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Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year's (Eve)!!

"For last year's words belong to last year's language

And next year's words await another voice.

And to make an end is to make a beginning."

~T.S. Eliot, "Little Gidding"

I know it’s only New Year’s Eve, but, I woke this morning with a renewed sense of awe. Awe in the fact that the New Year offers me another opportunity to embrace change, a chance to begin again (a little older and hopefully wiser), and another year to consider the possibilities… a new beginning, fresh, clean, and unblemished. The New Year is like a blank journal, waiting to be written in, day after day.

For me, as a writer, who has had a very challenging last few years (which included cancer surgery), it simply means that I can shake off the disappointments of the past and push on forward with my dreams and goals of 2011. And boy, do I have dreams and goals!

As many of you know, I had pushed aside my writing endeavors for a few years and have recently picked them back up and am running full speed ahead. I could easily look back on that experience as only negative with regard to my writing. But, I choose not to. I choose, instead, to look at how I’ve grown as a person. I’ve learned, the hard way, what is and is not negotiable for me anymore. (In all areas of my life, not just as a writer.) Now, I’m excited to take what I’ve learned about myself, and what I’ve become, into this next year.

Will 2011 hold challenges and disappointments for me? Absolutely! But it will be what I do with these upcoming challenges that will determine what I accomplish and where I go in my life, as a writer, and personally. I have learned above all else, that giving up is no longer an option. Tenacity is the key!

I’ve also learned that regret can be crippling. If you’re anything like me, you may be harboring regrets of the past year (or more). If we’re not careful, the regrets of the past can very easily be brought into our future. We have to decide if we will wallow in them (our regrets) or learn from them and therefore, turn them into opportunities for positive reaction. When we learn from regret, we grow. It’s when we live in regret that we whither and die inside. It’s what we do with our regrets that either shape us or break us.

As William Hefferman once said, “Good work doesn’t happen with inspiration. It comes with constant, often tedious and deliberate effort.”

What is my main writing resolution (or promise to self) for 2011? Tedious and deliberate effort (in both writing and learning to write better.) And, to not withhold myself from my passion for writing, due to timidity and fear of rejection.

I would like to encourage you in the same. Let us not sell ourselves short in 2011. Now, go musing!

Many blessings to you, and a very happy and prosperous New Year!


P.S. It would be very nice to read your thoughts about my posts. I know that I have a lot of people who read them, but, every now and then, it's really nice to see whether or not someone has received encouragement or have just enjoyed what they've read. ;-)

Shoe Mood:

Making a deliberate effort, but, sparkling
and shining along they way.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Love Being A Writer!

“Love being a writer.” – Maurice Erickson (Filbert Publishing)

I love what I do. Right now, with no accolades, no applause, obscure, and unknown, with all of its frustrations, I still love what I do.

Why? Because, I’m a writer. From the depths of my being, I can bring to the surface something that has previously never existed. I get the pleasure of creating individuals who, before me, never uttered a word, or felt an emotion, or experienced life. I can paint beautiful pictures with words and control destinies.

Wow! Power trip? No, just appreciating the gift; the honor of writing. No matter where we are in our writing careers, or what exactly it is that we write, whether we’re just beginning or have been published ten times over, we must never forget that we have the ability to imagine, and to invent something that no one else can; our individual stories.

Only we can tell our stories. Even if the cord that runs through them are similar at times to others, our stories are as unique as we are, and they have come from our heart and mind; no one else’s. It’s our uniqueness that brings the flavor and color to what we create. That’s what’s beautiful about being a writer.

As discouraging as it can be, it’s our enthusiasm about this craft that keeps us going, and creating. As many times as we may give up and walk away (I have three times now, some seasons of being away have been longer than others), and think we’re done and dry, a wave of refreshment will pour over us, reviving the inspiration and restoring us to our former determined selves.

We may be at a place in our writing journey where we have a long road ahead of us, but the great thing about these roads is that they will eventually lead us to our predetermined and charted course. Some roads are shorter than others, and some have detours that seem to take us out of our way. But, eventually, we will arrive at our destination.

My intention and purpose is to enjoy this journey. Even when times get tough, and they certainly will, and when I feel overwhelmed by it all, I will sit back and think about what it is I really do, then purpose within myself to dig deep down and give it my all.

Love being a writer!

xoxo CJ

Shoe Mood:

Making 2011 a year to shine!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Time to Cast Some Vision

The other day, I made myself a new "Vision Board." Most of you would know what I mean by that... a "dream" board where you adhere pics of things you're working towards in your life, inspirational quotes that fuel your energy to get there, as well as other bits and pieces that symbolize your life journey and where you would like to end up at a certain time frame in your life. I like to call them "focus triggers" that help me stay on track with my life goals.

I had another "Vision Board" some years ago, and lost it during one of the many moves we've made. I had folded it and placed it in a treasured journal, that obviously, was lost as well. (I still grieve over that lost journal to this day.) For some strange reason, I never made a new one. But, upon looking back on what I can remember about that particular board (it was actually a piece of paper where I had pasted and taped these "focus triggers") I realized something, I had actually seen it all come to pass. Every single thing that I had placed on that board happened. They weren't only dreams for myself, but for those of my family.

Now, mind you, I'm not a "name and claim it" kind of gal, and I'm fully aware of the foolishness that can transpire when individuals look to this process to be nothing more than trying to hit the "jack-pot" of life, and miss the whole point. There's so much more to it than getting what you want materialistically. Certainly, there can be those benefits. But, the over-reaching blessing of it all is to have a sense of fulfillment in the act of becoming all that you were created to be. Also, being a person of Christian faith, I do believe in, "writing down the vision and making it clear so that those who see it, can run with it and will know how things will turn out...," Habakkuk 2:2-3. ( I've paraphrased a bit, but you get the understanding.) Other faiths have their "visualization" process as well.

There's something to be said for focus and predetermination... an advanced resolve for our lives, if you will. It's a very spiritual process. It can serve to keep us focused on the very best parts of who we are. Tapping in to the creative spirit that we have all been blessed with in one arena or another.

It's also and endeavor to find out who we really are. What really makes us "tick." When I sat down to make my new board, I dug deep within myself to find what it was that excites me, what inspires me, what drives me. I needed to determine what motivated me to take the steps needed to become who I want to be. Some things spoke to my future, while others speak to me in the now. I needed things that would encourage me when I'm being challenged by self and others to reach my goals, or when I feel like throwing in the towel and giving up. I needed to have something that would remind me of who I really am and why I do what I do. And, when I'm not being the best of myself, an encouragement to return to "me."

I guess I've said all this to serve as an inspiration to anyone who reads this to think about who they really are and what they'd like to see develop in their lives as we enter this new year. What we're willing to settle for and what is not going to be compromised. As Martha Stewart would say, "It's a good thing."

Let me know if you've decided to make a "Vision Board." I'd love to hear about your process and how it may have changed your idea about your future, or re-awakened you to your real self.

xoxo CJ

Shoe Mood:

Determination and sparkle is what it takes to walk out what's planned for my life. How 'bout you?

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Let's have a "Write A Handwritten Letter Day!"

Okay, so, I was just thinking about the beauty of the written word, and it occurred to me how public schools are not focusing much, if any, attention on cursive writing. At least, not in my daughter's school. What a travesty!

In this modern age of technologic advancement, it seems as though we are losing our souls and sacrificing an art form to another god of convenience. It saddens my heart to think that within another generation, we as a civilization, could forfeit something so beautiful, so tactile, so... personal.

Just like calligraphy, as well as other forms of personal touch, we may be looking at a future where cursive writing may become something that is studied as a hobby. Can you see it? Non-accredited classes will be held in community colleges to teach the art of cursive writing, along side of belly dancing and crochet. Ughhh! This cannot be!

There is something to be said for the written word, especially in cursive. Just knowing that, when we receive a handwritten letter, it was physically in the hands of the one who had sent it. They physically and thoughtfully put pen to paper. They lovingly folded and placed the letter in an envelope, that too, was hand addressed.


So, what I'm proposing is a "Write A Handwritten Letter Day!" Let's not allow the coldness of mechanical text to replace the warmth of the written word. It all has its place. I'm not against technological advancement in any way. I just don't want to see something so beautiful as cursive writing to be lost along the way. It needn't be an "either/or" situation. They can both, wonderfully, co-exist. Let's discuss...

Let me know if you took the challenge and how it made you feel. I hope it even inspired you in other areas.

xoxo CJ

Shoe Mood:

In it kinda deep... (Have a whole heck of a lot going on!)

Must Reads

  • "A Long Fatal Love Chase" by Louisa May Alcott
  • "Gone With the Wind" by Margaret Mitchell
  • "I Capture the Castle" by Dodie Smith
  • "Les Miserables" by Victor Hugo
  • "Rebecca" by Daphne Du Maurier
  • "The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing" by M.T. Anderson
  • "The Grace Awakening" by Charles Swindoll