Preparing to Write

Do you know what November is? NaNoWriMo!

NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month. I had never heard of it until last year, and, then, I wasn’t in a good enough place mentally to really devote energy to a novel. I signed up on the website, got about 500 words in, and felt complete despair, so I gave up. This year is different. As I mentioned, I’m working on a book, and I’m going to take NaNoWriMo as my opportunity to give it what I’ve got.

The goal of NaNoWriMo is to have written 50,000 words by the end of November, which means you have a complete (or near complete) draft of your novel. I’m going to remain hopeful.

I actually drew out a table for myself in my bullet journal with my daily word goal and the actual word count I get through:

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When it’s broken into pieces like this, it doesn’t seem as daunting.

The past few days have showed me I am supposed to write this book. As Christians, we know we are supposed to use our gifts to help others and move the kingdom of God forward. I’ve never felt like I could do that until now.

If you’re a writer and you’re interested in participating in NaNoWriMo, you can sign up here. If you do, be sure to find me (Ink & Parchment) and we can cheer each other on!

Movin’ On Up

This past weekend, I turned 27. I spent it with family I don’t see nearly enough–that I haven’t seen in about 6 years!–and trying not to think about the things that are wrong with this birthday, instead trying to be hopeful. I felt like nothing has gone the way I had thought it should, the way I had planned, and I was reminded it isn’t about my timeline at all. In all honesty, I sort of felt like a failure.

And then… Today, I officially received a promotion.

It is my first ever promotion, and it will also mark my first ever full time job! I am truly excited for this opportunity, and I am so grateful.

A few weeks ago, I had a bit of a moment when I realized I get to tell people I am a writer for a living. Sure, I’m no J.K. Rowling (yet), but I get to create things for work. I never thought I would see the day that was possible. And here it is.

I am so glad the conversation that encouraged me to take this job reminded me about personal fulfillment. I am finding meaning in what I do for the first time in a long time, and it feels really good.

So today I am thankful. I am thankful I was reminded to think of personal fulfillment in accepting a job. I am thankful I took what I thought was a risk and accepted the job. I am thankful for my gifts. And I am thankful God has provided for me, always at the right time. He is ever faithful.

. . . . . .

What was your first promotion like? Were you excited? Do you find meaning in your work?

What I’ve Learned Living On My Own

If you have been with me for the past year and a half, you know I have been living on my own (well, with the 3 animals). While it’s not the ideal situation by any means, God has certainly used it to help me grow in my faith and as a person.

I’ve learned a lot about myself, and I’ve had the opportunity to change. I’ve become more comfortable in my skin. I’ve been able to look at what I am truly passionate about and adjust my goals.

So, if you’re interested in finding out a bit about what I’ve learned living on my own, take a look.

Have you lived on your own? What was your experience like? Did you learn anything?

The Thing About Goals

What does reconciliation look like? How long will it take?

I was asked these questions a few weeks ago, but they are questions I don’t have solid answers to. By definition, reconciliation means: (a) agreeing to an amicable truce; (b) resigning to something not desired; and (c) the process of making consistent or compatible. Of course, in the case of which I am speaking, Option C is the definition I am going with.

For the first time in a few months, I had the opportunity to express just that. I had the opportunity to say I have changed and that, basically, it means knowing our individual needs and being able to work through this difficult path together.

I was told it doesn’t seem our goals are compatible “still,” and there was clear frustration. And it was that moment I realized I had said my goals without really expressing them. I’ve spent a year in my own head, evaluating and re-evaluting my goals–for life, my marriage–but I had never had to express that process to someone who had been absent from it for so long.

Really, my goal is to make this work. However I need to. I know what “sacrifices” I am willing to make. I know what I need. I know myself a little better. But I’ve also realized other things.

My goals are flexible. This doesn’t mean I am a doormat. Instead, it means that my goals, and the processes, change as my needs and desires change. And that’s completely okay. As long as I do not feel I am being untrue to who I am, then having flexible goals is fine. For instance, I want to travel. At first, the thought process was something like: “I am determined to find a job abroad and experience that location.” Now, it’s something like: “Oh, I can go on vacation there and eventually return to the territory I am comfortable.” Same goal–traveling–different process to get there.

Ability to do what I need to do. This actually boils down to my anxiety and depressive symptoms. If I feel an episode is coming on, I need to be able to “get out”–of the specific situation, of the location temporarily, of my head–somehow. I need to have the flexibility to do this. I’ve also realized that it’s completely okay to travel, visit family, or go do something without my husband. I relied on him for companionship and to fulfill emotional needs, and I’ve realized it’s unrealistic to expect a human to fill a spot only God can. I need to be able to get outside with Belle or write when I need to or when I am called to.

My marriage. This is plain and simple: I want my marriage. This relationship overrides everything except my relationship with God. I let other people come in with their concerns and their help, and I stopped listening to my husband’s valuable input. Pick your battles. Not everything is worth having an argument over. Compromise will be important. But, all in all, this relationship will win over everything else in life.

Employment. I need a job. Not only is that a financial fact, but it’s a personal need. I can’t not work. Of course, I would prefer to be a writer full time. If he is willing to allow it, then I will, of course, take it. If not, though, I know what sort of jobs I want (and don’t want). I know what sort of sacrifices I can make in this arena. I know what I hope to be.

Really, these things–these realizations, these conversations–take time. And I’m not sure how much. In the end, I said I realized what I am willing to do, and that I will do whatever it takes.

. . . . . .

The next few days are big. I hope to be able to properly express my goals. I pray for the wisdom to be silent when needed, but to also speak the right words. I pray for the Lord’s guidance and grace. I pray for His favor. I feel ready, and I pray He finds me ready too.

Through all of this, my goal has been to get to know the Lord better. I have prayed more. I have found an amazing church and community of believers. I have written more, thereby working toward fulfilling the calling He has placed on my life. My goal has been to get to know who I am in Him.

My prayer is that this is part of that.

Believe in Second Chances

I had a friend tell me recently that part of having faith and trusting God is about believing in our prayers. I have been praying hard every day for what seems to be forever, and I have felt as if I am on the cusp of something. I had an opportunity to reveal my heart, and I can only hope and pray it made a positive impact.

I’ve noticed one thing throughout this struggle: my heart has not changed. Inspired by this realization, I wrote a poem: Second Chances.

I encourage you to remember we all change and grow, and that we deserve for others to make the decision if they want to know the “new” us. If they say yes, give them that opportunity because, chances are, they have also grown and changed. Second chances can be scary, especially because we aren’t sure what is going to come of them. But we have to step out in faith.

What second chances do you need to give?

Innocent

Ever since I can remember, my peers have called me innocent. And I don’t mean in the sense that one is either innocent or guilty. I mean in the “you’re so innocent, you’re stupid” connotation. The only person who had ever said it in even a remotely loving way was my husband. When he said it, it was usually followed by a kiss on the head or cheek.

As an only child, I was sheltered in some senses. My parents did not see a need to worry me unnecessarily about world events I wouldn’t understand anyway, unless I came to them worried. On the other hand, because of this status of only child, I was around adults more, and I was privileged with knowing and understanding more information quicker than my peers. That information, though, was usually not something important to my age group. Instead, I began early to understand appropriate speaking times, conversation skills, listening and feedback, observation…Basically, all the things I ended up going to college for.

I was also taught to never stop learning. To question. To be creative. To have childlike wonder and childlike faith. And sometimes those things are considered innocent and naive.

As I’ve been partaking in therapy, it is something I have been forced to deal with, because it is something that has greatly affected the way I view myself. As a writer, my way to “deal” is to write. So, I wrote a poem.

As I’ve been learning about myself and doing things I enjoy, I have come to one conclusion: innocence is okay. After all, the things happening in this world suck sometimes, so maybe we need a bit more childlike wonder.

Processing

Does suffering beget art?
Or does art beget suffering?
(Is there a third option?
Or a fourth?)

Writing is my way of...

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But maybe...

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I had to suffer
(somehow)
to get to this point

Maybe...

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God is showing me
how to use this gift
and I had to suffer
(something)
to listen.