Riverside Young Writers

Riverside Young Writers

This past Saturday, I had the pleasure of spending time with the young women of Riverside Young Writers in Fredericksburg, VA. When I was approached at the James River Writers’ January Writing Show to speak, I was so excited. When I was these girls’ ages (13-19), I don’t remember having access to a group such as this. While we were getting the projector ready, I noticed one of their advisers reading announcements and observed the girls had pieces ready for critique. It wouldn’t even have occurred to me at 15 to seek out a group. I did take a Creative Writing class at school but I never thought about what was available to me outside of school. I thought I would just be content to write at home.

I spoke to them about my life as a blogger. I explained to them how I spend my time, my organizational process and emphasized the impact of reaching out for help and collaboration with other writers. I also stressed the importance of getting out into the world and recognizing that their lives are their content. I ended my speech by providing them with writing/blogging tips and encouraged them to remember to have fun.

Afterwards, the girls and advisers asked several questions. I was heartened by the interest. Even though I knew what I wanted to say and practiced a couple of times, there is still a chance that things can go sideways or the audience will find their phones more interesting. I was even gifted with an anthology from the adult group at Riverside Writers.

This experience gave me so much hope. Not just for my future as a speaker and a blogger but more so for the future of these young writers.

 

Birthday Resolutions?

Birthday Resolutions?

Yesterday, my post was a quick note about my birthday. I know some of us treat our birthdays like New Years Day and make resolutions. I think I have been silently doing that most of my life. Sometimes, not so silently.

Even though there are things I declare I want to be free from or actively pursue in my 37th year, I am going to pray for, declare it out loud, write it down, type, quietly ponder about, daydream, meditate, send a message in a bottle Police style the request for patience.

All of the things I want to be free from: extra weight, psoriasis, old psoriasis scars, self-doubt, uncertainty, fibroids, laziness.

All of the things I want to pursue more actively: writing and speaking opportunities, consistent workouts, getting settled in with a church home  I can learn to trust, volunteerism and time with my friends.

All of these things can be accomplished but none of them will happen with any semblance of peace of mind without patience. My spirit, body and mind need to work in one accord to agree that all can be done but nothing will feel right or organic without recognizing it will take time. Not just saying something trite like “Rome wasn’t built in a day or I know I can’t just blink my eyes and it will be all done or God is not a genie.”

I have long needed to divorce myself from the lies, the side deals I strike with myself that sever me from the reality of the hard work, the rejection, the tears, the shrugging off of the “I don’t feel like it right nows.” I have always been able to daydream the results, almost making me feel like I am there without fully embracing the process. I skip over it in my mind except to conjure up a hackneyed 80’s montage of my sweat, hours planted in front of the computer screen and praying in a sea of fictitious people who I will one day call my church family.

I want 37 to be about falling in love with the process even in the moments when I am suspicious it hates me or just taking too long “to get ready.”

I am toasting to all of the hard work that went into 36 and what I will bring to 37 even if patience requires I don’t see the fruit until 38.

Execution

Execution

I knocked one goal out since last week. I submitted a piece to another publication this past week! I haven’t worked out consistently, hit my water goal or completed two essays. I definitely need to find the balance of working, going to thrilling events like the dance production “Claves Unidos” I attended on Sunday, visiting family and keeping up with my exercise and writing goals.

I wrote half of one essay that I actually really loved starting to write. All I can say right now is that while I wrote it, a lot of specific memories came up that shocked me. My goal is to finish it tomorrow. I can’t wait to publish it as part of my book.

In addition to all of these goals which I did not quite hit this past week, I realized during my See Jane Write Collective virtual coaching meeting this evening that I was not doing everything I can (or anything) to promote how much I love helping people write vows and speeches. Why bother hiding all that I love to do? I answered a message from somebody recently telling them how much I love writing words that were meant to be spoken whether it is a speech, vows, creative non-fiction pieces or poetry.

Even though I did not hit all of my goals, it is already a new week. I can work out for the rest of this week, drink my water, finish my essay, write a new one and publish a new post on Thursday. These are all clearly outlined actionable goals.

It’s just up to me to execute.

Day 16

Day 16

Day 16 of my 21-Day Water-Workout-Write 21-Day Challenge

I am still at rest, hoping my breathing goes back to normal so I can resume my life. There are many times I love lying around the house, reading, catching up on new shows and movies, talking on the phone and chilling with hubby. But I have had my fill. That is probably because it’s not my choice. I feel grounded.

However, I can be grateful for the time that I do have to rest up because next week I will be on the road to go to the Summit of Greatness in Columbus, OH hosted by Lewis Howes. It’s strange how fast a year goes by. I went to the 1st annual event last year. I am looking forward to being energized by the sheer amount of goal-driven people from all over the planet converging together in one theater to listen to titans of industry in motivational speaking, sports, psychology and coaching. I wonder what take-aways I will come home with this year. Last year, I learned how vital it is to move forward, even if it’s limping forward from Fabio Viviani and courtesy of Stacy London, the thing that you think that you are trying to hide is the thing people notice the most.

I am also writing a guest blog post. I pitched an idea that was accepted and I am sending off my piece this weekend! I love the idea of contributing to another blogger and building each other’s platforms up. Even though I feel sidelined, I am still attacking my goals.

And not a soul can take that away from me.

Stay tuned for Day 17!

Forever

You ever have a moment where your pulse quickens and then it all slows down and you find yourself in flow? Two weeks ago, that was how I felt as I approached the head of the table where I would be standing to read four pieces I had written. I heard myself pause, my voice inflecting, letting the words drive what the audience would hear and how they would hear it. When I was asked to read my work as part of RVA Lit Crawl (Richmond’s first), I don’t know how I saw it going but there was a feeling I could readily identify: boundless joy.

I realized I let the words drive the direction my eyes went as well. They took in my fellow writers at the table, my husband, my parents, longtime friends, newly reacquainted ones, and the pairs of eyes I did not know, sitting on chairs, couches, a bench and on each step in the staircase. I only once broke for a second, hearing the thunder and rain that made its presence known over my voice. I felt my face warm and burn between each piece, almost not knowing what to do with the applause and cheers.

When it was over, I sat down and let my breath go. I had been first so it was my turn to watch these beautiful people bare it all, make us laugh and tear up. I allowed myself to become enthralled with the talent I was witnessing. There were times where we were rendered silent with the sheer power, especially during the last piece when the writer erupted into song, effortless and gut-wrenching.

When it was all done, we gathered around for pictures. In each face, I saw the boundless joy. I saw the beauty. I saw the love in these storytellers. I mentally raise a glass to all who read and all who came out to support us each time I think about it. I could do this forever.