Guests Bloggers at The Write Practice Inspire!

Happy Tuesday, everyone,

And a happy birthday shout-out to my daughter-from-another-mother. Older Son’s girlfriend turned the big 1-7 yesterday. (This post was supposed to go live on Monday, but I forgot to click the SCHEDULE button after I set the date.)  She’s been around four years already, something I still can’t believe sometimes. Luckily, she’s a very nice young lady and there is no real drama between them.

I’m always  a bit sad watching an Olympic flame go down. Being a lover of athletic ability in so many forms—especially since God did not put superstar status coordination into this writer girl—I  so enjoy living vicariously watching the grace and power of those who are. (I get to the tennis courts whenever I can. Luckily, I can hit a few good flat shots–I so can’t do any spin on the ball–and let’s not talk serve.)

I will NOT  miss listening to the rather biased coverage and talk involving American-Russian rivalry re: medal counts, hockey games, etc. That’s just not me, and the Olympics is a place where the world supposedly comes together, right? (Just sayin’…)

Sochiolympicflame

Image credit: Flickr via Wikimedia Commons (Pretty sure I did this properly. Feel free to let me know in the comments or privately if I didn’t. Thnx!)

Having my life back from the TV is always nice (barring Law & Order SVU re-runs—those suck me in almost every time; Modern Family is starting to get me too and I just walked away from auditions for The Voice). Indian Wells, the ‘fifth slam’ of tennis starts March 6th…Dancing with the Stars is about four weeks away… There goes Monday night…again.

Back on track: I haven’t written about writing for a while, nor do I plan to now. What???

I did, however, come across a couple of great posts from The Write Practice, to whose posts I subscribe. I recently moved from lurker to commenter/participant and am finding a very supportive community. (Writers can be like that, cheering each other on, helping each other out, paying it forward…you know.)

In lieu of musings by me, I figured I’d share an exercise prompted by this post, Let Me Be Your Muse. Writer/blogger Joy Collado of the Phillipines suggests I do nothing but write in response to what my character(s) have to say about their feelings relative to me and getting their stories into some kind of existence. Let me tell you, some of mine are pretty dang frustrated, lol. Here is a very short excerpt of the fruits of that effort:

These are one of my POV character’s thoughts. She’s a tad annoyed waiting for me to get it together, to find a direction for her story, and to get things right between her and her hubby.

“So you’re letting me be the muse, huh? It’s about time you stopped trying to figure out my story and started committing to putting down something concrete about it.”

From there my character pretty much outlined her story and gave me a great framework to draw upon. My next step is to do the same with the other POV characters. I’m hoping I don’t choke myself (again!) with all the ideas that come from this kind of brainstorming. That’s what happens: I get overwhelmed with all the info and can’t seem to find a start point to make functional use of it.

Becca Puglisi‘s guest postPurging Your Writing Fear spoke to me too. From that I was inspired to jot down two key affirmations. Those are on my nightstand. I’m seriously considering fancying them up a bit and framing them, so that they’re that much more visible to me on the day to day.

Here is one of them: I am can and will make _____ and _____’s story into a viable suspense/romantic novel. (It’s that suspense part messing with me. New territory.)

So, what are your thoughts on these topics? Have you tried Joy’s technique or written down affirmations/goals the way Becca suggests? Do you feel it’s been helpful? If so, how and/or why?

Thanks and have a great day!

Joanna

Far-Reaching Words: Impact and Resonance

Hope all of you had a wonderful weekend. (They’re never long enough :)) Thought I’d share some thoughts appropriate to a PEM (Positive Energy Monday) to start off the week!

Not too long ago, within the space of two days, at least two people told me how different things I said to each one resonated with them.

One person went so far as to tell me I’d “saved her life” when I told her she might feel a certain (negatively-perceived) way about a given situation for the rest of her days. She felt that freed her, as if those words gave her permission to feel the way she still does this many years after the inciting string of incidents.

Another person was dealing in anxiety over another situation and talked to me a bit about it. She also was very clear about ‘not feeling ready’ to address the issue directly by taking certain suggested steps she knew—from her own experience—would be helpful. She said I asked her, “What do you want for your daughter?” For whatever reason, that simple question worked at her end.

Funny. Flattered as I was by both people I couldn’t pinpoint either occasion. Of course I was very glad someone was moved or touched by something I said.

This also brings me back to something I know I’ve shared here before, and frequently quote, when chatting with others who hold back. This applies to writing, interactions with others, etc.

I attended a workshop where multi-published author Jane Porter spoke. Ironically enough, what resonated with me tied into this very topic of touching others. I was sitting in the front row, close enough to see her eyes suddenly appear glassy-wet. Her voice turned very passionate as she told us to never underestimate the power of our words and who we might reach by putting them out there.

Makes me think too, of those occasions when I was on the receiving end of those types of comments. My favorite came from a playground mom whose daughters have frequently shared classes with both my sons since kindergarten.

We were talking about exercising and how to make time and/or stick to a routine. This woman stated her husband HAD to be out the door at six-thirty every morning or he wouldn’t make it to work on time. Since she was a stay-at-home mom whose husband worked long hours, she needed to get in her daily run in before he left for the day.

“I had to be back before my husband left for work. My shoes were next to the bed, and my feet were in them before my eyes were open.”

She told me that while we waited for our kids to exit school when our older ones were in third grade. That was six years ago and I think of her every time I’m not in the mood to reach for my sneakers. She motivated me to move then and still does. Whenever I get the chance, I remind her how her words impacted me.

The most powerful (and probably life-changing) thing someone said to me came from a coworker at my first job, someone close in age who is an occupational therapist too. He is Asian, brilliant and an excellent healthcare professional. During what was—to this day—the lowest time I ever experienced in a work setting, a time when I doubted every skill I ever had and was even asking for employment applications at the toll booth I drove through daily to get to my job site, this man saved my professional life.

That day, I was getting ready to change rotations and feeling as if I’d been demoted. Another co-worker and friend, who had only four months more experience than I was going from a first-level supervisory position to the next. Due to lack of confidence and resultant mistakes I made from being too nervous to even ask questions, I was lucky I had my job. (My director liked me.)

I was supposed to be giving report to this guy who would be taking over my outpatient cases. He waited until no one else was around and very quietly stated, “You have better skills. She just knows how to be organized and look better.”

I went into that new rotation with a different attitude. Very soon, I was in counseling and attended some groups where people with similar issues shared and networked. Within a few months I achieved a first-level supervisory position. Nine months after that, I left that hospital to take on a department of my own—a one-person show that I thoroughly enjoyed for the next five years. Interestingly enough, my first day in that new position I had to make a pair of splints that I’d goofed up terribly in my previous job—badly enough that my Asian friend was told to take over and make them for me.

In my new job, all I did was drape the material over the patient’s hands and let both those splints take shape on their own. First try was a perfect fit. Blew my mind how that skill was there; the right setting allowed it to simply flow. (Maybe a topic for another post?)

Your turn: how have you impacted someone and/or how have they impacted/inspired you?

Wishing everyone a wonderful day,

Joanna