On Writing

I haven’t made quite the progress on my book that I hoped I would. Having a full-time job and writing is hard, ya’ll! But I am farther along on it than I was on the novel I attempted to start last November, and I count that as improvement.

I am not giving up, though. I will persevere. I will keep writing. Because I think it’s a message that other girls need to hear.

I have been publishing with an online publishing company, Coffee House Writers, for the past year, and I have learned so much. I quickly progressed from a writer to being an editor to being a COO of the team, and I love everything about the group. It has helped me become a better writer, and it has helped me plan out articles. If you’re interested in joining such a group, shoot me an email at digitalinkandparchment@gmail.com or comment here, and I would be happy to provide you with information.

Not only did it help me rediscover my passion for writing, it also led to a bit of healing. I was able to find my writers voice again, discover the things I want to write about, discover my passions, and say things I never thought I could. It has helped to shape me into who I am now.

That is why I am thankful for not only the abilities and passion God gave me for writing, but also that He led me to Coffee House Writers at the time I needed it most. I can honestly say that I would not be as sure and as motivated as I am today about making writing and blogging a career if it were not for this team.

Our passions and abilities were given to us for a reason, and God has a purpose in leading us to opportunities where those passions and abilities are used. I encourage you to think about and be thankful for those opportunities. Because there may come a time when those opportunities help you more than you thought they did.

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!

I Want Your Advice

I’ve decided to begin writing a book.

As I mentioned, I was sort of bullied in high school and teased because I was viewed as “innocent.” And if you remember anything about high school, it’s not cool to be innocent or naive at that age. That innocence and curiosity has been questioned on a number of occasions, and people have thought it is an act and that I was playing dumb for attention. It really affected the way I viewed myself, and it’s taken a long time for me to be okay with who I am.

So I want to help other girls.

I’m beginning the journey of writing a book on this topic, for girls who are like me. I want them to know it’s okay to be that way, it’s okay to question, it’s okay to not fit in. I want them to know they are not alone and that they will come into their own. They will survive and they will flourish.

But to begin, I need your help. I have a few questions that I would love your input on. You are welcome to comment below or email me, whichever you are most comfortable with: digitalinkandparchment@gmail.com

  1. What advice would the current you give to high school you?
  2. What is one thing you wish you would have known in high school?
  3. Were you teased in high school? Why? And how did that affect you?
  4. Have you grown in your faith since high school? How?
  5. How has God moved in your life since?
  6. What do you think high school girls need to know that maybe they don’t?
  7. Any other comments.

I love the community in the blogging world, and I hope you are willing to share just a bit of your story so we can help others.

 

 

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?

Telling Your Story

If you’ve been a follower of this blog for any amount of time, it’s likely that you’ve seen it go through quite a few changes to this point. Seasons, if you will. Like I’ve gone through.

When I started blogging, I wasn’t really sure where I was going with it. I’ve known since college that I want to write, and blogging was sort of my “introduction” to getting “out there” (whatever that really means). But it was more of a public journal, with the only message being “I’m here” and maybe the attempt at online community. As I progressed in my writing, as life happened, and as my seasons changed, I began to feel that wasn’t enough.

When I started taking my writing more seriously, though, I wanted the message to be “you’re not alone,” but I was suddenly afraid. It meant telling my story, and I wasn’t sure if that was “safe.” I wasn’t even sure if I should. After all, who wants to hear my ramblings of my struggles? What I have gone through and continue to go through isn’t near as bad as what other people have suffered through. I’m not even that good.

This change was another opportunity for the enemy to come in and tell me lies. He wanted to take my writing, he wanted me to believe his lies about my abilities–that I was incapable, that my words would never matter–and not Truth. He had been doing a number on my head for years, and here he saw another opportunity. I’m a Christian; I shouldn’t struggle with anxiety. If I have anxiety, it means I don’t really have faith.

But then I encountered a podcast episode from Proverbs 31 Ministries–the podcast that actually jumpstarted my decision to make this blog a true part of my life. And do you know what it was on? Yup–anxiety. And there is one message in that episode that really hit home: seeking outside help does not make you any less of a believer.

And there it was. The truth I so desperately needed to hear as I was on the brink of an episode.

I have been seeing a therapist, but I had felt shame in the need. I have toyed with the idea of medication for my anxiety because it causes me to miss valuable hours of sleep. My therapist even provided me a letter for Belle, assigning her officially as my Emotional Support Animal. But the guilt welled inside me. And suddenly, here I was, listening to other Christian women say that seeking help is good.

This made me realize that maybe other Christian women need to hear the message that they are not alone, just like I needed to hear it.

What’s more is my church began a sermon series a week later called Crash The Chatterbox, and the first message on insecurity laid right on my heart. The minute my pastor said, “who told you the gifts God has given you will not make an impact?” I felt the  tears begin to well up and my soul felt ripped. Because that was exactly how I had been feeling for a while.

The thing is that “you’re not alone” is a strong and much-needed message in the lives of Christian women–heck, in the life of any woman. We all seem to think we are alone, that we are the only ones who suffer, that no one can possibly understand. We feel others will judge or shame us: “they live such happy lives, they couldn’t understand”; “if I tell them about my situation, they’ll tell me how it’s my fault”; “I can’t reveal the truth because I’ve put on a mask for too long.” When the truth is those “others” have probably also faced similar circumstances and we just didn’t witness it, and they are probably just as desperate to share their story to someone who would listen.

Besides, how do we have the Bible? Because Jesus’ disciples decided to tell their stories. And their stories impacted the world.

I’ve learned a valuable lesson: telling your story is important. It doesn’t matter what it is. Do not compare it to others’ stories; your story is your own. And your story is special because it is yours. God’s impact on our lives was never meant to be a secret–every time He does something, we are to shout our praise and give Him the glory and point others to Him. And how else do we do that than by telling our stories?

Math Lessons

My dad is really good at math. Like can-do-it-in-his-head good. And of course he is–he’s an engineer. I, on the other hand, am not cut out for the subject. And it shows when I have to calculate grades.

When I was little, daddy would try to help me with my math homework. It usually didn’t turn out too well. I didn’t understand the material so I would get really frustrated, and then he would get frustrated with me because he didn’t understand why didn’t understand. But there’s one particular homework that I still remember.

In elementary school, every class would learn to count to 100 and then we would throw a big party. Well, of course, after we learn to count to 100 we continue on. I had brought home this homework, moving on from just 100, but little me couldn’t wrap my head around what came after 100. To me, it was 200. My logic was simple for a child: 2 is after 1, so 200 must come after 100.

My dad kept asking me: “what comes after one?”

“Two!” I would yell.

His response: “No.”

And I just kept repeating that 1 does come after 2. At some point, I ended up beginning to cry, and I stomped up to my room and curled on my bed. My mom explained to my dad that I didn’t understand what he was asking because my logic was different.

Honestly, I don’t remember what happened in between, but I remember daddy coming up to my room and the lightbulb eventually going off in my head.

. . . . . .

I passed a sticker on a truck today for the 101st Airborne and, though a particular person passed through my mind first (for unrelated reasons, really), this instance of doing math with my dad followed quickly. And for some reason I just thought: “if he had said what comes after zero, maybe I would have understood it quicker.”

My point is that we all see things in this world differently. We come to our conclusions in different ways. Sometimes we can take a “shortcut,” and sometimes we can’t. Because we all have different ways of understanding, it means we have to be patient with others when they don’t see things the way we do or understand things as quickly as we might.

I recently wrote a post about how we cannot place our expectations on someone else. This is similar–we cannot expect others to comprehend or process in the same manner, or even the same pace, as we might.

Sometimes–like in the above instance with my dad–we need to walk away from the situation, take a breather, and then come at it from a different angle. It may take time to come to a solution. What’s important is that you are eventually on the same page. It doesn’t necessarily matter how you get there.

Daddy has taught me a lot of lessons, and he may not even know it. Heck, I didn’t even realize this was a lesson until this afternoon. And then it hit me. He may not have meant to do it, but he taught me something that resounds through the years.

. . . . . .

I don’t know why this came to me so suddenly today or why it resonated with me so much. I do feel, though, that it came at this time for a reason. This knowledge wouldn’t have served me well as a child because I wouldn’t have understood it, and it wouldn’t have been relevant even a year ago because I hadn’t grown in the way I have now.

Maybe it came to me now because God has a plan for it.

And that’s the thing: God has solutions for every problem we encounter. But sometimes we are too busy yelling “logic” and “reasoning” and “reality” at Him to really hear what He is trying to tell us.

Maybe what He is telling me now is to be patient and start simple. And for once in my life, I am content with that solution.

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?