow! I’ll be writing about some of the excuses that we make for not creating! I know I have a few of my own, but if you’d like to share your own excuse of choice, do so in the comments section. I’d love your imput!