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Sunday, April 15, 2012

Writing Through Hardship

One dear writer friend was tested in Biblical proportions, all within one year. A major move across the continent, new home...then fire on one side, massive flooding on the other--the worst her country recorded in 118 years.

A daughter with a history of miscarriages who became pregnant with twins, another child with legal problems not of his making, a husband diagnosed with cancer, and often no way of getting him to the hospital because of the flood. Before life settled, she ventured toward becoming the female epitome of Job. Loss of spouse, far from her children, precarious health--surgeries of her own, and left alone to contend with the aftermath.

If she can recoup, anyone can.

Tragedy leaves us fragile, often shattered emotionally, physically, and spiritually. We doubt our own judgment, not just the benevolence of a caring God. Our beliefs are tested and our self-confidence is in ruins. This is the point where we draw on the love, devotion, and core beliefs we have invested over the years in our friends as well as ourselves.

Another author friend lived for nearly two decades with psychological abuse, with a spouse who said the most vile things to her. Victims of this sort bear mostly invisible crosses, and few see even those because abusers generally estrange their victims from friends, loved ones, anyone who is a positive influence. Why? Control. It feeds their sickness. Quite often, the more we give them, the worse our situation.

My next statement will cause friction from some of you, but before you lash out, think. There are two types of victims--willing and unwilling, yet each of us (and yes, I speak from experience) has chosen to be where we are at any given time. Doesn't matter why. We have opted to remain in relationships, to allow someone else to make us feel less than we are. The wonderful thing is that we don't have to put up with their abuse. If you are a victim, take back your power. Your life and your writing depend upon it.

Maybe you're a victim of yourself. Bad decisions, gluttony or its opposite--starvation. Maybe you abuse alcohol, drugs, relationships, or something else. Perhaps you abuse your time. We each have the same number of hours in a day, yet some folks accomplish more. Sometimes it's because they are better at managing their time. Often it's because they refuse to allow others to sabotage them, to suck the life out of their day. No matter your situation, you can still choose to stop the behaviors that keep you from living a full and happy life.

One thing that is certain about our lives, as well as our planet is that spring follows winter. Seasons of hardship are followed by those of promise. So hang in there. Shore up all the good you can, and you'll have that and more when winters strike.

How? Start with yourself. Louise Hay states that how we begin our day is how we live our day, and how we live our days is how we live our lives. Why not start each morning with self-love and extend that to everyone we encounter? Tell that person in the mirror: you are a wonderful writer, a magnificent being. That beats negativity any day.

If you can't reaffirm your creativity, your very existence, as positive, who can? After that, express caring to others, even if to a pet, your neighbor, a stranger you meet. Smile. Find reasons other than those of hardship to motivate you.

Knowing what to write isn't always a writer's downfall. Not knowing how to say it is. Not believing in ourselves enough to express ourselves authentically, to be our true self, is what keeps us from our dreams and goals.

More on developing the author's authentic voice on May 1st. For now, let's get in shape. Let's discover what makes us tick, what thrills us, what we need to avoid, and what we need to embrace.

One of the funniest things, as a writer, that I hear people say: I could be a great writer if I only had time. Sorry, but…bullshit. And when they offer up THEIR ideas, as if I don't have enough of my own? That's when I rudely double up in laughter and have to turn away.

C'mon, readers. Suck it up. Claim your life. Begin your adventure, and share it with others.


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