A Writing Woman’s Space

Inspired Virginia Woolf’s “A room of her own.”

Image for post
Photographer: James Futrell of Strictly Digital Photography Creative Director: Saschia Johnson Model: Tessa Dipalina

What genius and integrity it is for female writers today to write with all the criticism they receive, not just from men but also from other women. Not just about writing but for the way they choose to live.

We as women are expected to follow suit in terms of patriarchy. What does this mean? Well, when you first think of this, you think of a male-run household and a stay at home mom who knits and raises children. And yes, this is still very much an idea we are fighting against. But today our fight has evolved. Women are now leading their households on top of what they were already doing. Even with our forward movement, women still underhandedly and blatantly bash other women for staying home to raise children instead of taking advantage of a world where women can work. Stay at home moms bash working women for not being there for their kids in a world where suicide in children is far higher than it’s ever been. I’m going with the cliché here and saying raising children is hard. It doesn’t matter what path you choose in life. How is it that patriarchy has a hand in this? According to Webster’s dictionary, patriarchy in a broad sense is control by men of a disproportionately large share of power. Men have been in power for so long now that women are gaining power, they are living in a way to prove that they are as capable as men, rather than living and working in their own natural state. I say natural state as in an acceptance of what they want to do, not to overpower but because this is precisely what they want to do. This working to prove comes with its own sense of superiority toward other women. Which in turn, makes stay-at-home moms feel as if they must prove to both men and working women, they are in fact pulling their way.

Ok, so that’s for moms who write. Now let’s brush over the idea of writing women who do not have children. There’s this strange and quiet awkwardness among women when you don’t have children. It’s like women feel as if they are less because they don’t have children. To be honest, I’ve never seen or heard of a woman bashing another woman for not having children, but there’s this sense of failure that looms when children aren’t created by a certain age.

That is just two of the biggest adversities’ women face within our community of women. There’s significantly more but let’s just stick with these. So, we see that among women we have vastly different ideas on what womanhood looks like. As writers, it’s our job to face adversity. It’s our job to approach the elephant in the room and then talk about it. So, let’s talk about it.

Image for post
Photo by Caleb Woods on Unsplash

According to Virginia Woolf, the women writers of the past wrote even without a room of their own. Jane Austin without a room of her own wrote an entire novel in secret. She hid her passion to write from even her servants. Do I think we are still fighting for the space to write in peace? Absolutely. Why? Why would we be fighting this in a world where women are allowed the space to write and pursue their passions? Why would a female writer keep her passions hidden under her successful job or her ability to keep a clean house and have well-dressed children walking around? Because as a woman, with the ability to sit undisturbed at the kitchen table, we are still shamed for the lifestyles we choose regardless of the rights we are given.

I’ve felt it. I’ve heard over and over about how my writing isn’t a real job and that I have nothing going for me. Or how as a novelist, I’m not a real writer. I’ve been shamed for the way I cook or don’t cook. I’ve been shamed for the way I tend or don’t tend to my husband. Pish, I’ve been shamed for going away for two weeks to focus on my writing. This is why we hide it. This is why women hide their passions and write in the closet.

Image for post
Photo by Sai De Silva on Unsplash

Today, it is still a relevant metaphor when Virginia Woolf suggests that women need a room of their own. We need the space and support from fellow women. Not only from men. Not only from our parents but from other women. I’d like to end with a quote from Virginia Woolf.

What genius, what integrity it must have required in face of all the criticism, in the midst of that purely patriarchal society, to hold fast to the thing as they saw it without shrinking.” -Virginia Woolf

Sources

Woolf, Virginia. “Austen-Brontë-Eliot” In The Critical Tradition, pp. 602–10

Photography Credit: James Futrell from Strictly Digital Photography

Follow Jayne.Press on

Medium: jaynepress.medium.com

WordPress: Jayne.Press

Instagram: Jayne_Press

Like and Follow me on Facebook: Jaynepresswriter

Overcompensating From Fear of Loss

For the Conscious Writer

Image for post
Photo by Radu Florin on Unsplash

Impending loss has an aura of grief around it. It stalks the ones closest to it and it has not one ounce of sympathy for our very fragile emotions. -Saschia Johnson

When writing a character who feels like they are losing the one they love, they should overcompensate. They might think that going above and beyond will help them keep what they love. This isn’t just in romantic relationships. This is parenting, friendship, and loss, maybe even a job someone is passionate about.

We hang tight to the things we love, it’s natural for us. Some think it’s even romantic. Whatever it is, if your character is losing the one they love, it’d feel right and believable to have them overcompensating in some way.

All you need is one safe anchor to keep you grounded when the rest of your life spins out of control. -KATIE KACVINSKY

In what ways can our characters overcompensate as human beings?

They can become overly controlling.

When we feel like we are losing control of the things we love, we tend to try and control everything around us. It makes this illusion of having more control over the loss.

Some things in life cannot be fixed. They can only be carried. –MEGAN DEVINE

They can become overly generous

They give. They bake and clean. They do other people’s work with a smile and an oppressed heart. They justify the oppression with the idea that this is better than losing the person or the job. They’d give the shirt off their back if that meant they’d be together for just a tad longer.

Image for post
Photo by Kari Shea on Unsplash

They don’t hold their love accountable

In fear of losing what they love, they allow things to slide. Over time this snowballs. They mention here and there that something isn’t right or that things need to change but there is no action behind it. Their boundaries become gray. Then they become doormats.

They can become overly critical and judgy

This is the opposite of the last one. Instead of being walked over, they become overly rigid. They don’t allow anyone else to replace their love. They don’t allow themselves to feel weak about losing their love which in turn makes them critical about others who show weakness. They turn their noses up in disgust at the mere suggestion that they may be weak to the situation.

Image for post
Photo by Scott Webb on Unsplash

They flee

Instead of facing a smooth ending. Instead of allowing things to end civilly, they run away from having to face an ending at all.

These behaviors can happen to any person. Even mature individuals who are dealing with losing what they love are changed by that loss. I say that because it would be a good idea to use loss in your story as a way to show your character’s growth from not being themselves for a time.

The reality is that you will grieve forever. You will not ‘get over’ the loss of a loved one; you’ll learn to live with it. You will heal and you will rebuild yourself around the loss you have suffered. You will be whole again but you will never be the same. Nor should you be the same nor would you want to.

-ELISABETH KUBLER-ROSS

source

A little bit about For the Conscious Writer

There’s different types of writers out there. I prefer to speak to the writers on an inward journey. I prefer to speak to writers who write to become better human beings and who write to survive this insanely beautiful and chaotic world.

Follow me on:

Instagram: Jayne_Press

Facebook: JaynePressWriter

WordPress Jayne.Press

Medium For the Conscious Writer

Too Tired To Work Toward Your Dreams?

Too Tired To Work Toward Your Goals?

I feel you

Image for post
Photo by  on 

You have dreams and goals. You have them laid out and your to-do list is jam packed. When you wrote the list, you were eager and excited. And now the excitement is starting to dwindle. You’re run down. You’ve pushed yourself too far. Now you’re paying for it.

You are tired.

This is when the most important thing is to finish your rest, then keep going. One thing at a time. One step at a time. You can do it. There’s no question as to whether you’re capable. We both know you are a strong and capable human being. The question coming up now, is whether you want you. And the answer is you don’t, of course you don’t. But you will do it. You will do it because your dreams and goals are waiting for you. Just like they always say, they aren’t just going show up on your doorstep.

So let’s talk about it.

Right now, you don’t have the motivation, but that’s a good thing. You know why? Because this is where you get to work on your discipline. Don’t make it a fight. Don’t make it into a dramatic affair. Keep going because you need the practice. You need to build up the stamina to carve away daily at your craft. You have to build up the skin to keep going at all cost. Once you build the discipline, you have one less thing to worry about because the work will be done. And soon, there will be piles of it.

Success is a matter of understanding and religiously practicing specific simple habits that always lead to success. — Robjert J. Ringer

So, it’s ok that you … Read More On Medium

Be Both Scared and Courageous

Be Both Scared and Courageous 

Because I believe you can.

 
Image for post
Photo by  on 

I’m scared of a lot of things. I’m afraid of being wrong and bringing people down with me. I’m afraid of starting over, I’m afraid that making money off my writing is going to turn me into an egotistical asshole. I’m afraid I’m going to die too soon, but mostly and above all else, I’m afraid I’m failing my babies.

I used to allow these fears to dictate my daily behaviors. I created unhealthy rituals based on fear. They usually involved me not showing up so I didn’t have to worry about getting things wrong.

Too many people are thinking of security instead of opportunity. They seem to be more afraid of life than death.
— James F. Byrnes

But then I realized that death was a lot closer than I thought. I realized that I could wake up one day without having ever lived up to my dreams, …

View at Medium.com

The Whole Artist

Can’t be seen in one piece of art

Image for post

Photo by  on 

When you look at an artist’s work, you can’t look at one piece and know the whole artist. One piece of work is just a bleep on the radar. Especially in today’s world. You can’t just look at one post, or one blog, or one short story, poem, whatever. You have to follow the artist. Follow them with the intent to understand where their work is coming from and for the most dedicated followers, where it is going. How is it evolving? How is the artist evolving?

We don’t know Leonardo da Vinci from just the Mona Lisa. We know him for his writing, his contraptions, his relationships with other artist and intellectuals of his time. We appreciate da Vinci for who he was entirely. Would he be so well admired if we didn’t know about him outside of his paintings?

All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

The point here is, show yourself. Show who your are outside of your art. You are not one painting, you’re an entire collection. You are more than one work of art. You’re a gallery. You are Picasso’s works before, during, and after his Blue period. That’s about……….

View at Medium.com

An Entanglement With Yourself

Are you tired of giving more than you getting? Are you straight up miserable in your life? It might be time to cheat on your lovers with yourself.

Image for post

Photo by Mathieu Stern on Unsplash

There comes a time in your life where you have to step back and look at the bigger picture. What is the bigger picture and how do you step back? How do you become an observer? These are questions to ask when you’re feeling like life isn’t going the way you’d like.

Photo by freestocks on Unsplash

When I step back to observe, I like to think about the decisions I make and how they will affect my future. I’m not usually an in the moment fuck up my future type of person. But don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy a little spice here and there. Now that I’m focused on my goals and I’m able to step back and observe, the things that may have fucked up my life in the past have become the things to propel me toward my goals. So how do you look at the bigger picture? First you have to know your goals. What do you want for yourself? What do you want to leave behind? Does any of that matter to you?

When thinking about these things it doesn’t matter how much you fucked up yesterday. All that matters is that in the present you are consistently trying to work toward your future. Working towards a future means a lot of failing until you get there. So, for me, as a writer, it looks like, today I will write 1000 words and I will not sleep until those words are written because I want to write novels for a living. Start making commitments to yourself. Start small and forgive yourself when you miss the mark. Then get back on track.

Another way to look at the big picture is to think about how your choices will affect your environment. Your environment impacts the paths you take to get to your long-term goals. Your environment is impacted by those whose opinion you’d most likely listen to. So, surround yourself with those you respect and support and who would do the same for you, not because you did it for them, but because that’s just who they are. So, you need to build and nurture relationships with those who are interested in you. I’m not talking networking. This is building valuable relationships with people that you’ll miss while they’re away from you. These are the people you invest in on your free time.

And what about those who drive you away from your calling?

It also means staying away from those who drive you away from your calling. Who are they? They are the ones who: ask too much of you even after you say no, don’t support or respect your calling, don’t respect your time, bring you to the point where you’re unable to function properly. Those are the ones you have to love from a distance.

The best way to focus on your goals is to get your goals to weigh heavier than anything else around you.

I had trouble with my temper in the past. Thankfully, with a lot of hard work I’ve learned to control my temper and walk away when I feel myself losing control. But when I’m angry there is no bigger picture. The only thing I can see is the thing that stands in my way. In those moments, I can’t see around it. Even mantras didn’t work for a while because when I reached that point in my anger, the mantras had no weight. They had no meaning. I say this because your bigger picture must weigh heavier than anything else. Your reasons, your values, your disciplines, they have got to be fleshed out so that when something tries to deter you from your goals, you can walk away and feel confident in that decision. And when you start getting confident in yourself, your life is little less miserable. For that moment at least. Then you have to go at it again. You might fail but that’s ok. You’ll get eventually. And your confidence will grow. And you life will become fuller because you’ll start making better choices for yourself and for your future.

 

Follow Me On Medium

Extracting Ideas From The Inside

Central sensitisation occurs in the synapse of the dorsal horn.

This is literally what a thought looks inside the brain. But when we think, this is not what we see. Today I’d like to discuss how we get our thoughts from conception into a place where we can mold them into a story.

Getting ideas from pure thought onto paper can be a complicated thing.

But there’s a trick.

The trick is….

to just start writing. And that’s it. You’re swell-come.

No, but seriously, that’s the trick, to start writing. Write the story without limits. When I start my story, I also use journals, maps, lists, brain storming, charts, Pinterest, worksheets, whatever I need to pull all the pieces together.

I think of this process in the same way Michelangelo thought of David. In the beginning, it’s a slab of rock or a mass of words and as a writer at some point, it will be my duty to carve away at my story until I set it free. The setting free of the story happens later. So right now we are building our slab of marble to have something to carve from.

While getting these thoughts on paper it’s ok to struggle. The process of getting my story onto paper is a lot of walking in the dark chaotic recesses of my mind. It sounds complex because it is a complex thing to do. So when I struggle, which I do, it’s important to accept that as part of this extraction process.

“A writer is someone for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.”
― Thomas Mann, Essays of Three Decades

Trust your own thoughts and ideas and give them credit when they show up. At this point the only important thing is extracting ideas from the inside of your mind. Stay open to your own ideas and give every single one credit. You can weed through it all later. Focus on making this a positive experience so you can get it all out. All your ideas and thoughts are worthy of acceptance.

And that’s it. Start writing the story. Write everything down without limits. It’s OK to struggle, and remember all ideas and thoughts are worthy of acceptance.

Writers challenge

Start and finish a short story within an hour. I find that I’m more forced to deal with the ideas I have when I set a time restraint. While writing your story, journal or use at least one other resource to assist in welcoming all your ideas.
Accept the story as it comes.
When you’re finished, sculpt and mold it into a short story. Then you’ll have one more piece to add to your collection

I also spoke about Why understanding the Creative Process is important   and What the creative process is Click the links if you want to learn more about the creative process

Links to sites that added to the creation of this post
https://backtoroots.community/clinical-corner-articles/2017/2/8/sensitisation-primary-adaptive-vs-secondary-maladaptive -for the picture

https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/tag/creative-process -for the quote

I can’t find where I learned this about Michelangelo so if someone knows please send me link.

Please Exist

There is a reason why you’re here

It’s to read this poem and to realize this poem’s existence would cease without you

It would be silent

A dead silence with the night air stuck in a place that never really existed

It would lack the chaos of us

Trees would fall into oblivion

I would fall into oblivion.

Without you,

there’d be no us

there’d be no poetry

You are the poetry

-Saschia

Cookies with a Side of Fitness

Sitting here outside the gym eating Milanos. I might finish the bag before I finish this piece. It’s the double dark chocolate flavor. There’s a lesson to be learned here. But I’m sure I already know it. The class starts in ten. There’s two cookies left and I should stop eating them but I probably won’t. I should take this all more seriously I mean my health is a priority as a mother. Ok I’ll leave the last two for tomorrow.

Signed,

A hungry breastfeeding mother