TheRealSharon's Blog

{March 9, 2013}   Leave your Ideas Here!

Yesterday, I left a status on FB asking people to let me know what they wanted me to post on my blog. Sadly, no one has responded there yet so I am asking here, too. Sometimes I feel like I’ve run out of good ideas and inspiration for writing; Like every idea that comes up has already been written about before on my blog. I really want to know what, you, my followers want to read about on here. Do you have any topics you’re interested in me posting about? Are there things I have written about before you would like me to write MORE about, maybe? I really hope I get some responses here!

I’ve tried really hard to not have any posts where I talk about not knowing what to write, but isn’t it realistic to do so? I mean, the best writers get Writer’s Block, so why wouldn’t I, a lowly blogger who loves to write, sometimes be at a loss for words? Not that “words” themselves are hard to find because words surround all of us each day, but sometimes you reach up in the air to pluck the right words out and all you get is nonsense that you can’t make heads or tails of. So here I am, at a loss for the “right” words hoping to get a little inspiration or boost for someone else out there. Hopefully, one of my followers will give me just that!

Thanks to my Step-Mom in law for sharing this with me!

I was sent this yesterday on my Facebook and I have to say that THIS has to be some of the best advice I have ever received. Just knowing from someone who has already made a success in doing creative work that what you feel and go through IS completely normal and has been gone through before…it’s so refreshing. It feels like I am indeed going the right direction. An affirmation!

When I was a little kid, if someone had asked me if at the age of 28, I would trying to not only better my writing but become a paid writer in the future, I’m not sure I would have believed them. Actually, I may have, but I would have probably said it would be a SONG writer. Because as a little girl, I had a fire in my heart for music and singing. I dreamed of becoming a singer and writing my own songs. All through my life, there were hints of writing becoming more than that, though.

All my teachers praised me for becoming good at writing. Several teachers even pointed me towards writing as a career in my future. My response? “I know I can write OK and it can be fun, but I don’t want to be a writer, I want to be a singer.”  I had a writing talent, perhaps, but not quite the desire. At least that’s what I told myself and others….while at the same time, making up stories in which to entertain my nieces. I made up songs, too. I started a couple of books as a kid from little ideas I had but after a few chapters in, I simply got busy with other things and quit. I wrote poems quite a bit and showed them to my parents, who lovingly doted on them as being great and all that stuff that parents do. There was always a writing side to me, but it was almost like I hid it behind my desire to sing.

At 17, when I began college, I had every intention of doing a double major in Music AND English. As much as I loved Music, I also adored English. I always loved to spell and was a stickler for grammar. I knew I didn’t want to be a teacher…the thought frankly scared me. Singing in front of people was one thing, but speaking…uhhuh! No way, Jose, Jack AND Jill! :p NOT happening! BUT I quickly dropped English as a choice of major. Why? I used the excuse that while I love it and I did enjoy writing IF the subject was something I loved, I HATED with a passion the thought of writing long papers on topics that were boring and dull to me. All through school, teachers just loved to pick those kinds of topics, so why would college be any different? I wanted to sing so who needs the English major, huh?

Of course, for those who read my blog on a regular basis, you already know, I switched again later on and ended up Majoring in Theatre with a Minor in Music anyways. Neither choice got me out of writing things I didn’t really WANT to, but I did get to write some things I did love and once again, teachers told me I had a gift for writing. I honestly just nodded my head, said thanks and went on. So I can be good at writing? So what? I don’t have the motivation to do so….Excuses, one after the other.

But I still wrote a little, here and there, especially when I discovered blogs. The problem was always doing it for a bit and then stopping. Then I made an older friend who read some writings of mine and tried to talk me into writing a book with her. She kept encouraging me and trying to motivate me. I found my inner thoughts at conflict with what words instinctively came from me. On the outside, I would spew excuse after excuse, when inside, I really wanted to do it. I really wanted to have the urge to write more.

When the “Post a Day” Challenge came along, I took a flying leap into the unknown. Instead of someone else being the catalyst to DO something, I challenged myself. I took the step and jumped in. I had no idea where I would be months later in the journey, but I wasn’t going to make up excuses for once. I started out very unsure of myself and I have gained so MUCH confidence. I still have days where I compare other’s writing to mine and feel inadequate, like I am not quite at my best. Those are the days where I start to second guess myself and wonder if maybe writing isn’t the path for me. I criticize myself harsher than anyone else. And then there are days where things just click into place and I feel proud of myself. I feel like I AM actually getting better, step by step, and can see myself really doing this.

Those words by Ira Glass are so relatable to me. “And a lot of them never get past this phase; they quit.” Wow….so true. I have quit so many times in the past because of disappointment. “The most important thing you can do is A LOT OF WORK.” <—This truly explains to me why blogging every day is making a difference on how I feel about my writing skills. Having something like this where I have to at times force myself to write that day is getting me in the habit of WORKING on myself AND my writing. I am putting in so much writing hours versus a year ago when I wrote enough to maybe fill a week or two of posts. Blogging has given me a great outlet to work on my writing while getting feedback from others, making others feel(whether it’s happy, sad, angry or disgusted…at least something) and the added bonus of meeting awesome people that I otherwise may have never known.

I’m on a deadline each day like Glass’s words suggest. “It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions.” Well, I have definitely gone through a quite of volume so far, this is my 288th post on here! Do I feel like my work is as good as my ambitions? No, not hardly. I still feel like I have so much further to go. But I wonder if even published authors feel that they are at their best? Or do they think there’s still much more inside them just waiting to be let out? Maybe it’s a good thing to never feel like you’re at your peak and have no further to go. They do say that once you’re at the top, the only way to go is down. Maybe we should always strive to be better than our best, to reach the stars.

“It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You just gotta fight your way through.”   Thanks so much to my step Mother-in-law for sending me these words. They are exactly what I needed to hear and possibly what others may, too. It’s reassuring to know that my feelings are normal. I just got to fight my way through!

{March 30, 2011}   So you want to write?

I have been told that I should consider becoming a writer ALL my life. Besides the fact that I tend to doubt myself as “good enough” to do so in the first place, I never really had the strong desire to do so. Well…at least not in the way I felt I should.

I wrote poems, songs and stories as a kid and it was fun. When it came to school assignments, it was a chore, though. I always did OK with books reports, essays and papers and I flew through English with straight A’s but writing for school was like a job I hated and didn’t get paid for. Maybe if I got paid for it, it would have been more enjoyable? Nah. I suppose not. You see, the problem was in school, you are told WHAT to write about. Sometimes they have a number of topics to choose from but for the most part, it was usually not anything I was remotely interested in researching or writing about.

I considered double majoring in college so I could add English because I do love it but the idea was quickly knocked down when I considered even more assignments that would be on topics that had no interest for me. When it’s something I WANT to write about, I feel like the words just flow easily. If it’s something I am not interested in,  I have to work really hard for it to come out sounding like I want it to.  And I was one of those kids you hate in school, except for math class….the ones that never study and always get good grades. Yep, those kids. I was just able to memorize a lot of information and retain it. Apparently, that ability decreases as you age because now I seem to forget where my sunglasses are when they are on top of my head. Lord, help me!

Anyways, I still didn’t get away without writing papers. College seems to love to incorporate writing in every single place it can find to fit it in. So…in piano and voice lessons as a Music Major, I did papers. Papers on the songs and the composers. Sometimes it was kind of boring, because it was still an “assignment” but some parts of it were interesting. I was told by both my piano and Voice teachers that I was a good writer, though. That kind of floored me because I thought my papers were mediocre. I did what I needed to do for the class. It wasn’t a writing or English class so I didn’t work as hard as I would naturally. Yet I was still told I was a good writer.

Since I left college, I have had family members encourage me to write. Some of my nieces remember these stories I would make up on the spot when they were little and how I was a good storyteller. I’ve had friends that have told me I should write a book. So what’s stopping me?

I used to use the excuse of how I hated writing…which is not the truth, really. I hate writing with a pen or pencil, yes, because my hand gets tired but since I started using a computer as a teenager, I have been drawn to write more and more. I LOVE to type, I could do it all day. This is one of the reasons why I have considered a job doing data entry or as a secretary; something along those lines. I just really have fun typing ANYTHING. Seriously…I know it’s sounds strange, but it’s true! So along with loving to type, writing becomes easier for me to do.

So now I guess I must confess the truths. 1) I’m a procrastinator! Most everyone who reads my blog knows this. The idea of writing a book and it actually being good means having deadlines in the future. Me and deadlines are not even mere enemies…we are mortal enemies. Let’s pretend I’m an angel…and family members of mine, take that smirk away right now! Well…deadlines are like the Devil and he’s sitting on my back telling me over and over again that I’m going to fail. Part of doing this blog was to help with the procrastination devil and while I have been able to overcome it for this blog….it’s still there on my shoulder. I fear it will never completely leave me so I guess I will have to learn to live with it or let it conquer me…

2) I said this earlier but it still remains true. That little voice inside me that says you’re not “good enough”. That tells me that people are just being nice and I could never be good enough to be a writer. Besides, I was born to be a performer, right? And a mother….That’s what I have always told myself, at least. I love to perform and I have always wanted to be a mother. There couldn’t possibly be a place in my life to be a writer, too, right?

3) Last but not least, fear of content in a book. Yes, I know, you are probably incredibly confused as to what I mean right now. Last night, I watched an episode of “Parenthood” with the hubby in which a woman on the show wrote part of a play. This older famous playwright wanted to look at it and see what he thought and she was very wary about letting him. She goes on to state that she was going to take out “all the personal stuff first”. He says, “You were going to take out all the personal stuff? And leave what? The boring stuff?…Do you WANT to be a writer?”

That part really stuck in my head. To be a good writer, you can’t be afraid to go there. You have to be able to talk about the “personal” stuff, the hard stuff. I’ve noticed that since I started this 2011 challenge, I have talked about a lot of things from my past that have been really personal and really difficult to talk about. After writing about them and putting them out there to the world, I have then thought back and wondered if that was the best thing to do. For me, personally, it was a very cathartic feeling to write about my past. Each time I deal with a hard subject, it feels like I am counseling myself. Like I am taking this weight that I bear off my own back and throwing it off. Like I am saying, Here’s this tough stuff I’ve been through and I’m done with it. I am not going to deal with it anymore on my own. I’m putting it out to the world, laying myself bare, here I am, world! This is the real me, love me or hate me. It’s really helping me but then I have wondered if it was a selfish thing and people really are bored by it.

After that episode last night, I realized that maybe me being able to let my personal stuff be laid out there means that I am ready to actually TRY to be a writer. When I think back on some books I have read…not just biographies but stories that feel like I am also a stalker into someone’s life behind closed doors; those books were some of the best I have ever read. I enjoy reading things that feel REAL to me. Who wants to read a book where all the emotions and stories behind it are completely fake? I think you can almost tell when there’s no real emotions behind the words and when there is.

When I write blogs about my life, there is completely 100% real emotion behind every word. It’s all heart, no fake…and I think that’s what real writing is all about. What do you think?

P.S. Sorry about the length of this blog. I will try to make tomorrow’s shorter…but no promises.

So here goes another day in my blog and I sit here, completely oblivious as to what to write in my blog. You would think after so many days of doing it, I would have thousands of ideas ready to pour out of my fingertips and onto the…typed page? Nope…..I have kept a notebook beside me and half the time, I am still no better prepped for my daily posts than I was before I started all this.

The other day on The Daily Post, they were asking, “What’s your muse?” and I skipped over that prompt because I don’t know that I have one. I mean, I do have inspirations in life but aren’t they speaking of something that helps you to write? To pour out your heart and soul? Well…I’m not sure I have THAT sort of muse.

Most of the time I log in, read my subscriptions and click on “Add new post” and then stare at the blank page, thinking…..”What do I do now?” Especially this last week. My last few LONG posts were done by basically just typing the first thing that spilled out of me. As I looked back and read over some of the posts I did just out of nowhere, with no real preparedness, I am kind of shocked and surprised. They actually seem to be decent considering I just typed and didn’t even stop to think how well they were turning out.

But then again, the best poems I did when I was younger weren’t the ones I spent a lot of time working on but the ones that just flowed out of me from start to finish until completion. So maybe the trick to writing for me is not over analyzing it and just to WRITE.

It’s a scary feeling sitting at my computer and not having a clue as to what I will write that day. There’s also this great feeling of exhilaration whenever it’s completed though. This great sense of pride that I have it in me to come up with something out of what felt like nothing.

I still want to carry my notebook with me and keep account of ideas but in the meantime, I think I will also embrace the anti-preparedness that is part of myself. Sort of turning a negative into a positive, right?

{January 25, 2011}   Thoughts on Writing

I’ve decided to start a special “journal” for me called “My thoughts book”. The idea came from many different places, such as my friend Allison and people on WordPress, and I am now going to try to put the suggestions to some use. I’m going to keep a notebook with me at all times(or attempt to) and use it to put thoughts, ideas and dreams in it. Thoughts I have during the day that I think I would like to put in my blog, ideas to do with my blog and in my life and Dreams that I have and want to remember.

I always seem to catch myself during the day thinking “Oh, this would be good to put in my blog” and then by the time I actually DO my blog, I never remember it or at least don’t remember it enough to do it any justice. Therefore, I believe this may help me in my quest to write better posts and maybe work on my organization skills as well.

“Anyone can become a writer. The trick is staying a writer.” ~Harlan Ellison

THAT quote is so true. I have been told before that I should consider writing a book because I’m good at writing. Honestly, I believe maybe 1 out of 100 posts I do are actually any good. Most of the time my mind is such a chaotic mess that once the thoughts hit my fingers and are transferred to here, they sound so amateur to me. I do like to write but I suffer from a fear that I seriously lack the dedication it takes to become a genuinely good writer. I KNOW that if I could embrace my inner love for writing then I could find some dedication but even then, I feel like I could maybe be good but I don’t know if I could ever be great. I suppose it’s a self esteem problem of sorts.

“True ease in writing comes from art, not chance, as those who move easiest have learned to dance.” ~Alexander Pope

Reading the quotes from some of these incredibly great authors leads me to believe that I’m not the only one who came to the realization that writing is not something that you’re just going to sit down and ALWAYS be great at. I guess even the best have to work at it and delete, rewrite,delete, rewrite. It may surprise my friends to know that I erase and redo my blog posts ALL the time because I never feel they are good enough. Must I always second guess myself? I swear that I am NOT a perfectionist, at least not in other things in my life. It’s just when it comes to writing, even if no one may even read it, I want it to be done right or not at all.

“Start early and work hard. A writer’s apprenticeship usually involves writing a million words (which are then discarded) before he’s almost ready to begin. That takes a while.” ~David Eddings

Thanks Mr. David Eddings, which I must admit I have no idea who you are. This quote and all the others came at the right time. The Daily Post was completely in sync with me today. I don’t know how it knew about my inner turmoil with writing lately but somehow it knew and it really helps me to see that what I struggle with is the same as what every writer seems to.

When I started this writing every day challenge, I had no idea that it would effect me this way. I wanted help with my procrastination and I wanted to prove to myself that I can challenge myself to do something really hard for me to do and actually DO it. Now, though, I feel like also by blogging every day I’m also forcing myself to use my brain again more than I have since I was in college AND also turning my “like” for writing into more of a “love” relationship. At times I admit, it is more of a “love/hate” one but nevertheless, it’s inspiring me to write more and I hope it will also help my writing get better through practice.

For all you writers out there, do me a favor and comment if you read this. I want to know what are your opinions on writing? Do you find it difficult at times? Does the difficulty make it worth it more when you are successful?  And if you have read any of my other posts, answer honestly, Do you think I have the ability to get better and actually hone my skills into becoming a writer?

et cetera
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