Self-Expression = Mood Boost

I had a strange dream last night and it had nothing to do with me. Sometimes I think I have strange dreams because of a late night chocolate fix, but I didn’t have chocolate last night. It was a series of dreams, but what stood out the most was a tyrannosaurus rex bursting through an arcade game. Yeah tell me about it, I didn’t know how to spell that dinosaur’s name properly until today.

Well, the fun didn’t stop there. Next thing I know I’m following a fashion design team with one of the guys from Queer Eye. He’s wearing the furry coat number that Selena Gomez was sporting in the first episode of Only Murders in the Building. This fashion design team walk into a posh hair salon to get a blow out, but it’s not really a blow out because they were all at a wash station immersing their head and half their body into these strange sinks operated by machines. Their designer clothes were getting a good shampoo rinse as well. You would think their clothes were permanently damaged, but those that walked out afterwards looking just as fabulous as before.

Then I woke up.

Self-Expression

I came to with my heart pounding out of my chest and thought I should write a post about self-expression. I’ve been on this self trip lately. It’s been refreshing, empowering and inspirational. When I hear self-expression, images of people wearing clothes that are far from the norm pop into my head. How many people do you know walk around in furry coats like Selena Gomez?

Self-Expression by fictional character Mabel played by Selena Gomez wearing a furry orange coat

Maybe it’s a New York City thing, I don’t know. During Only Murders in the Building, the subtitles said the coat was yellow, but it’s clearly a shag carpet orange,right? But maybe I don’t know my colors as well as the people who provided the captioning. After all, I live in rural Florida, where wearing something other than a t-shirt is called dressing up. It’s a quirky place to live, but I’m not a huge fan of crowds, so it works for me. Mabel wears funky coats and my self-expression comes through my words. Now it’s your turn.

How Do You Express Yourself?

Is it through the way you dress, your hairstyle, what you drive or the way you promote yourself on social media? Self-expression displays who we are to the world. It is commonly expressed through writing, dance, music, or visual arts.

This is not meant to make you more likeable by others. Think of it as helping you reach your more authentic self. When you become your unique self, guess what? It boosts your mood and can help reduce anxiety. So how do we get back to our authentic self?

How to Promote Self-Expression

First, find an inspiring quote and imagine yourself as a child.

What’s the first thing that pops up in your head about the things that made you happy?

What do you enjoy doing now?

What are you awesome at?

What are your favorite colors?

What’s your favorite song?

What are your current interests?

Take a moment to answer these questions in your journal. Now create a vision board with these thoughts in mind. Keep it in a spot where you will see it often. The bathroom mirror is a good place to start or maybe on your desktop. It might even be a good idea to put it in a place where visitors sit. Wouldn’t that make for a great conversation piece?

# # #

Make time to do the things that bring you joy.

Wordsmith, Wordsmithing, Wordsmithery

noun: wordsmith; plural noun: wordsmiths

1. a skilled user of words.

Definition from Oxford Languages

The term wordsmith didn’t enter my vocabulary until my mid-30s, but let’s rewind. I didn’t know about a lot of things until that time in my life, but I’ll save that story for another day. But first, here’s some back story to my circuitous route of what it means to me to be wordsmith.

“What do you want to be when you grow up?” It’s a popular question adults ask us from the time we can talk. The older we get we begin to discover what we want to become and it usually has nothing to do with what our parents want for us, even though they tell us to do what makes us happy. Come to think of it, I don’t recall my parents saying those words. EVER.

From first grade until the beginning of my junior year in high school, I had big plans. I wanted to make my parents proud, so they could brag to their friends and extended family about the career path I chose. Because one day, in my not so distant future, I was going to be a medical doctor…and jazz hands.

I sat with my parents watching every episode with Neil Patrick Harris as Doogie Howser, MD. And before Patrick Dempsey’s role as Dr. Shepherd in Grey’s Anatomy, there was George Clooney as Dr. Ross in ER. Who didn’t want to work in the ER, fall in love with another doctor, and live happily after?

But at the beginning of my junior year in high school, I saw a PBS documentary on the making of a doctor and it shook me to my core. This film crew followed a small group of students through medical school, residency, and practice. I watched them juggle family and work. There were successes and failures at home and on the job. My preconceived notions were created through TV shows, I didn’t imagine it to be any different until that point.

You could say I romanticized the idea of being a doctor until that moment. I didn’t know what becoming an MD entailed. You know, the years of sacrifice, the schooling in the things I had no interest for and of course there was the blood. I was 16 and it was the first time since the first grade that I didn’t want to be a doctor. Cue the Price is Right sound of disappointment.

That same year, I discovered my interest in the arts. Who knew there was a world outside of becoming a medical doctor? It would take me a couple more decades to figure out what I wanted to be when I grew up. I didn’t know it at the time, but what I wanted to become was a wordsmith.

Wordsmith Origin

The term wordsmith is believed to have been first used sometime in the 1800’s. Online Etymology Dictionary states that it comes from an 1855-56 Detroit directory 1855-56 with a listing for a “Mrs. F. Wordsmith.” Though it could be a typographical error. Other dictionaries trace it back by separating them into two words. I’ll only expound on the latter. Smith is generally associated with a person that works with metal, but a second definition says it is a person who has a specified skill.

I thought it would have a deeper meaning, but it is just as the name implies. In the same way a blacksmith forms metal, a wordsmith does the same when in the act of creative writing. We shape sentences in such a way to convey an image, a thought or an idea. If you’re a writer of words, add this to your list of I ams. Go ahead and say this out loud, “I am a wordsmith.”

The Sound-Better-Words

Now that you’ve said it, it’s time to be one. How many times have you looked for a better word .for something you wanted to say. I’ve only included two words in this post, but for good reason. Let’s take a look at the words very bad. In elementary we used the word very often, but somewhere along the line we were told to use other words to describe something that was very bad. So, we thumb through the dictionary and create lists of synonyms. Off the top of your head, what words come to mind when you’re thinking of a better word for bad? Create your own word list. This is a great exercise to see what you’ve got in your mental word bank.

Proofreading Services has a list of 128 words to use instead of “very” for your perusing pleasure.

Another common word used in our creative writings come when our characters are conversing. How did your character say it? Did he gasp, taunt, or whisper? I’ve included an infographic below compiled by The Puppet Show, so when you hit a said wall in your dialoging look to this.

280 Ways to say “said”

# # #

Life took me on a detour, but I’m glad I found the thing that makes me get out of bed in the morning. I hope this post gets your mind thinking about other sound-better-words. There’s a big world out there with thousands of words to use within the English language.

Look up a word and find the synonym. I dare you to go down that rabbit hole. Sign up with an on-line dictionary for your word of the day. Use it in a sentence or let it catapult you in the form of a writing prompt. You’ll emerge with words that you never knew existed and dominate your friends and family in Scrabble or whatever word game tickles your fancy. Now doesn’t that sound like a dollop of whip cream on top?

Happy wordsmithing my friends! Write on.

Narrative: The 4 POVs

Narrative is the way you tell your story. What point of view do you offer your reading audience? How much are you willing to reveal and how much of their understanding do want to remain a mystery? Whichever one you choose, writing narratives from a different point of view enhances your creative writing skills.

First person narrative gives me a chance to imagine how and what the character is feeling. I see life through their eyes like I’m walking around in someone else’s shoes. One writer I met said she took up smoking because her character was a smoker. I found the behavior to be a little extreme. Keep in mind you don’t have to pick up a vice because your character has one.

In my own writing journey, I’m taking my own advice and trying different POVs by paragraph within my projects. I’ll take one paragraph and rewrite it using a different POV each time. It mixes things up and gives me the opportunity to see my character or characters in a different light.

Are you not sure how you should narrate your next story? Here’s a brief overview concerning point of view.

First Person

Use the pronouns I, me, or we, us our, ours, mine. Example, “I enjoy curling up on the couch to watch a mystery.” The narrator lets you know what I’m doing.

“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view… Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.” – Harper Lee To Kill a Mockingbird

Second Person

Use the pronouns you, your, yours, yourself. Example, “You stand there for a moment, not sure whether or not you should turn away.” The narrator lets you know what you are doing. The narrator turns the reader into the protagonist.

The overall consensus among the writing community is not favorable when it comes to using second person POV. There aren’t as many examples using this POV in literature, but it doesn’t mean that you can’t do it. I experimented with second person in a personal essay called The Photograph, when I found out my biological dad wasn’t my step dad. I ended up changing it to first person.

“You have friends who actually care about you and speak the language of the inner self. You have avoided them of late. Your soul is as disheveled as your apartment, and until you can clean it up a little you don’t want to invite anyone inside.” – Jay McInerney, Bright Lights, Big City

Third Person Limited

use the pronouns he, him, his, himself, she, her, hers, herself, it, its, itself, they, them, their, theirs, and themselves. Example, “She stares at the dog growling at her from the corner of her eye and decides to bolt.” The narrator lets you know what she is doing. Third person limited narrative knows the thoughts and actions of one character throughout the story. Most stories are told through this perspective.

“He will never be able to explain how he dares to do this, but perhaps you get tired of being frightened if you’ve been frightened long enough.” ― Fredrik Backman, Beartown

Third Person Omniscient

Use the pronouns he, him, his, himself, she, her, hers, herself, it, its, itself, they, them, their, theirs, and themselves. Third person omniscient knows and sees the inner workings of all characters.

“Vanity was stronger than love at sixteen and there was no room in her hot heart now for anything but hate.” -Margaret Mitchell, Gone with the Wind

Exercise

Write a paragraph with your character having dinner with their family. Try writing the same paragraph through the lens of the different POVs mentioned in this post. Which narrative worked best for you and why?

Establishing a Writing Habit

How can you successfully establish a writing habit? You want to have one, but you don’t know where to start. If a journey of a thousand miles begins with a step, then every story told begins with a single word. We all have to start somewhere.

When I think about a writing habit, I think of Ernest Hemingway and his daily goal of 500 words per day. Okay, that’s not a bad word count, but then there’s Anne Rice coming in at 3000. Yikes! That’s a lot of words, but don’t let these numbers discourage you.

What I’m telling you is that you shouldn’t concern yourself with how many words famous people wrote per day. You are not them and they are not you. If your current habit is looking less than subpar, it’s okay. I’m here to help. If you allow these simple changes in your life, your writing habit could be as consistent as making that first cup of coffee in the morning.

Steps to Creating a Writing Habit

1. Set Your Intention

What is it that you want to achieve with a good writing habit? What is your primary objective? Do you have a specific project you’re working on? Is it an essay, short story, or novel?

Like any objective, specificity matters. I find it best to work on more than one project. If you get stuck in one, you can always work on a different one. Burn out on projects are real. I will not pretend otherwise.

If there’s no deadline, create one for yourself. If you have a short story or essay you’re working on, sign yourself up on Submittable and submit it to a literary journal. It’ll keep the fire under you.

2. Cut out Your Distractions

Understand your needs from your wants. Are you an avid checker of social platforms? Put the phone away or disable the apps. If you need to post a Happy Birthday to someone on their timeline, set a reminder on your phone to do it after you’re through with your writing session. Your socials can wait, but your writing can’t.

Scrivener is my writing platform and thankfully it can be used off-line. I disconnect from the internet and when temptation strikes, I make a note on the sidebar. Nine times out of ten, it wasn’t that important. I get antsy at the keyboard. Kind of like making an emotional purchase when you’re at the store. Give it some time and the feeling will pass. I didn’t need to check something out, I wanted to.

3. Writing Space

Where do you write? Put up some motivational quotes or scented candles to energize your space. If your current space is cluttered, sort through it. Having a mountain of paperwork in front of you will deprive you from your creative energies. Make your space a place where you are excited to spend your time.

I’ve tried various places in my house, but the best space for me is sitting at my desk. Anywhere else I go, I feel like I’ve been shot with a sleeping tranquilizer.

4. Schedule it

If writing is important to you, you will make time for it, right? Are you a morning bird or a night owl? We make time for what matters to us. If there is a time of day that works better for you make sure you create a schedule around it. A morning person wouldn’t schedule their prime writing time at 11pm. Whenever you feel the most productive, be sure to schedule accordingly.

5. Consistency

Once you’ve scheduled it in, consistency will follow. Did you know It takes 30 days to form a habit? I learned about how to form good habits when I was a Mormon girl. Yes, being Mormon had its benefits. One of the many tasks to earn the Young Women’s included forming a good habit.

Writing in my journal for 30 days was one of them. I made it a point to write in my journal every night for 30 days, right before I went to bed. Long after the 30 days were over, it turned into one of my nightly routines.

6. Reward Yourself

When you are consistently working towards a habit that will satisfy your soul, you don’t want to dim the light on it. Celebrate it! We need to do these sorts of things to stay motivated. And if you’re wondering if you deserve it, of course you do!

You don’t have to go on an extravagant spa retreat, but it’s important to reward yourself. Give yourself a manicure or pedicure, visit the beach, visit with a friend or check out that new art gallery. The added bonus, you’ll probably bring home some good content for your writing.

My reward for writing consistently is as simple as completing a French lesson on Duolingo, reading a chapter of fiction, or browsing the latest issue of Poets & Writers. Maybe for you it’s watching an episode of Stranger Things. Whatever your cup of tea, give yourself permission to reward yourself.

Writing Therapy

Writing therapy for you can do about the same thing as talking to someone about a problem you are facing. Have you felt better after talking to someone about a challenge or issue? How did you feel afterward? You probably felt like a huge burden lift off your shoulders. The things that were bothering you were most likely clearer. Why? Because you saw it from a different perspective.

Yes, I’m talking about mental health again. The history of mental health in my family helped me understand me. I’m learning that I don’t have to allow it to consume my life. Over the years I worked in reception for a couple of different psychiatrists. I never would have imagined that I was learning about pieces of myself through the patients we saw and interacted with on a daily basis. I didn’t know that what I had been experiencing for the last twenty years was depression. This thing that I was struggling with become common knowledge to me until last year. It is so much easier to spot when I look back on my past.

For me, depression lingers long after my manic episodes pass. My daughter, Brooklyn loves to sing, “Rain, Rain, Go Away.” Call me silly or juvenile, but this is how I feel about the heavy rain cloud of depression. I’m sure there’s a great adult version out there, but I have yet to find it.

When in doubt, Write It Out.

The American Psychological Association says that writing therapy can strengthen your immune system as well as your mind. When you feel those thoughts of fear, doubt, worry, anxiety, or depression take over do yourself a favor and grab your notebook. Write out your struggles. It’s a no-judgment zone. I am the only judge of my entries. It’s comforting to know that I could take whatever I was going through and put it on paper. As an only child, I didn’t have a sibling to confide in and writing gave me the freedom to talk about the things that were going through my head at any time of day. There were no time constraints.

I have kept a journal since 1990 and have plenty of entries I’d like to burn, but I keep them. I hardly reread them, but when I do they help me see the darkness I was experiencing. On my days when depression isn’t an issue, it is easy to say, “What in the hell was I thinking?”

I can say that 90% of the time, I feel so much better. I’ve worked it all out of my mind and into something that I could see. The rewind and play loop I was stuck in vanishes and I can go about my day. My biggest struggle when I’m in that pit is grabbing the notebook, so keep it close.

Where to Start?

Anywhere in your thinking. Start at the top. When did you begin to feel the downward slide? The key is finding out the when and where. In my own life, I can establish pinpoints on when it began, so when it pops up again, I can do my best to stop myself from escalating the issue. Your reaction has everything to do with where your head will go. Try making it a daily practice. It’s a habit I’m working on reestablishing. I’ve been on a three-day writing streak. Now I only have 27 more days before I can make it an official habit. I’m all about establishing a habit when I can stick with it for 30 days straight.

If you can’t or don’t want to write there are plenty of other things to do to help clear your head. As with everything in your life from diet, exercise, or your writing habits, you have to find out what works for you. Trial and error my friends, but you’ll get there.

When I’m going through that terrible low mood I first turn to writing. If that doesn’t work I start out with meditation and follow it with yoga and then knitting. I would love to hear from you. What’s in your toolbox?

Proofreading

Remember when we shuffled our desks in groups of three or four during elementary school? We used the red pencil to apply our newly acquired proofreading skills to our classmate’s paper. We marked their paper with symbols for missing capitalization, commas, paragraphs, and misspelled words. I hated seeing those red marks on my paper.

Through regular practice and relearning how to apply and develop the skills in college, I improved on them. Although we now have tools at our disposal, it’s still necessary as a writer to find these errors in our daily tasks before we send out blog posts, query letters, essays, or short stories.

I have included some suggestions to put in your proofreading toolbox. I know that many of us aren’t paid or paid well for the work we produce, yet we do it for the love of creating. There are companies you can work through, but why not take the initiative to do the work yourself free of charge.

Homonyms

Homonyms, also known as homophones, occasionally come across my radar. Print out your work and highlight the homonyms. These words sound the same but are spelled differently and have different meanings. There’s no need to worry about homographs (words that sound and look the same but have a different meaning (i.e., rose, fall, duck, saw, park). Those shouldn’t pose as much of a threat in your writing as homonyms.

Top 10 Homonyms Common Mistakes

Read Backwards

Try reading your text backward. Did you try reading my sentence backward? It makes your mind focus on each word individually rather than the entire sentence. You’re not looking at sentence structure. That comes later when you’re editing.

Ask Someone to Read Your Work

Peer reviews play an essential role in proofreading. Don’t think of it in a negative light. It’s a way to see your writing from a different perspective, making you a better writer.

How many times have we gone over a sentence with “should of,” but after peer review, discovered when corrected, needed to say, “should have”? It’s a mistake I made while attending BYU, and it is a reminder of the importance of having someone else read your work.

Online Tools

If you have done everything in your power to find your proofreading errors, you can try using some of these online tools to check your work. I have included a screenshot of the thoroughness of each program. I used the first paragraph of this post as an example. Disclaimer: I’m not paid for these reviews. They are based on my preferences.

1. Grammarly

Grammarly free online version

I’ve been using Grammarly for years. The free and paid version checks for basic proofreading mistakes (i.e., grammar, spelling, punctuation) and clarity, delivery, and engagement. Adding it as an extension in Chrome, allows you to see your errors across social platforms, e-mail, Word, and Google Docs. You’ll have to upgrade to Premium if you want to suggestions on clarity and plagiarism. They charge an annual fee of $144, which breaks down to $20 per month.

2. Hemingway Editor

Hemingway Editor free online version

It is available online for free and offers the downloaded version for $19.99. What’s the benefit? You can also download the program to use off-line for $19.99. I would consider using this program and paying for the online version since there is no reoccurring payment that it offers.

3. Writer.com

Writer.com free on-line version

The free plan allows you to check for the basic proofreading mistakes (i.e., grammar, spelling, punctuation), but you will have to pay $11 each month for other features like clarity, plagiarism, and delivery.

Give each of them a try and see which one works for your specific needs. Remember, you don’t have to apply all suggestions. Not everything they say is necessary to make your work sound the best.

# # #

I hope you enjoyed this post as much as I enjoyed sharing the knowledge. If you have your own suggestions on proofreading help, please leave me a comment.

Writer’s Block

Writer’s block is not the problem. The problem is not writing.

Wikipedia has listed the term writer’s block as a condition. It occurs when a writer has a creative slow down or can’t think of any new material.

When I first started writing, I believed it. But guess what? Writer’s block doesn’t exist. I think it’s an excellent armpit excuse, but in all honesty, writers have got to write.

Here are some ways you can conquer the imaginary block and write on.

Free Write

Free writing is what the name implies. You don’t have a plan. If having no plan interests you check out my earlier post Pantser 101. Write whatever comes to mind and keep writing. When I hear free writing, I see Jack Nicholson repeatedly writing Red Rum in The Shining. If you get stuck on a word, keep writing the same word until you come up with the next one. You know what? Something magical happens. You’ll come up with another word.

Do not be afraid of an incomplete thought. No one is judging you. It’s between you and your keyboard or pen. Whatever medium you decide, keep writing. Set a timer for 10 minutes. Next time you can set it for 20 minutes. It’s up to you. I want to tell you not to look back and change your words, but I know you will. I know I’ve done it. But remember, free writing is about allowing the words to flow out of you without bringing out the grammar police or wordsmith. You can bring them out later.

Writing Prompt

There are plenty of sites that you can sign up for to get your writing juices flowing. One of my favorites is reedsyprompts, where you can use their weekly writing prompts, and if you are interested, you can enter their weekly contests. As a judge on their site, I love to see the beautiful way an author can weave these prompts in their short stories.

The other site I enjoy receiving emails from is writers write. Once a week, they send out a newsletter that includes a helpful post, comic, words we like, a quote, and lastly, writing prompt. This week’s writing prompt is, “The cat’s bowl was empty.”

Word List

Who doesn’t like a good word list? I’m in the middle of revision and rewrites, and I realized my sentences were…well, lacking in the realm of better words. Sometimes it’s about how your words are arranged. For example, Fredrik Backman writes simple sentences, but I walk away thinking about his prose long after putting down any of his books. “It doesn’t take a lot to let go of your child. It takes everything.” –Beartown.

Here’s one example of a word list. Make a food list. Start with your grocery list, and if you are a foodie, even butter. Yes, I love a good food pun. You could list a menu from one of your favorite restaurants. Go beyond pizza and tacos. Of course, you can easily upgrade the basic tacos into something of the street variety like carne asada encased in those cute little corn tortillas or a brick oven pizza covered in truffle shavings.

Think of brioche, tiramisu, sashimi or goulash. There is a whole world of food out there. If you’re a visual person, tune in to The Food Network. You are the writer. Imagine your character taking their first bite from a savory piece of filet mignon or dipping a piece of lobster tail in that buttery sauce as it drips off their fingertips. Then again, it could be as simple as chomping down on a Spam sandwich during their 20-minute lunch break.

Other lists could include favorite words, body movements, or places.

News Headline

Newsbreak headlines usually get my attention. Try taking a headline or an article you found exciting and making something more out of the subject matter. A headline reads, A Mother Carjacked, Baby Survives High-Speed Car Chase.

What happens to the woman afterward? Does she become agoraphobic or a cop? What happens to the 16-year-old kid not thinking about the consequences that follow? Is he scared straight and turns into one of his generation’s most influential motivational speakers for at-risk children? I’d like to know. Not all stories need to have a sad ending.

# # #

I see it as writer’s block is nothing more than a myth. There are a plethora of avenues you can travel when it comes to your creativity.

I hope you found this helpful in your writing journey. Let’s do some trade secrets, and you can comment on how you get through writer’s block. Send me a like and follow, and I’ll do my best to develop other ideas to help you unleash your creative self.

Write on!

I Am…

I once made a list of all the I ams I was and all the I ams that I want to be. It was a two-column list in smallish writing. I’ve lost the list, but I remember writing, “I am a sheep owner.” Let me explain. I am a knitter. I started out with that icky acrylic yarn, but then I discovered specialty yarn.

When I moved to the East Coast, I felt the need to pick up a pair of needles and yarn. Little did I know there was a world of yarn just a click away on Etsy. I could get the kind that is hand-dyed, and hand spun. Oooh wheeeee… it was irregular in some places, but it added a certain je ne sais quoi to my knitting experience. It sounded magical in my head (i.e., shearing the sheep, picking through the wool, and using a spinning wheel), which brought me to the conclusion that I wanted to be a part of the wool to yarn process.

Anyways, in my brief search, I learned that it makes more cents (pun intended) to own goats than sheep because people like goat meat, but then I thought I couldn’t possibly raise goats to send them to the slaughterhouse and then I thought what about running a place that did yoga with goats? Can I get a namaste? Phew! And there’s a little sneak peek at Des’s thought process.

Yeah, I am NOT a sheep owner. I’m not too keen on the idea right now. The actual process sounds overwhelming. Give me the looped yarn that’s twisted all pretty because I’d rather get to the knitting.

I like the end process, please and thank you, but that’s not how processes work as we develop and grow as people, is it? It takes a lot of time and energy sometimes, it’s more than we like to exert.

The I Ams That Define Us

I had to give myself a pep talk the other morning because I DID NOT want to get out of bed. So you know what I did? I went through a short mental list of some good moments in my past. I am what I am because of the actions I have taken. It made my morning for some reason. I didn’t need to hear it from someone else. It was just me talking to me. It is easy to forget that we are our own greatest cheerleaders and our own biggest roadblocks. We don’t give ourselves enough props, so go ahead and pat yourself on the back. You’re doing great…even if the only thing that got you out of bed was that first sip of coffee.

I started calling myself a writer when I began my first class in my master’s program. I didn’t want to call myself one publicly, but I had to say it a couple of times to myself out loud and to my family members so that I believed that I was, if that makes sense. What made it real for me was seeing my name in the table of contents of a literary journal. Knowing that other people might read my essays besides my family and friends brings a smile to my face.

I have no idea what I hoped to look or feel like when I claimed those words in the I am form. Nothing really changed except for the fact that I put myself out there. My thoughts are no longer private. Writing for me is like putting a part of my soul out there.

As writers, we torture ourselves with our endless banter within that maybe what we have to say isn’t all that important or that no one will read it. We write because there’s this unknown force compelling us to write out loud.

I’m in the middle of sending query letters and receiving the dreaded rejections. I keep putting myself out there because I have things I must say. If I don’t, I feel incomplete.

In between the things that get in the middle of me and my laptop, I might not get 1000 words a day, but I keep on keepin’ on.

I’m trusting in the process.

Your I Ams Await

If you haven’t already felt inspired by my thoughts on proclaiming my right to say, “I am a sheep owner,” go ahead and make an I am list of your own. Write out the things you already are and the things that you want to be. You’ll be surprised at what you might tell yourself.

Underline, circle, highlight, or * any you’re interested in turning to a present-day I am. And then buckle down and get to it. Look at that. You just made yourself a goal. Don’t I ams sound so much better?

I’d love to hear what made the cut on your list, and please share it in the comments if you’re feeling up to it. Thanks for dropping by.