For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to be a writer. Right now I am doing marketing and ghostwriting for clients and I enjoy it. But at the end of the day, when I finish writing the story for my client, someone else’s name goes on that book. And it is okay because I am learning so much. But I am so thrilled to tell you that I have my first byline with my name on it…which brings me to my first article published at HelloGiggles.
I had an idea about a month ago for an article that talked about how dating during an election–specifically this election–was a pain. My friend and fellow writer, MK, insisted that I “pitch” the idea to publications. But I put it off. It was a combination of being afraid of rejection and just not wanting to write anything about this election. But then MK forced my hand. Thank goodness she did because HelloGiggles picked it up.
Listen, I would love it if you read it. If you are on election coverage overboard, don’t worry. That’s not the thrust of the piece. Because in the time I took putting it off, my feelings of dating during an election actually changed. This is not a piece about the election or anyone’s politics. It’s how I learned a great deal about dating and myself through the recent political happenings. It’s meant to be lighthearted.
If you do click and read, thanks so much for your support. Feel free to give me any feedback. I can take it. You just reading it would mean the world…and if you feel like sharing it, that would be amazing.
It’s something everyone talks about. It’s the word my friend has tattooed on the back of her arm. I love the song “Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee.” I love to sing it and I love watching it in Sister Act II. Happiness is a feeling and it can be fleeting but joy is supposed to sustain us. It goes deeper, down into the marrow of our bones, so even when we feel weakened by the sorrows of life, our backs bent with pain as we weep, that joy is there, living and breathing in our bones. For that reason alone, it is a hard concept. How can this be? How can joy exist in this world?
But recently, I saw pure joy in action.It wasn’t a tattoo or a song (which are great in and of themselves). It was a dog at the beach. Her name is Brownie and I sat on the huge piece of driftwood and I kneeled in the outrageously cold Pacific Ocean so that I could photograph her joy. Then I just watched.I’ve seen happy dogs. I’ve owned them. But Brownie at Cannon Beach was no longer a dog. I observed her for the whole half an hour she ran up and down the beach, dug up wood from the sand, chased balls, swam. She was no longer a dog but a lesson. Here was joy. Complete joy.It was simple. It is simple. It is simple for a dog who does not know certain words–diagnosis, cancer, surgery, pain, death, loss, grief, illness, radiation, chemotherapy, disease–to be joyful. But Brownie knows other words. She knows sit and lay down. She knows stay and heel and come. But at the beach, Brownie’s owners did not use those words. They unclipped her leash silently and watched her go, watched her fly.She was blessedly free on that beach and she was also joy incarnate. So I have to wonder, after much thought, if there is a connection between those two big ideas. Can joy be experienced without freedom? Can freedom exist without joy? And what is freedom? Because Brownie was free and yet she was not free to bite humans or other dogs. She was not free to swim and swim and not return. There were parameters and yet she did not feel them nor mind them because she was joyful doing the things she could do–swim, fetch, dig, chase, all kinds of things. And I can tell you from watching Brownie, she did not feel horned in. Not a bit.It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Years ago, I spent weeks digging into Galatians 5:1, finding every sermon and commentary I could on it. Christ died so that we might be free but was I living that way?
After Brownie’s leash was unclipped did she stay still and sit beside her owners or did she look at the beach they brought her to and when they told her, “Have it,” she did? Was I having at it? And if I wasn’t (I wasn’t) then I was living as if two lies were true: Jesus did not complete his job on the cross if he died so that I might be live in freedom or Jesus did complete his job but it did not matter to me. I did not care.
Intellectually, I can spot both of those as lies. My heart though…My heart. Sometimes it sees the beach and takes off at a sprint and sometimes worries, anxieties, fear of failure leave me on a leash does not exist. And on that leash, there can be no joy.I am completely free and yet just like there are things Brownie cannot do, even with her freedom, there are things I cannot control. I cannot control other people or their reactions. I cannot control the diagnosis a doctor gives. I cannot even control large parts of my own illness. But I am still free and I can still know joy, even when I someone I love waits for results on a scan, even when another person goes into surgery. I am free to fail with the gifts and passions He’s given me. I know joy in Him, even when it is hard, even when I want to swim and swim and not return, even when I want to bite someone, because He has given me freedom to do a thousand other things on a beach on a slightly overcast day about 45 minutes outside of Portland at Cannon Beach.
What are your thoughts on joy? And don’t you just want to dig alongside Brownie?
One. What should one do in Portland? Anyone live in Portland? Yeah, so what’s that like? And if someone is to visit, where must she go? Asking for a friend. Haha.
Two. I love Sangrias. In Mexico, I feel like they add limeade because they are fizzy (which I will somehow someday replicate here in the states). I enjoy a cocktail now and again but this summer with super aggressive food as medicine, I cut way back to water only for drinking any time of day or night. At Influence, Bex, Faith, Cassie, and I went to a/my only favorite restaurant in Indy: Bakersfield. Because I love their Sangrias. At this point in the week, I would like one again. Please know I am writing this in the evening though it is being posted in the morning. I do not have Sangria and eggs. Although I am sure Sangria would be delicious with anything. Bonus on my Instagram:
Five. You wouldn’t waste a prayer on my family’s health…in that a couple people I love very much have some very serious health situations going on. Would you pray for their fear and anxiety and also healing…whatever needs to take place. ‘m linking up with Darci, Christina, Natasha, April, Karli, Amy. Talk to me. Visit the Peony Sponsor:
Is it gone? All that inspiration and creativity? Has it been sucked out of you for whatever reason? Maybe you should make a pro-con list like Rory Gilmore. Maybe you should just quit. Maybe this, maybe that. Maybe who knows what.
Coming from a writing background, studying it in school, some really smart people say that Writer’s Block exists and some other smart people don’t believe in it. I do know that creativity ebbs and flows. I do know that sometimes taking a break is good.
Blogging Burnout is a bit different than Writer’s Block. Some people start a blog just for fun and it stops being fun. No judgement here. Some people love fashion or cooking and the blogging comes from there. There’s so many different ways to come at this blogging thing so this may not apply to you at all. But if you happen to be a writer and blogger…
Here’s the thing I know about Writer’s Block. Keep writing. Push through. We all need breaks and breaks can be good. But don’t stop. The more you create, the more creative you feel. It ebbs and it flows and if you can accept it and play in the sea anyway, then do it. Sometimes you’re frolicking around in the surf. Sometimes you’re being pulled out by a riptide. Sometimes you can’t find a shell in the sand to save your life.
Just do it. If writing is a calling for you, then keep going. Take care of yourself but keep going. Because if writing is a calling, then stopping because of Writer’s Block? Waiting for a lightening bolt of inspiration to suddenly strike you? That feels no better than being blocked. Sometimes we have to search out that inspiration; sometimes it comes to us divinely like a message in a bottle. It cannot always be predicted. But just like we cannot predict sickness, we can eat healthy and take care of ourselves to avoid it. So surround yourself with things and people inspiring to you. Keep a journal. Take photographs. Do something creative just for fun. Anything.
Please know I am reminding myself of this right now as well. Sometimes, it is just not possible to push through for any number of reasons and I empathize with that. I’ve gone through some tough seasons with my family…where I lost the words. Usually though, for me personally, I can only say that I am a better human when I am writing so if I am not writing here not her, I better be writing somewhere else. That is just me though.
I took a few days off this past week in that I did not write here ever day but more like every few days. Because I am very upfront, I will say I have been battling Blogging Burnout a bit. I’ve talked to others and I don’t think I am alone.
I can only speak for myself here though. It’s a combination of a lot of things: difficulties in real life but also just feeling like this blogging thing, this blogging world? Well, I’ve been feeling a little closed in by it.
For example, I collect books and I love to read. Good writing inspires good writing. Lately, I’ve felt that the blog world has been very recycled lately. This is not a dig. Does anyone feel the same? I feel like I need my blogging shelves filled with great bloggers who are also searching for creativity. But I can’t control my Bloglovin’ feed and what people post so I’ll go into the world in search of new inspiration.
In the meantime, when it comes to Blogging Burnout and Writer’s Block, I’ll be here, playing and working in the surf, riding the wave and always looking for next one.
Have you ever had Writer’s Block or Blogging Burnout? What are your thoughts on it?