Rip off the mask, tear down the walls. Show the world your beautiful self!

Posts tagged ‘Sasha’s Journey’

September 18, 2015 Gratitude: When What We Need is to be Needed

The Universe Always Comes Through

I’m a firm believer in the Laws of Attraction. The Universe will always bring exactly what is needed, though quite often it isn’t exactly how you might have envisioned it. Whether we realize it or not, we are putting our wants, desires, hopes and dreams out there every day and though we might not see all of the big ones manifesting, if we pay attention, we will see a multitude of small ones.

I couldn’t tell you which of the many requests I’d put out there was answered yesterday, nor how I’d asked. What I do know was that when yesterday’s writing session was interrupted by a friend in need, it wasn’t long before I realized that at some point, I’d expressed a need to be needed. I feel both honored and grateful that my schedule as a writer and freelancer allows me to be there in those rare but beautiful moments when a friend reaches out, seeking what small comfort I might offer, but I know I’m the one who’s truly blessed because I’m being allowed to be needed. So many of my friends and family members are much like me and rarely ask for help so when one of them does ask, it’s something really important and requires attention at the moment of the asking, otherwise, the asker will just pull back into themselves and try to muddle through alone. As I worked on this post, Pandora chose to play this song and as it was so appropriate to what I’m writing, I am sharing it with you.James Taylor – You’ve Got a Friend

Don’t think it gives me joy when someone I care about is suffering. Of course, I’d rather see them not have to go through a painful experience. But if it is necessary for their growth to struggle a bit and they can reach out to me to help them weather the storm, I can only feel grateful that time and circumstance aligned so that I could.

Sure, we all have our own share of struggles and those struggles not only make us stronger but give us new tools with which to face future obstacles. Just as we crawl before we walk, we face bigger and bigger obstacles in our lives so we can receive or even create the tools we’ll need to make the next challenge that much easier. Imagine trying to fight a forest fire with a garden hose because you hadn’t gone through the experiences necessary to acquire a fire hose. Life is like that too. Anything we do gets better and stronger with practice.

I look back on how I wrote when I was a kid, then as a teenager and, more recently, when I started this blog 6 1/2 years ago. So much has changed, not only for me personally, but for the way I put words together. The only way I got here was to put hundreds of thousands of words together in an infinite number of ways until I learned what worked and what didn’t. That’s not to say that I’ve got it all down, but the practice I’ve already had makes what I do going forward maybe just a little less like drek and more like literature. It has certainly encouraged me to keep trying, even when I’m taking my first novel apart and reassembling it, losing some of the old pieces and inserting quite a few new ones.

Maybe I’m not quite achieving the aggressive goals I set for myself, but the four chapters my friend Candy challenged me to complete has now grown to 11 completed and a twelfth in progress. (what that means is, I figured out which of the original fifty-odd chapters I wanted to go next and cut and pasted it under the heading “chapter 12”). Admittedly, the initial challenge to get my butt back in gear came at the end of July, and that, in fact, is when I got the first four chapters done, so seven more in a month and a half isn’t exactly breaking any records, but forward progress is forward progress, and now I’m setting my own goals even if I have to revise them because I was too aggressive for right now. That doesn’t mean that four chapters a week won’t be realistic the further along I get. If I get frustrated, I look at page count instead and see that I’m almost 80 pages into a 342 page book right now. Again, not bad as long as I don’t dwell too long on how long it’s taken me to get this far.

What I’ve gained over the last few weeks may not be earth-shaking, volume-wise. But I’ve gained consistency in sitting down to work on the project. The time I spend in a sitting has grown from about an hour to well over 2 lately (when I’m not interrupted, of course). Better still, I no longer have to argue with myself about sitting down to write, be it a blog post for me or a client or editing Sasha’s Journey. I just allocate time every day to write something, anything, even if it’s pure garbage. (I actually revised Chapter 11 3 times over the last few days until I got it somewhere close to acceptable so I could move on). In fact, I’ve been getting so focused lately that I often forget to turn on the background music. That may or may not be a good thing as I tend to be significantly more self-critical when my internal editor is not otherwise occupied.

Once again, I’ve wandered off the track a bit, but interwoven between all of the words I’ve put on the screen tonight is a single theme: Gratitude. The Universe really does hear our requests. It may not bring them to us in the form we imagined, but it brings us what suits us best and helps move us forward.

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for the opportunity to give of myself.
2. I am grateful for the friends who teach me by their own beautiful ways to be more giving, kind and compassionate.
3. I am grateful for the progress I’m making and though it will never be easy, I’m no longer having to fight with myself to move forward.
4. I am grateful to one, special friend who flat out told me to stop allowing my fears to get in my way. Even if I can’t identify them, I know they’re there and anxious to get between me and my dreams. Only I can thwart them.
5. I am grateful for abundance: love, friendship, progress, tenacity, determination, joy, health, happiness, harmony, peace, philanthropy and prosperity.

Blessed Be

I invite you to visit my Facebook pages at https://www.facebook.com/SheriLevensteinConawayAuthor?ref=aymt_homepage_panel and https://www.facebook.com/HLWTAccounting . Please also drop by my website, http://www.shericonaway.com and check out my Hire Me Page. I’ve created these pages as a means of positive affirmation and would be very grateful if you’d “like” them or leave a comment! Thank you!

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July 29, 2015 ADD and Me: Every Day is an Adventure

A New Day Dawns and With it Comes Epiphany

For the last few days, I’ve been making real progress editing/revising my first novel, tentatively titled Sasha’s Journey. There have been highs and there have been lows: days when I knew just where I was going and allowed the story to take me there, and days when it was a struggle to put or copy and paste words on the page. But when all was said and done, I sent the requisite four chapters to my butt kicker and prepared to move on to number 5.

For years, I’ve known that my brain leads two separate lives. The analytical side wanders easily and must be pacified with music in the background, preferably something recognizable and with words so the part of my brain which is easily distracted has something to play with while the rest of it works. Conversely, when I am in that creative zone, I need silence, or as silent as this place gets with fans spinning to keep me from sweltering and cats doing the kitty 500 up and down the halls or snuffle-snoring on my desk. But it wasn’t until today’s very productive editing session that I finally realized my analytical side is multi-faceted as well.

After months of using Pandora for the gym or meditation, I wanted some music last night and turned on my Loggins and Messina station. It is, to say the least, nostalgic, bringing back the comparatively carefree high school days long past. Without thinking about it, I clicked Pandora’s ‘play’ button again when I sat down at my computer this afternoon.

After the requisite scan of email (mostly junk) and visits to Facebook and LinkedIn, I closed Facebook and began working on Chapter 4, music still playing in the background. A couple of hours later, not only had I reassembled pieces from two of the previous chapters but added quite a few words not previously seen in the first two iterations of the novel. I’d also gone through the previous 3 chapters, deleting extra spaces, adding or deleting words and correcting a few glaring errors.

Lovin’ My AHA Moments

It wasn’t until I was emailing those chapters that it finally hit me. My struggle with the editing process was so simple. It is a combination of analytical and creative efforts, and as such, my ADD brain needs to rewrite the rules. This hybrid state of mind is easily distracted because of the analytical effort required to rework the creative brain dump into something which moves at a reasonable pace, maintains some sort of continuity and holds my attention (if it doesn’t hold mine, no reader will be drawn in either). At the same time, I have to rewrite some of the chapters and determine the order it should really follow, and not the convoluted, creative meandering that came out of the initial writing and the first revision. In order to stay on track and really feel what should come next, there has to be a balance. My creative side must not be allowed to overrule the analytical, practical side. But neither can the analytical side ignore the prompts from the creative side.

No wonder the very idea of editing even a single chapter gave me the cold sweats! Until I figured out how to make the various aspects of my brain cooperate, I was destined to wallow in a cesspool of fears, discarded ideas and self-doubt. Even now, trying to write this post, I have the music playing and still, my mind wanders to Chapter 5. I know what scene I will use, but am fiddling with various ways to introduce it and move it along. I’d like to think I’ve gained enough experience over the last couple of years to know when I need to just let my brain rest and the ideas percolate. By the time I sit at my keyboard tomorrow, creative me will have a very good idea of where the chapter will start and the direction it will take. It will be up to analytical/creative me (that newly recognized hybrid) to put the pieces together in an interesting, cohesive, grammatically sensitive manner. (as the story involves teenagers, the dialogue can’t be too grammatically correct or it won’t work).

Days like this when both the story flows and I learn something new are somewhat rare, but I have a feeling these epiphanies will be flowing more freely in the days, weeks and months to come…and so will with words and the stories they’ll tell.

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful to have finished the first 4 chapters, and know where chapter 5 is headed.
2. I am grateful for the support, love and understanding from all of the sunflowers in my life.
3. I am grateful for the company of my cats who ensure that I take breaks and don’t sit too long at the keyboard.
4. I am grateful that I can now truly see the completion of my first novel, as well as short stories both started and swirling in my brain waiting their turn to gush from my fingertips, my second novel, and of course, Frederick the Gentlemouse.
5. I am grateful for abundance: love, friendship, productivity, work, play, dancing, writing, reading, learning, teaching, growing, health, peace, harmony, prosperity and philanthropy.

Blessed Be

I’d appreciate your taking a moment to visit my Facebook pages at https://www.facebook.com/SheriLevensteinConawayAuthor?ref=aymt_homepage_panel and https://www.facebook.com/HLWTAccounting . Please also drop by my website, http://www.shericonaway.com and check out my Hire Me Page. I’ve created these pages as a means of positive affirmation and would be very grateful if you’d “like” them or leave a comment! Thank you!

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