The Little Victories

So I don’t know if I told you all, but I got back into writing lately—fiction writing that is. And I know that’s bad because, ultimately, I should have a set schedule for writing on a regular basis by now, but I’m working on it. Even though I’m more of an ambitions kind of girl who takes on novels rather than short stories, I wrote a short story this quarter.

And I really like it.

Granted, I took a fiction writing class this quarter and a short story was one of our assignments, but you’d be surprised how I ended up with the story I turned in.

You see, the concept of a short story was kind of daunting to me. Because I love writing and stories and I have so SO many ideas, but I’m not great at getting to the point when I need to. My “short” stories never turn out being short.

There’s always too much ambition in the way for that.

Five days before this story was due, I had the first page of four different short stories written. The first page. Only. Picture this: It’s 11:00 pm and I’m scrolling between each one on a Friday night, trying to decide which one I want to keep going with. And every time I tried to add to any of them, all I could produce was cliche melodrama.

The hours passed and I watched the cursor mock me, blinking at me in a constant reminder of my lack of work from the open nothingness in front of me. 1:00 am. I had nothing and I was lying with my head on the table, staring at the computer sideways while I traced lazy circles on the dinner mat my head rested on.

I started typing: “What do you do when a creator’s hands want to create, but their insecure mind keeps telling them that they can’t?”

It made me think of my attempts at painting, the blank canvas a daunting demand to be filled.

1:30 am. At this point, I started messing around with the keys, opening a new document and typing out everything I was thinking. Painting. Not being able to, maybe there was something in the way. And my main character, I wanted her to paint, but she couldn’t.

Why couldn’t she?

For the next two hours, I was on a deep dive into my own thoughts, trying to figure out why this painter couldn’t find beauty in her painting anymore and somehow it just made sense to keep going, to try to get her to the painting she missed so badly it ached but somehow couldn’t touch a single brush without losing it.

I took a painter who couldn’t find the will to paint anymore and I wrote up a life for her in which, that made sense.

I was a writer who couldn’t write something beautiful to save my life. So I wrote about it.

Maybe I didn’t save my life, but I did feel like a writer for the first time in a whole because this story, it turned out quite beautifully.

It opens with Janice, standing among her paintings and staring dismally at her studio walls, aching with a need to create again. But there’s some reason she can’t bring herself to do it and as she walks around looking into each colorful canvas outlining her past, you fall into her life with her and begin to understand what exactly it is standing between her and the person she wishes to be.

Juxtaposed with her daughter, Anita, who is so full of life and energy and constantly pesters her mother to paint with her, there’s something about this story that brings to life the concept of writer’s block in a way I never imagined it. The questions is, does she end up giving in to the pull of creating, or does she walk away from it?

If you want to read the story to find out what happens with Janice and Anita, let me know. I’ll share it with you. Otherwise, I tell you all this because that night, I created something out of nothing. Simply by waiting and giving myself the space to do so.

If that doesn’t make this a successful quarter, I don’t know what does. I did one thing I’m really proud of in the last three months and well, I think that’s got to be enough for me right now.

Hopefully you can find at least one thing too. Happy Friday.

A Genuine Question For You

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Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

Writer’s Block. Let’s talk about that for a second.

I’ve been doing these blog posts for a little over two years now, since the summer I graduated high school. And I’m about to about to go into my junior year of college. Every single week of my college career has somehow been put into this blog and some piece of me is left behind on a weekly basis.

And I haven’t missed a single post.

Today I’ve been trying to figure out what to say, for there is a lot I could talk about. I just wonder how many of you want to hear it.

I could talk about Nia Wilson’s story, how people need to say her name and understand exactly what has happened here. Was it racially motivated, or do All Lives truly Matter? In this case, I’m not so sure. But I think Anne Hathaway kind of covered that here.

I could tell you about the dinner I went to last night and ended up spending three hours catching up with my old soccer team, girls who I’ve known for over ten years now. Some of us are about to be college seniors. Time goes by fast and that still surprises me. But is that what you want to hear today?

That’s a genuine question.

I’m twenty years old, no expert in anything, but this blog is a part of my journey and I want you to be in it with me. Sometimes I don’t know what I want to write and try to think about what you want to hear, but I’m not always sure anymore. It’s like turning on the news and knowing exactly what I don’t want to hear but not quite knowing what I would prefer.

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Photo by Benni Asal on Unsplash

I could tell you it’s been a rough week, but we all have those and it takes a bit to push through them: Drink more water, try to sleep more if you can, do only what is absolutely necessary one step at a time and then tackle the rest, call up a few friends while you’re at it, can’t skip work because money is necessary and you know it, always try to find about five minutes for yourself every few hours just to keep yourself sane, don’t forget to eat…

There are a lot of things I could tell you about, many things I would love to talk about right now. But today my question goes straight to you, what do you want to hear?

How about that novel I was working on, the one I have two chapters left to revise before it’s truly finished (at least the rough rough draft)?

Or that second poetry novel that has no date yet but a whole lot of new material lately?

My writing doesn’t only depend on what I want to write about, it also depends on what you want to read, what people are going to read. Every time I’ve had writer’s block, usually I could find a way to write a blog post that didn’t get a whole lot of views but still kept me writing. I guess you could say I do this on a weekly basis to at least keep myself in practice, though cataloguing my life every week is also kind of cool.

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Photo by Robert Wiedemann on Unsplash

That’s not why I started this. I started this as a promotional thing for my first book, yes. But I also started it as a way to connect with all of you. To relate. To bridge the gap that seems to keep growing between the people the more that I grow up and things around me change.

So I’m asking you, not because writer’s block is holding me back from telling you something new or because I don’t know what to talk about today. I could talk about a lot of things but what I really want to do is ask you a question that I hope you can answer for me.

What do you want to hear?