Having been asked my strengths in my writing, I imagine the whole list of my weaknesses. I have decided to look at the areas I excel at with writing to keep my mind on the positives. There is a time to explore where we need to improve by all means. When I begin a project, I want to be in the best frame of mind that I can be. This is the way I overcome my inner critic that loves to mess with us all. Undermining our confidence, making us edit as we go or making us just plain give up, the inner critic is a tricky little bugger. Looking for the areas I excel, in my mind, means that I am better at somethings and not at others. I don't envision that long list of things that I am weak at or all the mistakes I have and will make throughout the project. The only thing before me is knowing I will hit my expectations in certain areas.
The process of writing is so solitary. I can believe anything I want about my writing. I could believe I am worse than any other writer out there or my characters have no depth or any one of a hundred other lies. The delusions are the job of that critic. I shut that critic up. Every time I write, the urge to self-edit or rewrite things as I go never appears. I excel at deciding to follow my heart and mind as I "vomit" the story onto the page. This is the only way I have been able to get the full story written.
Writing by the seat of my pants is another of those positive things. With an idea, beginning and end in mind, I sit before my laptop and just go for it. Do I end up where I am going? Not always. Do things unfold as I imagined? Not usually. Do I surprise myself during the process? Absolutely! There is nothing more exciting then writing along and getting to the end of the scene then thinking "I never saw that coming". I let my characters talk and write their own stories. Not every person can write this way or wants to "allow" the characters to "speak". I am excellent at it.
The last thing I would like to touch upon is my characters. Having let many people read my different pieces, I am told that I capture the characters well. Their dialogue is great. And my stories really are character driven. It is a great pleasure to close my eyes and really see as my main character sees. The visions contained in that moment shape the story. I step into their bodies and think as I imagine they do. When writing young adult novels, this is important. No teenager wants to read about a 15 year old who talks and acts like she's 25. It doesn't work. For me, the key to this skill is reading. I devour book and book from great young adult authors. I see the depth they instill in their characters and the actions they take. Excelling in this area is the single most important thing to me as a write.
It has been a joy to share with you the areas I excel at as a writer. To look at my weakness now would only stunt the progress on my current project. Weaknesses are best enjoyed during editing. Silence your inner critic and write your story as best as you can. It is time to continue with "vomiting" my story onto paper.
This post was inspired my the Merry-Go-Round Blog Tour. The tour includes more than 20 other authors who share their experiences with each topic. September's topic is "What are my writing strength?". Check back tomorrow for the strengths of G R Colorado.
Monday, September 10, 2012
September 9 - 15, 2012 is National Suicide Prevention Week
Since that is this week, I thought I would take a few minutes to devote to this topic. It is very near and dear to me as some people may know and others may not. I can offer a little insight into my mind then.
Nine years ago, I felt like I was at the bottom of an abysmal place. The top of this pit had no light showing. I was scared and alone. No one answered my cries. I was nobody. As was normal for any given day, I drove to several locations and took care of work and personal errands. On my way home one afternoon, I veered my car towards the cement pilings under the overpass. A car honked and brought me back to reality and I swerved to avoid the crash. My mind raced with the anticipation of ending the pain inside. The light at the end of a tunnel of fear and terror. Several days later, my husband was in the car with me and he had to right the steering wheel of the car several times. It was time to seek help. But, was there hope?
I was determined that I was not sick but the doctor started talking about bipolar disorder. The stigma surrounding that diagnosis was unnerving. I yelled at this doctor that I was not bipolar after listing my shopping addiction and my angry outbursts and the desire to die as well as strangle other people. Medications and several therapy sessions later, I was released back into my life to tough it all out.
Fast forward three years and we look in on a similar situation. Despair and depression are rampant. I hit a brick wall of a psychotic break. That very evening, I tried to strangle my husband and then planned to kill myself. After many tears and struggles, we made our way to the ER and the inevitable decision to sign myself into a residential facility. I learned many things during those several days. About myself and the way I let others treat me. Patterns from my past emerged and I had to deal with the demons of being sexually assaulted as well as physically abused during my teen years. All tough things to meet head on yet I did. I had to stop working because any stress caused breakdowns. My anxiety soared to new levels. There was no way for me to concentrate on anything for more than a few moments and interacting with people was impossible.
For many days, weeks, months and even years after, my husband still has to hide knives and throw out sharp objects from time to time. These demons follow me around as well. I have found the best therapist a girl could ask for and learned the most important thing in this fight with depression and suicidal tendencies. There is hope. Every day you wake up is a win. Each breath is one more than the last. Loved ones can smile and interact with you another time.
Here's the thing that many depressed people fail to understand. Suicide is selfish. Plain and simple. You end your pain but think of the wake of destruction behind you. Parents, significant others, children, siblings, other family members and friends all mourn the loss of you. Each day they get up knowing that they will never be able to share that story with you. The children you left behind will never have a dad or mom to support them when they graduate from high school or get married. You will have grandchildren that never know you. This is the hope! That you can know that you will be missed. No one elses' life will ever be the same without you. As you fall down into that pit another time, look for your hope not the easy way out. These people who will miss you, they will much rather help you out of that pit. A gesture of their hand to pull you up and along is what they offer. Hope is what they offer.
For those of you who wonder, this is an extremely tough topic to discuss. This is the first time I have ever opened my mind and heart for all to see. I still struggle every hour of every day. I function at a sub-par level and hate every minute of it. Please be respectful! Thank you!
Please visit the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention to educate yourself and see how you can help those that you love.