Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Writer Girl: Fear and Fearlessness

Day 4:
"The only real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes."-Marcel Proust

 As I continue to write daily trusting God to give me something to write about, I hope I can inspire and encourage others on the way. I do find from past attempts of trying to become more creative that, very similar to my walk with Jesus, I am "simply A BEGGAR trying to show other beggars where the bread is".
I came across the guidelines for a writing contest the other day and decided to settle in and work on an entry, another attempt to cement this "hobby" as a lifestyle.   At the same time, I am going through a support group called "Mending the Soul," a group that helps me work through various types of childhood traumas that I could not seem to figure out how to navigate how faith in God helps me to move past.  One of my assignments is to write about a particularly painful experience from my past. I "somehow" worked on a story about a most unlikely candidate given my past - my father. The piece was very therapeutic personally and therefore a perfect candidate to help me to stick with the re-writes that were ahead. This is the story I was going to submit to the contest.
Well it turns out that the requirement for the short story entry is that it needs to be a fictional work. I sighed, knowing that fiction is not what I "do". I prayed silently: is writing fiction something I have closed myself off to or do I just really stink at it, plain and simple (I think it is the latter!).
As a result of this support group, I have been thinking a lot about my childhood. I remembered that I loved to write and always longed to have one of those diaries with the little lock on it-something about having these secret thoughts that my parents could not know really appealed to me. We have of course upgraded the term "diaries" to "journals" and I guess given the age of reality television, we no longer need to hide the words behind locks.
I remember vividly my dream was to become a playwright. This probably stemmed from a couple of school plays I was in and the whole idea of writing the words that people speak (side note: my husband says to me sometimes when we are arguing 'why don't you give me a script so I know what you want me to say?').

My elementary school had a creativity fair every year where all forms of writing and art were eligible for submission. I remember sitting down and constructing a play called "Torn between Two Lovers" based on a song from the 70's - I was in 3rd grade. I assure you I had no idea what the words of this old song meant. I was incredibly sheltered as a child, barely allowed to watch television and very limited music access other than what my parents wanted to listen to. Lord knows what the judges of the contest thought when they saw the title of my entry. I can't remember the details but I remember the play was based on an episode of "My Three Sons" - I had a crush on the oldest son, Robbie- where he and his girlfriend were going through relationship troubles. I also recall the play had 5 or 6 acts complete with stage direction, having become a "pro" at how plays were structured through my 2 experiences dealing with scripts in my school plays. Diligently I worked on this project, convinced that the judges would be amazed at my plot and flow and character development.
As the deadline drew near for entries, my friend Brenda was lamenting about how she wished she had something to enter into the contest. I began encouraging her to try writing her own short story assuring her that I would assist if need be. She began basting me with compliments about how I was the writer in the friendship.  Somehow by the end of the conversation I agreed to write a story for her to submit. The story was about a resourceful alligator -that's all I can recall. I vividly remember how I cranked it out in lightning speed and even included an illustration of the varmint - oh I draw now too? About a week later, the results are posted. Somehow my brilliant play was overlooked in the standings. However, the alligator story got an honorable mention. My friend received her first writing credential! God's witty way of teaching me not to cheat?

I think about this now as I fight with myself as to whether I really can write fictional short stories. I know that my preferred style of writing is more inspirational. Now to be fair, I have come across fictional work that is incredibly uplifting. I think I might be wound too tight into some kind of box that presupposes inspiration only comes in a certain form.

Perhaps I could free flow better in my "weak spot." One of the exercises in a book called "Drawing on the Right Side of Your Brain" has the student turn a piece of art the opposite way of how it would hang on a wall (a.k.a. upside down). The theory is that your brain will begin to focus on shapes rather than the literal interpretation it perceives when looking at a painting straight on. Once our visual guard is down, we tend to focus more abstractly. In that same vein, perhaps I might experience the same outcome were I to take a chance and write fiction. What's to lose? Fear. What's to gain: fearlessness!

Priming the Pump:
Begin to write a game plan for how you will research other writings around your topic/experiences that you wish to write about

Write 100 words OR write for 15 minutes (set a timer to help you focus and whatever you get down on paper for 15 minutes let grace hold you – well done!)

To Purchase "Writer Girl"  or my other Faith and Creativity Resources:

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