Permission: A Gift You Give Yourself

Truth, acceptance, and permission. "Love yourself and everything else falls in line." - Lucille Ball

There are three distinct intangibles we can give ourselves. There is the gift of truth, permission, and acceptance. Once you can tap into these gifts your words will flow freely. I know it sounds like a myth, but it’s the truth.

The Gift of Truth

While I spend my time writing personal essays, I have to relive my past. It gives me time to reflect. I have to constantly tear down the walls and show my vulnerability, another difficult task. Seeing all the ways I could have done things different can fill me with regret. But, I cannot rewrite what was. I must accept what happened and keep moving forward. I have to remember that whitewashing those lows would unmake the Desiree I am today.

The Gift of Permission

As a writer you need to give yourself permission to write. Jhumpa Lahiri, the author of Interpreter of Maladies, felt “nervous” to call herself a writer. She went on to win The Pulitzer Prize in 2000. Margaret Mitchell author of Gone with the Wind, used a part of her manuscript to hold up a wobbly couch before she won the Pulitzer Prize in 1937. Harper Lee, the author of To Kill a Mockingbird literally threw her manuscript out the window. Thankfully, her editor picked it up and encouraged her to finish it and also won the Pulitzer Prize in 1961.

What do they have in common besides the Pulitzer? They gave themselves permission to write and share it with others. It’s safe to say that writers don’t write for other people. They write for themselves. Writing from your heart, whether that comes in the form of essays, short stories or novels, gives you a chance to connect with others.

I have found the stories that impact me the most are the ones that I can relate to, because stories give us the chance to say what others are thinking. I can’t tell you how many times I have thought, “I was thinking the same thing, but I never would say it out loud.” You will be surprised at how it will be received. This goes back to emotionally attaching yourself to a character. I talked a little about this in Pantser 101. There is a story only you can tell from your unique perspective. Your readers will find you, but first you need to write the story.

The Gift of Acceptance

How do we get to that place in our writing? I believe that we don’t accept ourselves as we are. Why do we do this? Because we don’t love ourselves enough. Although it’s nice to hear those external validations from our friends and family, we need to believe it on our own. I know that I am my own worst critic and I’m the first one to cast the seed of doubt on anything and everything I do. Who is the first person to say, “It’s not going to work?” It’s me. How do I get through these doubts I create for myself?

Something I highly recommend is writing love letters to yourself as suggested by Elizabeth Gilbert, the author of Eat, Pray, Love. You know exactly what you want to hear. Listen to some of your favorite music, pick up your journal, and write yourself a love letter today.

Motivational Monday

Oh, Sweet Monday

It has reared its head once again. Here’s your motivational Monday pick me up. The day sandwiched between Sunday and Tuesday. It’s the beginning of a new week the promise of starting that diet, unhabit (don’t bother looking it up, it’s not a word), workout, etc… Monday is also the day where we have must wake up to an alarm, check our work e-mails, review weekly schedules, return phone calls, and basically get back into adult mode. We have to untangle ourselves from the weekend and dive back into getting stuff done. But, there are things that prevent us from doing what we need to accomplish.

Roadblocks

My roadblocks are in the guise of my two and one-year-old girls. My one-year-old has learned how to crawl out of the crib which makes it doubly difficult when I’m trying to write through her nap time and she does NOT want to take a nap. So I hold her in my lap while I one hand peck at my words.

I could go on and on about roadblocks, but here’s the thing, it’s life, and if we want something bad enough, like writing that short story or finishing that novel that has been on the back burner since 2016. We will fight for that time and work around those roadblocks because it matters to us and who would we be if weren’t writing, right?

Write it Out

What’s preventing you from doing the things you love to do? Stop worrying, it doesn’t solve anything and start writing. Writing can be the most therapeutic thing you can do for yourself and those around you is to vent on paper or type it out. Whatever it is you’re going through, it has to get out of your system and that means out of your head, otherwise, your brain will hold it hostage and keep it repeating on autoplay. WRITE IT OUT! Don’t let roadblocks get in your way and just write the damn thing.

This is a pep talk for me as much as it is for you. I’m here to tell you to keep chipping away and you’ll get there. Here’s to Mondays. We loathe them and love them. We have the opportunity to make the best use of our time or waste it. Use it wisely, at least that’s what I’m trying to do. Here are some of my favorite quotes to keep me going.

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10 Motivational Monday Quotes

Pantser 101

Qu’est-ce Que C’est “Pantser”?

I didn’t realize my writing style had a name, thinking I was more of a procrastinator. Through experience and a lot of reading, I have learned that I am a pantser, (I had to look that up when I first heard it). It means to fly by the seat of your pants. No outline. No plan. I like to see where my characters are going to take me. If you haven’t tried it, give it a shot. I guarantee it will take you down roads you never imagined. But, yes there’s a but, there is still prep work, even with no plan.

With NANOWRIMO (National November Writing Month) quickly approaching, it’s made me think about how I will structure my writing. Years ago, I was an active participant, until it fell apart by mid-month. There were a bunch of excuses for the reasons behind I couldn’t stay with it, but none of that matters. It’s all armpits (we all have them and they all stink). I don’t know where I heard that from, but it has stuck with me ever since. What really happened was that I lost interest in my character.

In order to do this wisely, there are three things I would like to suggest.

  1. Know Your Character(s)
  2. Know the Problem They Want to Solve
  3. Keep Writing

Know Your Character(s)

I’m not talking about things you could find on their driver’s license, although it’s a good start. This will require you to do some research, mental and otherwise, especially when you discover that your antagonist is some sort of scientist that you know nothing about (I may or may not be alluding to my own character). Bottom line is that you need to know them like you know your best friend and then dig deeper. Here are a few things to help jumpstart getting to know your character. Fill out the Proust Questionnaire (something I like to do to get to know my character). Fine-tune their emotions. Find the root of their emotions. Are there situations that make them giggle, chortle or guffaw? What makes them tear up, sob, or makes their throat constrict?

Questions a Pantser Should Ask

What are things that they would never tell another soul?

If you read their diary or journal, what would they say?

What are their inner thoughts?

What will you find in the inner recesses of their mind?

Who would be the first person they would tell to give them an out?

Would it be their best friend, their priest, or their parents?

What annoys the crap out of them? (If you don’t know, as their creator pass on something that irritates the heck out of you.)

Know the Problem They Want to Solve

Answer the five W’s: Who, What, When Where and Why

Who or what is the problem? Who or what needs solving and how does your character(s) go about finding the solution? When is the problem taking place? Is this happening now, in the future, or in the past? Why is this worth solving for your character(s)? It can be as simple as finding love or as difficult as going to some far-off galaxy in order to save humanity.

Consider Their Solutions

List some ways they can solve the problem. When you finally get to the problem, at least you’ll have a few ideas as to how your character will go about fixing it. If it changes, that’s perfectly okay. It happens, because you’re a pantser. Remember: Your “WHY” has to be big enough for you to keep on, keepin’ on.

Keep Writing

This is a simple and difficult task, but as a writer, we write and we just keep on writing. Don’t just write when you’re happy. Write when you are feeling those raw emotions, (the kind of emotions we don’t share on social media). As we continue to free our characters from the shackles we put them in, you are no longer bound by the constructs of what you think your audience will think of them. Once you stop worrying about what other people think. Now you have finally entered the mind of your character and you, the writer, can take them where ever they want to take you.

Lastly, try taking an experience from your journal and make it a part of your characters life. Answer some of these questions and you are on your way to create your very own fictional character. Enjoy their journey!

5 Writers' Quotes To Keep You Inspired Until Spring

Hope to see you there on NANOWRIMO in 39 days, but who’s counting ;). You can find me there under the user name: des_haros. If you would like to see more posts on ways to become a better writer, please like and subscribe. Thank you for dropping by.

The Process of Reinvention

Photo by hannah grace on Unsplash

Blog Goals

Ugh…is my initial reaction in figuring out how I want to establish myself as a blogger. I hate to put a label on myself, but it has to be done. I am many things, but as far as blogging goes, I’m a writer. What am I trying to accomplish here? My ultimate goal is to share my writing with the world. It’s a cheesy and bold statement, but I can edit at any time, so I’m going to stick with the label for now.

Weeding Out

I have realized that I have been going about this all wrong—the whole blogging thing. I thought I wanted to be a lifestyle blogger in the not-so-distant past, but what kind of lifestyle was I trying to promote? Being a mother, there are days when I want to make everything from scratch. Then I have days where I’ll break out something instant like hot dogs and mac n cheese (not a popular dish), or it’ll be a party pack from Taco Bell (the home crowd goes wild). I am a mixed bag. You never know what will happen until it happens.

I am a foodie, but I guess I wasn’t passionate enough about the experience. Trying the creative blog, I hit a wall where I would be anything but creative for long stretches at a time. I also tried to write about being an ultra runner, but after a decade it left me feeling less motivated to be that person.

A-Ha Moment

The blogging conundrum provided me with this a-ha moment. One thing that is a constant in my life has been writing. So here I am writing about writing. I have a few personal essays I am adding to a collection called Belonging. Here are a few titles, White Rice Covered in Soy SauceLife in the Valley, The Photograph, and Relentless Forward Motion. I am also working on a science-fiction trilogy tentatively called The Somewhere in Between (more details to come).

It is frightening to put my take on the world out into the blogosphere. I feel like I’m this little tiny voice from Horton Hears a Who. Can anyone hear me? I believe it’ll be worth it. The exposure can be stifling, but there are far worse things to fear and that’s what I have to remind myself. In the future, I hope to share with you some things I have learned along the way in the hopes that it will help you out in your writing as well.