Lately, I have been finding it hard to write. If you have been following my progress during NaNoWriMo you will have noticed there is not much moving forward the past few days. I am so far behind now there is little hope for me to end the challenge with a high word count. I’m even wondering if I will finish this novel no matter how many words it takes to get there.
For some people, when things are going wrong in their lives, or they are just having a down time, they write. It helps them through it. But for me … I can’t seem to think that way. The creativity gets put on hold by whatever is troubling me. I seem to fall victim to my emotions, and that’s not a good thing.
Remembrance Day is a special day for this family. Our dad is a WWII veteran and we are very proud of him, especially as he was one of the young Canadian soldiers who bravely liberated the Netherlands. For years, with Dad we have attended the ceremonies and the Veterans’ dinner following the special service. This year things got a bit confused and it was difficult for awhile – my week “on duty” so it was more upsetting for me. It got straightened out but left me with a troubled heart. That affected everything since I just can’t seem to separate myself from it all even when I get away for my week at home. I think if I were good at writing through things, I would have had a lot more done on my novel by now!
Last Thursday was my birthday. I won’t say which birthday, I’ll just leave that for you to guess if you want to. I’d been talking to God, telling Him (as if He didn’t already know, but I had to admit it) that I need help. I need help to get through this. The day before my birthday two friends called me, two friends totally apart from one another and whom I hadn’t talked with in awhile. Neither knew my of increased stress, both conversations were ministering to my need.
The next morning, November 16, a really interesting thing happened when I woke before my feet even hit the floor.
First, by way of explanation — There is someone who has a website or blog who chooses a word for herself at the beginning of each year, and challenges others to do the same. That word – individual to each person – is to be their word by which to live all that year. (I’m sorry I don’t recall who that person is, but if you know please remind me in a comment.) I had tried to come up with a word for myself, but nothing came to me. What is fascinating to me is that as I was waking on the morning of my birthday .. there it was! My word. GRATEFUL.
My word is GRATEFUL!
Now, let me tell you, that word makes a difference. The trick is to remind myself of it in the midst of disappointment, worry creeping in, feelings of inadequacy, frustration, sadness, depression raising its ugly head, anger over things beyond my control … GRATEFUL chases it all away!
Notice my word is not gratefulness, but I feel gratefulness when I am grateful. 🙂
Here is the definition for gratefulness:
- warm friendly feelings of gratitude [synonyms: thankfulness, appreciativeness]
The definition for grateful:
- 1: feeling or showing gratitude; “a grateful heart”; “grateful for the tree’s shade”; “a thankful smile” [synonym:thankful] [antonym: ungrateful]
- 2: affording comfort or pleasure; “the grateful warmth of the fire”
When negative feelings or thoughts come upon me, I remind myself that I am grateful or I have much to be grateful for and those negatives are washed away. It’s an attitude of gratitude that has to become habit for it to be most effective. (I did remember to thank God from my grateful heart for the help He sent me.)
Our Canadian Thanksgiving was October 8, USA’s Thanksgiving is coming up on November 22, so it seems quite fitting to have this word now. Try it out and see what it does for you.
My questions to you are:
- Do life’s struggles set your writing free? or does writing free you during times of stress?
- If you write when life hits you hard, how do you do it?
- Do you have a word to live by for this year?
Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings! 🙂
Oh Lynn I’m sorry to hear that things have been so tough, though I guessed as much. You’ve been much in my thoughts each day as I know how stressful it is caring for an ailing father. There’s not much else I can say except that you’re not alone. There are people who understand.
As for your question – no, when things get hard in my life, the last thing I do is write or anything creative at all. It is enough just to get by, to get through whatever it is that needs to be done. That in itself is a creative act. Sending you much love and hugs xxx
Thank you, Edith, for the warmth you send. I am glad there is someone else who understands the need to just get through something.
This morning I am writing again while I have a chance. I’m in a place where more detail is needed in the story and that sort of bogs me down. I simply want to say … “and she told her story.” 🙂 Gotta work on that.
I am glad you found your word MS. Davidson! 😀
Thanks, Erik. 🙂 Do you have one for yourself?
My word is HAPPY! 🙂 AS IN ‘HAPPY’ BELATED BIRTHDAY!!! 😉
Thank you, Erik!
(I think happy is a word that suits you.) 😀
All through life we experience ups and downs. Writing can help some people through tough times, but it certainly doesn’t for everyone. We all have our ways of coping. Setting writing goals shouldn’t end up making us feel like a failure even when we don’t meet them. Quantity is not all there is. Try thinking of it as qualty writing. 🙂
I know when times are tough it’s easy for others to quickly say, “You’ll get through it.” The truth is, tough times do pass, we all know that, but while we’re in the midst of them they seem to last an eternity. But this is just something we tell ourselves because we usually like kicking ourselves when we’re down.
How does writing help me when I’m feeling down? I start writing what I’m feeling about a certain situation, I moan and whine and hold nothing back. I write until the negativity has disappeared and I’m feeling better. The words I write, the sentences I form, transform upon the page.Sometimes I need to write quiet a few pages before that happens but I don’t give up until I ‘m feeling better.
I’m sorry that you’re having some struggles now but the important thing, the thing that makes me know that you will not let this keep you down for long, is that through your faith and your ability to see the gratitude in your life, you are able to rise above these things that are holding you down.
Laura, thank you so much for taking time to share like this. It means a lot to me. 🙂
It is interesting to me that this week is going very well. There is less stress here this week, and I am writing more again on my novel. Thanks for the reminder about quantity vs. quality writing.
I like your method of writing through the tough times. I have thought about doing that and many years ago I did a few times, but it always seemed too revealing or something. Maybe that is just what I need, though. I can always burn it or delete it later if not wanting to keep what I have written. Maybe something will be worth saving for a story later, who knows?
Thank you for believing in me, and for your encouragement.
I’m glad you’ve found your touchstone word. Gratitude does lighten our hearts and minds.
Yes, thanks, it really does make a difference. 🙂