This week has been a difficult one for me in that I'm learning to focus all of these things about myself into my own writing. I'm still working on other authors' work, but finally, I'm pulling those things from my life, so I can go where I want to, as I develop my own writing career further.
A writer and co-author friend of mine told me I had to do a couple things:
1. Answer this question: If you were taking a trip on a plane, and had to choose one book or author, what would the book be? (Wow. That is a very difficult question for me. Also, she said to exclude the Bible as this is an essential book to all Christians.)
2. List all of your favorite books (of all time.) Number them from favorite (number 1) to least favorite of the favorites. (ha) Go with your first instinct and don't agonize over it. (Boy, does she know me, or what?)
I have to admit to you right now--I have maybe a thousand books.(First step: Admit your illness.) I am not kidding you. I did give hundreds of books to a church library and also quite a few to schools. (I'm a book reviewer since 1998.) This was not easy for me. One of the books I let go of was instantly the pastor's favorite, and since he is also a dean of students at a local Christian university, he is influencing a whole community there with this book. (I may have to buy that book because I did love it, too. Drat.) My therapist, (I mean, my friend,) tells me I have to distill from my life, and my collection of books, the things that are in common with all of them--those threads of passion.
At first I looked at these books and thought, "These books are about as different as Cajun food is from baby's pabulum--A through Z! Ack, I'm a mess! (There are people who agree with this--about me being a mess.) But then, the thick smoke started to dissipate, and common threads appeared--strong, clear and bright--and they ran through my entire soul. I saw them and it was amazing to me. And what I saw, I liked. I liked it in the books I loved, and I liked it about me. I thought that I was all over the map with my favorites and my habits, but I'm not, really. Not only did I have a false view of myself and beat myself up for having those loves, I had no confidence to embrace those true things in myself. I did not give myself permission to love stuff that was uniquely mine. It's no good, I told myself. In coming to this realization, I even began to appreciate what other people liked, or had interest in, and to appreciate their loves and passions. That was them. This was me. And sometimes I share a lot more with people than I thought possible--certain loves or appreciation. It's sweet.
I think wrapped up in this exercise of my soul's passions is a realization that I must bring these threads into my life every day to be whom God intended for me to be. If I do this, I will discover the happiness that is in my life, even on a bad or sad day. We rob ourselves of joy if we do not keep these threads running in our daily lives.
Ok, so what? you say to me. How does this apply to me? Here are the threads to keep running constantly in your life (and mine) that I have discovered:
1. Have a sense of curiosity and feed it.
2. Keep inspired.
3. Help someone else.
4. Do something you are good at.
5. Read. (Easy!)
6. Don't watch so much. Do something.
7. Love what you do, and if you're not loving it, find a way to get rid of it.(This is only in what you do. Just say no.)
8. Exercise. (Your body, mind/creativity and spirit.)
9. Face up to your fear(s). Meet them head on and stare them down. Call in back up in the face off (I think God is big enough for that role for me, but it's ok to have friends in the trenches with you.)
10. Believe in what God already knows about you--and embrace it. It is what is true.
11. Stay close to your family, friends and those people who are positive to you. (Limit the poisonous relationships or set boundaries.)
12. Follow your heart whenever it is something good--don't follow your temptations, evil or unethical, immoral impulses. Discern which is which!
Hope these things help you as much as they are helping me in learning to be happy with living in my own skin. As a writer I have stories to tell and I want to tell them my way. After all of this time to find that I'm OK to be who I am is a great freedom.
1. Margin: Restoring Emotional, Physical, Financial, and Time Reserves to Overloaded Lives by Richard Swenson
2. Make a Name for Yourself: Eight Steps Every Woman Needs to Create a Personal Brand Strategy for Success by Robin Fisher Roffer (I know, I know, for women. Guys, suggest a book for you in the comments?)
3. 9 Things You Simply Must Do to Succeed in Love and Life: A Psychologist Probes the Mystery of Why Some Lives Really Work and Others Don't by Dr. Henry Cloud
4. Boundaries: When To Say Yes, How to Say No by Dr. Henry Cloud and John Townsend
What are some of your greatest obstacles in carving out your writing life?(And if you say "my day job" I'm going to argue with you.)
Crystal Laine Miller is a...
Freelance Christian writer and editor who enjoys motorcycles, golf, trapshooting, music,the outdoors with dogs thrown in between the pages she reads, edits and writes. She's also rescued a few cats in her day. Married to an ER doc, they have four sons. Life is always on the edge with grit and joy combined.