Thursday, December 11, 2014

We Are All Different

A question that plagues my thoughts everyday is, 'Why should I bother writing? Who is going to read what I have to say, anyways?' I was thinking about it today, and it brought me to some interesting thoughts and ideas that I'd like to share. Hopefully you can relate and you find some inspiration to keep going from where my thoughts brought me.  

I've seen a lot of writers, or artists of any kind for that matter, who when discouraged say things such as, 'There's probably someone else out there doing the same thing. Why should I bother to compete?' I think it myself, somedays. Why should I try competing? I'm new to the writing/blogging world. No one knows my name. There are numerous people who do the exact same thing that I do. I will lose the battle to someone who is more established than I am. 

I am aware that is a narrow way to think, but let's be honest, we've all been there and we all go there every now and again. It's that shadow of a doubt that brings us there. 

Now, while there may be numerous other writers or artists out there, we are all different. Why else would there be so many people who do the same thing? If we were intended to think one certain way and be entertained or learn in the same way, if we all thought the same way there would only be one person who does any one thing. There would only be one writer. There would only be one artist, one chef, one teacher. There's a reason we don't all like the same kind of food. There's a reason some of us learn by reading while others learn by doing. We are not all capable of the same things, but amongst us are people who are capable of what we are not. You are capable of what someone else is not. 

One person is only one perspective. We all have a different perspective.  And we all see other peoples perspectives differently. If there's only one person doing one thing, not only is the unemployment rate going to go through the roof, but there will be people who don't care for that person's take on things. There will be people who just don't understand. There will be people who can't draw any inspiration from it. There will be people who act out and rebel against a broken system where there's only one person allowed to do specialize in any one thing. 

So the next time you think that no one will care, no one will read or like what you have to say, no one will see what you do, remember that there are so many people that do the same thing for a reason. There will be at least one person who understands you and where you are coming from. There will be at least one person who walks away from your creativity with something. 

Feeling Intimidated?

In my previous blog postings, I spend a lot of time, or at least a significant amount of time exploring the definitions of words. I say exploring because it truly is an adventure if you enjoy words as much as I do. If you haven't experienced this, or you're reading my blog for the first time, I define a word. I do this in real life all the time. I've realized that I'll say words and I don't even really know the real meaning. I'm not saying I'm uneducated, but nobody really spends their time making sure they know the exact definition of a word, word for word. 

For example, I was having a bad day a couple of days ago and I couldn't figure out why. My frustration was coming from how much I had changed and how I acted around certain people. I am very quiet and not very outspoken. I'm extremely timid, which has not been the norm for me in my past relationships. I'm usually very comfortable, talkative and fun to be around. Lately I've been content to sit very quietly and go along with whatever. I'm also very quiet and unresponsive when I receive compliments. Part of this, I realized, is because my new relationship is, honestly, with an incredibly good looking guy. I realized I was intimidated

When the word intimidated surfaced, I said to myself, 'Is that really how I feel? Am I honestly intimidated by the looks of this man?' Not to say that this is a bad thing, because he is just gorgeous, but was that really what I was feeling? Whenever my curiosity is peeked in this manner, and I'm not exactly sure if that precisely describes how I am feeling, I have a system to determine if I am using the correct word. When faced with uncertainty, turn to the dictionary.

Intimidate means to frighten or overawe someone. So again, I asked myself, 'Am I really frightened?' The answer was no, absolutely not frightened, but overawe was another word where I wasn't exactly sure what it meant. 

Overawe means to impress someone so much they become silent or inhibited. Well, now that made a whole world of sense to me. I was definitely impressed by him, and as I thought about it, yes, I was often silent. I felt a little better after reading and putting together these definitions, but I still wasn't satisfied. I still wasn't quite convinced that there want more going on that was causing me to feel this way. There also was still a word in there that didn't quite make sense to me. 

When I hear or read a word that I don't quite know what it means, I get a feeling. I instantly relate that word to a feeling, and what I felt when I read inhibited was rigid. So I looked up inhibited; meaning unable to react in a relaxed or natural way because of self-consciousness. 

Let the revelations begin, folks! 

I was, and am so full of admiration and respect for this man that I have become silent and am unable to react in a natural way because I am self-conscious. 

'Who needs a shrink?!' 

This definition, once broken down and put back together, was exactly how I was feeling! It perfectly described how I felt when I was around him. Now, don't get me wrong, these moments of inability to react due to self-consciousness are not frequent. It was just that day where I felt a little intimidated. Though, if I had stopped at defining my feelings at intimidated, if we look back, I was so unsatisfied and my situation was so unresolved

It was incredible how much better I felt after putting all that together. Not only had I sorted out how I was feeling, but I had fed the side of me that enjoys doing that, enjoys sticking her nose in the dictionary and coming out with a better understanding, all around. I felt so much better, that I decided to define one last word, just for fun. 

Again, I know what the word self-conscious means, but as I've said in previous blog posting, we only really commit the shorthand version of definitions to memory. We have so much information in our brains that we can't possibly hold anything more than a fraction of it all. So I know that being self-conscious means that I worry about how I look or sound, and I definitely am self-conscious. Imagine my surprise, my intrigue, when I read that self-conscious truly means to experience a feeling of undue awareness of oneself. 

More revelations! 

I am so full of admiration and respect that I have become silent and am unable to react in a natural way because I am too aware! 

That is what we call nailing it right on the head. The undue awareness was what really made me feel better. It made me feel like I didn't need to be so hard on myself, because let's face it, when you're in a relationship with a good looking guy, you spend a lot of time worrying about how you look and what they think and so on and so forth. Just the understanding, a full understanding of how I was feeling made me feel so much better about the situation. 

This process is more than me going around trying to absorb as much information as possible. It isn't about me wanting to know more than everyone else, or having the knowledge to correct someone when they use a word incorrectly. I say this because I do this in real life, not just when I'm writing. Someone will use a word to describe how they're feeling, and I'll say, 'Do you know what that word actually means?' Or I'll be having a heated discussion with someone, (usually my mom because she is a word junky as well,) arguing over the use of a word in a sentence and I'll ask the same question before looking up the word to settle the argument. Now while all of that sounds awfully arrogant, I really just enjoy it. I truly enjoy seeing the pattern, the connection between words. Plus it helps me feel better about whatever is bothering me. 

The next time you use a word, a single word to define what you're feeling or experiencing, I want you to look up the definition. Even if there is a word within that definition that you are positive that you know what it means, look it up anyways. Make a list down a piece of paper, with the first word at the top and define as many words as you can in order. Then put all those broken down words into a sentence to explain how you're feeling. Instead of saying, 'I feel intimidated,' say 'I am so full of admiration and respect that I have become silent and am unable to react in a natural way because I am too aware!' Sure, it's much more wordy, but it gets the post across in a more understandable way. And it means so much more. Post your findings in the comment section. I would really enjoy reading through your feelings. 

As always, thank you for reading. Happy Thirsty Thursday! 

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Inspiration

Inspiration comes from many different places. It comes to us when we read, listen to music, have a conversation. Inspiration is the process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, and when we use the word process, we are talking about a series of actions. Inspiration is a series of actions that result in mental stimulation, stimulation meaning the encouragement to develop or increase activity. 

See, I don't know about any of you, but I am just infatuated with looking up the definitions of words. You can't just define one word; that only gives you a hint as to what that word really means. We hold so much knowledge in our brains. Sure, we know what process means, we know what inspired means, but we really only know what our brain has grasped, and usually it's only a fraction of the definition. It's the shorthand version. 

When you define a word, there are usually words within that definition that are foreign to us, even though we use and hear these words on a daily basis. I find it fascinating to sit and define a word, and then define a word within that definition, and so on and so forth until I have a huge list and I fully understand what that word means, and every word that came from within that first word. 

That, is a process. That is my process, my series of actions, that results in the encouragement to develop, to grow, to continue on and on until this one word, and all of the ones that follow make complete and utter sense to me. That is my addiction, but it is a process. It is the process of inspiration. 

Inspiration does not just happen. Not the way that many people think it does. An artist down on his luck may look at a painting and think that whoever made that piece had it so easy; that the inspiration to paint just came to him. I do this from time to time; I look at all the other writers and think, 'If only I could do that. If only it was that easy for me.' It takes time and dedication to become inspired

Now, sometimes, inspiration also means that it comes to us in a sudden brilliant, creative, or timely idea. However convenient that may be, it still takes time, it takes a process, it takes steps to turn that inspiration into a reality. I have ideas, brilliant and creative ideas that come to me all the time. Only a fraction of those ideas actually make it from my mind to my keyboard. And then only a fraction of those actually make it past my scrutiny and onto anywhere useful. 

An artist can have all the inspiration in the world and it won't matter. I have a wealth of inspiration, all the time, and sometimes it just doesn't matter, because I can't get past whatever obstacle, whatever mental barrier I have put up and actually act on that inspiration. You have to be willing to put in the time to make inspiration into something real. You have to endure the process, no matter how many steps are involved

It takes patience to be an artist, of any kind; a painter, a writer, a musician, etc. It takes steps. My inspiration for this post today came from a friend on Facebook. My post from yesterday was pretty narrow and she reminded me that everyone goes through a struggle; not just writers. So it inspired me to write a bit more about it the struggle involved in being creative.

I hope you enjoyed. As always, feel free to leave a comment and share. I hope you are inspired by my inspiration. Happy writing! 

Monday, December 8, 2014

The Struggle Is Real

The struggle of writing is real, folks. 

I say this, because the word struggle, when broken down, is exactly what I have been dealing with when it comes to writing. Struggle; to make forceful or violent efforts to get free of restraint or constriction, to strive to achieve or attain something in the face of difficulty or resistance, to have difficulty handling or coping with something, engage in conflict. The definitions go on and on, though these are particularly relevant to my personal struggle

I'd like to define a few more words within that definition, because the definitions further deepen my own understanding of my struggle, and therefore I hope to deepen your understanding. I also hope to help anyone else who is currently struggling with writing. 

Restraint; a measure or condition that keeps someone or something under control or within limits. In this particular case, and in the case of many writers, my restraint is myself. I am my own struggle, my own barrier, my own limitation. I limit myself when it comes to writing. Therefore, I am making forceful and violent efforts to get free of my own limitations set forth by myself. 

Difficulty; a thing that is hard to accomplish, deal with, or understand. I strive to achieve and attain great writing even in the face of my lack of understanding, my inability to deal with my own exceptions, and my frustration to understand my limitations. I am unable at times to cope with the difficulty that comes with trying to accomplish writing. 

I know this is something that all writers will understand, because we all go through it. We all put so much pressure on ourselves as writers; to be great, to make sense, to stay consistent and relevant. We want to make sense. We want to be heard. We want to be understood. The biggest question I ask myself is, why is someone going to understand what I'm trying to say when sometimes I don't even understand what I'm trying to say? 

Sometimes I don't even understand the point I am trying to get across, or what my motive is. Sometimes I let myself sink into that dark place. You all know what I'm talking about... That dark place where we doubt everything about our writing; we doubt our motive, our ability, our patience. We wonder why we should even write because who is going to read what we're writing anyways. 

It's been at least six months since I have posted to this blog, and it has been a few months since I have written anything that counts as constructive. Every time I thought of writing, that doubt would creep into my mind; why bother? 

I was planning to participate in National Novel Writing Month. I had an amazing plot, which I was in love with. I had my characters all planned out, my story line was great. I had mountains of ideas and I was so proud of myself. Though, when it came time to start writing, the pressure, the struggle, was so real. It was overwhelming; the pressure I put on myself because of my brilliant idea was pressing, suffocating even. I wanted to do this idea justice, and every time I started to write, I felt like a failure. I felt like I wasn't putting out the quality that I felt this idea deserved. 

So I spent the whole month of November at rock bottom, the lowest point of writing I have experienced. The idea for my novel stared me in the face with utter disappointment. I was just baffled and depressed by anything that I could possibly come up with. Nothing met my expectations of greatness that I intended for that novel. 

About halfway through November, I gave up, which is something I have regretted everyday since. I surrendered to my disappointment and let the idea go. I stopped logging in and staring at my computer screen. I was done trying to fight against the struggle I had set forth for myself. 

A big part of it, I've come to realize, is that I am lost. I have lost my plan, somewhere in the midst of life. I no longer have an end game, and this has been bothering me, lingering in the back of my mind and reminding me how lost I am. I finally confronted this feeling. I sat and thought long and hard about it; why was I feeling so lost? What was my plan? What was I going to do with the rest of my life? These are all legitimate questions. 

Though, the more I asked, the more defeated I felt. I didn't have the answers. So finally, I asked myself, do I need to have the answers? Do I need to have a plan? And as I asked myself that, I realized, I do not. The pressure of needing a plan caused such a great deal of stress. As I asked myself if I needed to have all the answers, I felt a weight lifted off my shoulders. As I realized that I do not need to have all the answers, I felt even more weight fall away, and my mind was freer. It began to welcome the inspiration that was all around me, all along. It began to wonder and think about writing. It began to long for writing. Most importantly, I began to long for writing. 

So here I am, finally feeling ready to get back to writing; finally ready to free myself from my own limitations and throw myself back into writing. 

I know a lot of my viewers will be or used to be writers, so I hope you all read this and can relate. I also hope you will comment and share your own struggle. Happy writing friends!