Use the Frustration

For the Conscious Writer

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I understand the frustration that comes with wanting to write. I understand that sometimes things don’t feel right. That frustration can cause a spiral. It can cause negative reactions but as conscious writers, it’s important that we focus this energy into our art and creativity. Use it in the story.

But first, encouragement! Because I know how that frustration can really bring you down.

Encouragement

You are a creative. You have boundless creative ideas that flow from the crown of your head to the tips of your toes. You bleed new ideas. You sweat stories that remain for centuries. You are here to listen, to observe, and to learn then to write it down. That may seem like an easy task, but it isn’t. Conscious writing is complex and layered and universel in ways that others will never understand, but they’ll want to. They will never know what you sacrificed to find these words. They will never know a lot of things you’ve gone through, and that’s ok. You know. I understand. So, let’s get back to writing.

Frustration is no fun

I envision tossing my computer on a regular basis. It sits between my heart and my stomach and bubbles over my entire body. If this feeling comes up with something I’m not committed to, I just walk away. But when it’s something I’m committed to (like writing), the tears well up and I push to adjust. It took time to learn to stay put even when I’m frustrated. But over time, I’ve learned a few techniques that help me use my frustration as an advantage rather than a hindrance.

What to Do With Our Frustration?

First things first. Figure out where the frustration is coming from. In the Harvard Gazette article titled Soothing Advice for Mad America, Dr. David H. Rosmarin explains that during the pandemic, frustrations are heightened and people are reacting with more anger than usual. Instead of reacting in anger, he suggests that we voice what really worries us about the things that make us angry. He suggested that,

we grow in our emotional strength when we admit and acknowledge [our] weakness.

So, the first thing to do is find the root to your frustration. What is frustrating you? What are you not getting that you wish or need to have? How can we fill this gap?

The second thing to do. Use your struggles to connect with other writers. Admit you’re struggling to writers. We are story machines, but it isn’t always easy and it’s important to admit that. In the same article mentioned above, Dr. Rosmarin said,

As attachment theory teaches us, what we really need is not to be strong, but to be close and connected to the people around us.

Connecting with like minds in a respectful manner is important me all the time. More important than I often admit. So, when I’m struggling I like to reach out for support. I appreciate the small group of people who have supported me through my struggles. Connecting with them mean more to me than the story

The third thing to do. Use what you have. Now that you’ve gotten to the bottom of your frustration, use that in your story. Use it in a poem. Use it as an idea for your next book. Journal about it.

This routine is what separates you from other writers. This is what makes you conscious and aware of who you are. I think the most challenging part of these tips for me is getting to the bottom of my frustrations. Figuring out where it is all coming from, but in the end it’s always worth it.

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That Kind of Night

The blankets, slept in. The air thick with smoke from the magical stuff that turns your mind inward, too inward if you let it. I wouldn’t know, I’m more of a bore. The stale sweat rubs me in every wrong way while I tell myself I’m there for some divine reason. A few drops of blood drip from the crown of his head. Flashes of sex. Flashes of nude bones and rolling hills course through me like biblical visions from above. I don’t dare ask. And here he comes with all the magic and an entire universe behind his eyes that a few of us are lucky enough to see. I respect you, is what I wish to say. I like you- like you, is what I wish to say, but instead I talk about Chipotle. I want him and he wants me but I want more. The stink of stale sex and that feeling of whether he’ll be there tomorrow plagues me enough without it. “Not tonight, okay?” And that was ok. And it was ok. Like it should be. But it’s not the sex that connect us. The sadness that sits inside him reaches the depths of hell and the arms he wraps me in feel like the sun and the moon. He is an entire universe I’ll only ever leave in body because my mind wanders towards him in the most sacred ways. So sacred, it doesn’t feel right.

Ecclesiastes

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I wanted to share a poem of mine that was published on Genius in a Bottle a publication on Medium that I really admire.

I’ve been going through a literary theory course through open courseware. (You can find it here) And I’ve learned so much and in such an in depth way. The last few articles I’ve read that were required for the lectures gave me some clarity on how I can incorporate the strong arms in my life and use them to propel my art rather than allow it to stifle me in any way. Please click the link the link to enjoy the full poem and to support our art.

Ecclesiastes

Am I but once
Am I left for dead
strapped head to a bed
chasing after the wind’s howls?
strapped to a life unplanned
but a life always wanted
it’s a yellow wood-left goes right
right goes left
As above so below so they say
I zippered, then tore, now I’m here

Now I’m……

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The Writer’s Den

Jayne.PressOct 22 · 3 min read

For the Conscious Writer

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Now when you first hear the writers den, you might think of Roald Dahl’s writing hut (which can be found here). A place where a writer goes to find solace so they can write novels, think, daydream, and nap. This is not the writers den I’m referring to. I’m referring to the writer’s den where writers are thrown to the lions. This is where their only option is to have faith.

There is a biblical story about a man of God named Daniel. I respect this story because so many times we roll over on our true beliefs or dreams or endeavors to bow to someone who doesn’t understand our vision. In this story, Daniel was demanded to stop with his religious practices of praying to God. Instead of having religious freedom, he was ordered to pray only to the king. Daniel, knowing his faith is where it needed to be, refused to obey this law, and continued to pray to his God. So, they totally saw Daniel pray and snitched on him to the King who was friends with Daniel.

So now, the king has to be a man of his word because he’s the king and it’s a written decree. When they bring Daniel to the king, he doesn’t waiver in his own belief. He stands tall for his beliefs and allows himself to be thrown into a lion’s den per order of the decree.

The king is friends with Daniel so the next morning, he runs with angst and worry to the lion’s den and finds that God sent an angel to shut the mouths of the lions.

The point here isn’t to question whether this story is true or if the lions were well fed before he was thrown in there. The point is that Daniel stood his ground in a time of great trial.

So, as writers, who are consciously writing (which means we are writing for more than just a story, we’re writing to grow) there are going to come times of great trial when it comes to your writing. People are going to speak ill of your belief and faith in writing. People are going to have great and logical reasons for you to stop writing, but you are going to be resilient. Like Daniel worked on and invested in his relationship with God, you have work on and invested in your relationship with your writing. Not only will you survive but you will have an even stronger ability to trust your work as an artist and as a conscious writer.

When someone mentions the writers den, I’d like you to think of it as a strong commitment to your craft. Not a place of solace away from the world, but a place in the world where you are doing exactly what you are called to do.

The writer must learn to accept that and trust that they are where they are for some reason. – Scott Myers from “Trust the Process”

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Sources

The bible https://www.biblestudytools.com/bible-stories/daniel-in-the-lion-s-den.html

When You’re Tired

For the Conscious Writer

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When you’re feeling like you’ve got nothing left that means you have just a little bit more in ya. -Saschia Johnson

I believe in rest. I believe that we shouldn’t have to oppress ourselves in order to be successful. I also believe in discipline and hard work. Which means there should be a daily writing goal that you’re carving away at. I don’t care what your writing goal is, you should be doing it even with your lids shutting.

As a conscious writer, it takes a different kind of discipline. It’s the kind of discipline that is only seen by other conscious writers. It’s doesn’t have the same return as showing up for 8 hours somewhere and getting paid for it. It’s personal. It’s between you and the page and it’s no one else’s business even if they did understand.

We have other disciplines like cutting the grass, washing dishes, laundry, and showering. But completing a small writing goal everyday doesn’t give you the same instant gratification as a task you can complete in one sitting. You’ve got to trust yourself and you’ve got to trust your writing.

An investment in knowledge pays the best interest. — Benjamin Franklin

As a conscious writer, you already know why you’re writing, to accept yourself, love yourself, learn yourself, those are your rewards. Yes, money is important. We need to eat and we need to pay the bills. The point is that when you are developing the discipline, it is not for the money, it’s for the discipline. And when you develop the discipline, you learn to trust yourself, not the money. At this point you’re patient, you’re wiser, and you trust yourself. Then take those tools and multiply them by writing daily over a long period of time. You’ll develop trust, confidence, discipline, self love, you develop clearer thoughts and feelings, better communication, patience, understanding and so on. It’s ok to be a conscious writer and make money doing it.

It’s not a conscious writer who writes simply to make money.

A wise person should have money in their head, but not in their heart. — Jonathan Swift

It’s amazing how quickly writing 150 words a day turns into a novel. It’s amazing how your thoughts mold and change from writing 150 words everyday. And the most beautiful thing about getting 150 words down everyday is that you begin to observe the world rather than be swept away by it. We so easily get caught up in problems that don’t take priority in our lives and in our own growth. Writing everyday changes us. It makes us see things differently. It challenges us. The world becomes less impossible through the eyes of a conscious writer.

What we really want to do is what we are really meant to do. When we do what we are meant to do, money comes to us, doors open for us, we feel useful, and the work we do feels like play to us. — Julia Cameron

It’s ok to be tired when you write. So when you’re tired and you feel like you’ve got nothing left to write, make sure you finished those writing goals. If you haven’t finished those goals, you’ve always got just a little bit more in ya.

Remember why you started writing.

Sources

https://www.forbes.com/sites/robertberger/2014/04/30/top-100-money-quotes-of-all-time/#368960514998

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Dear Author

A letter from your characters

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Dear author,

I am a living breathing human being. I’m not your show horse! I need thoughts and some external stimulation. I need you to give me something to solve or avoid solving by solving something else until I realize the true importance of what I was supposed to be solving. Those ah ha moments, I like those. When all the different things finally come together to make a bigger picture, it feels good. I’m not here to stroke your ego. I’m not here to gain you awards. I’m here to be like you in ways you don’t quite understand until you write in order to understand me better. Don’t change me simply because I point out your flaws. I heard Toni Morrison say the slave was important to the white man because it defined his freeness. So I ask that you don’t take away my freeness in order to know you are free. You are free to write me in worlds with clothes and people and situations and thoughts as you choose. You are in control of my story. You are in control of my ending. So let me be entirely myself. Let me be who I become in the unfolding of this particular story. Don’t just develop my thoughts, give me some way to share them. Don’t give me everything I could ever imagine with no internal dialogue. I want to think and to grow and to develop new perspectives. Don’t tell me why I’m here, give me reasons to be here.

Sincerely,

Your Character

Sources

Toni Morrison From Playing in the Dark: Whiteness and the literary Imagination in the Critical Tradition pg 1791

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Can literature Act as a Preparation for Inexperience?

Literature Theory

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Spoiler Alert Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White

I vividly remember when I finished reading Charlotte’s Web in fourth grade. I cried when Charlotte died. Her loss left me in a strange place where I was contemplating death for days. I also remember the day my grandmother died. These two experiences are not the same. The loss of Charlotte did not prepare me for the loss of my grandmother. There is no book that can prepare you for some life experiences.

Literature supports in experiences we are going through or have gone through. When I thought of death without the real life experience of losing someone, the understanding felt distant. It was something foreign to me that I wanted to grasp without gaining it through my own experience. I was left with a world full of uncertainty and hugged my mom a little tighter after reading it.

Trying to prepare someone for a new experience is like describing what an orange tastes like to someone who’s never tasted an orange. We can explain how to eat it and that the peel isn’t the good part. We can even tell them the juicy fruity part is on the inside, but we can’t tell them if they will enjoy it or how much they will enjoy it. They may even find a different way to eat it than we taught them. That’s how I feel about literature. It can explain what to do and give some insight on how to do it, but an individual can not be prepared for how they will feel in new experiences using literature.

I do believe seeing how characters react to an experience can suggest the right thing to do and it may even give some insight on how someone else is feeling. I don’t think literature can prepare us for how we will feel going through our own life experiences. I do feel it can help readers learn to use understanding and empathy toward someone else’s experience by seeing the world from another characters point of view.

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Unchecked Passion and Your Characters

“it wasn’t what I was resentful about that I needed to let go of but what I was passionate about.”

For the Conscious Writer

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“There is no passion to be found playing small — in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.” Nelson Mandela

Passionate characters can drive the story forward. Passion can drive us as writers forward and make us do things we never thought possible. In my last post Resentment and Passion, I explained that in order to help me let go of resentment, I had to change my perspective. (You can read more about it here.) What I figured out from changing my perspective is that it wasn’t what I was resentful about that I needed to let go of but what I was passionate about.

So, let’s talk about passion.

I said in that post I was passionate about mothering my children. It’s something I hold dear to my heart. The passion I have for mothering comes with intentionally investing in the relationship I have with my children. It comes with creating moments for them to engage in self-discipline and self-discovery. It comes with snuggles, tears, hugs, frustration and so much more.

So, when writing a passionate character these are the actions and emotions you want your character to engage in. But we can’t stop there. This is just a character with their passions in check.

A character with unchecked passion ultimately turns into a villain. One of my most favorite characters with unchecked passion is King Pin from the Marvel comic books. Creating a great character with unbridled passion should start with a checked passion that grows out of control. I think we can relate to those characters better. Which helps us to better understand the bad in this world.

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Unbridled passion is often brushed off and claimed as just mindless evil but that’s just not enough for us conscious writers. We need to understand. The answer to some of the most misunderstood villains is passion.

“If passion drives you, let reason hold the reins.” -Benjamin Franklin

How can we keep a character’s passion in check?

Take who or what they’re passionate about away, you might think.

Ah, but this is where you must know your character. Is your character mature enough to grow from that loss or will removing that passion will bring them into villainy?

The best way to round your character with a passion in check is to mature the character in other areas of their life. Give them a sense of something outside of their passion.

When a character loses something, they were passionate about and doesn’t have the maturity in other areas of their life, they should plummet into an existential crisis because they don’t have any other thing driving them forward. (Besides what you throw at them.)

As conscious writers, we should take note of that. If we want to be well-rounded writers, we must keep our passions in check. We should rule our passions, not let our passions rule us.

Some ways we, as real living humans, can keep our passions in check.

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Have hobbies outside of what we’re passionate about

Have healthy relationships with peers and family

Work to live don’t live to work or Write to live don’t live to write

Self-love

Understand that without your gifts and talents you are enough

Create things perfect, imperfect, doesn’t matter just create things

Invest in your physical health

Focus on growth and forward movement

Having passion is a good thing and a great tool. I think we should all invest in our passions. It might rule from time to time, but like Ben Franklin said, allow reason to reel you back in.

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Sources

https://www.inc.com/dave-kerpen/15-quotes-on-passion-to-inspire-a-better-life.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kingpin_%28character%29

Rest Rest Rest

For the Conscious Writer

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The work is always going to be there, you will not. It’s so easy in today’s world to get caught up in the over ambitious lifestyle. Work work work till you drop. I think discipline and hard work are both important things but not to the point that they become oppressive. Writing should add to your growth. It can bring you tears. It can bring you frustration especially when you’re dealing with internal conflict, but it shouldn’t oppress you.

In this world oppression is normal and being a slave to our thoughts and feelings is normal. As conscious writers, we are gifted the luxury of standing up for ourselves and confronting our true thoughts and feelings rather than ignoring them.

There are forms of oppression and domination which become invisible — the new normal. -Michel Foucault

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When writing becomes the bad guy, it’s time to step back and change your mindset. Remember why you write. Find another way to write. Find another way to tackle the problem. Just don’t let the act of conscious writing become your villain.

You don’t start out writing good stuff. You start out writing crap and thinking it’s good stuff, and then gradually you get better at it.
That’s why I say one of the most valuable traits is persistence.
― 
Octavia E. Butler

Writing can feel daunting. I have been feeling the weight of editing this past week. There were some tears and frustration. I wasn’t ready to quit, but I was beginning to doubt myself as a writer. There’s no room for doubt in writing. I reminded myself, I am where I am from hard work and determination. I had that mindset before I started writing, and I’ll have it till I die because it’s in my blood. Knowing this gave me no other option than to look for another way to tackle the problem. But that meant, I had to wait it out. I had to wait and trust my inner writer and let me tell you, that wasn’t easy. For me, waiting at a red light is fine. I don’t even mind bad traffic as long as I’ll still be on time, but waiting on my inner writer while I have bills to pay, that is tough stuff. I still tackled the novel. I still edited and reread the story to stay connected. Then I walked around the house, talked to myself, and finally realized half of my work had to be deleted. Which is good. Now I have solid ground to build from.

So, what does all this mean? You have to trust that your story will find a place in this world. Allow these moments of waiting to be moments of rest. Drink your go-to beverage and enjoy the journey. This writing job is the place where you should not be turned into a robot. Writing is a place where you let it all hang out in its own natural and restful glory.

Stay strong writers. We’re going to finish these stories.

Every person needs to take one day away. A day in which one consciously separates the past from the future. Jobs, family, employers, and friends can exist one day without any one of us, and if our egos permit us to confess, they could exist eternally in our absence. Each person deserves a day away in which no problems are confronted, no solutions searched for. Each of us needs to withdraw from the cares which will not withdraw from us.”
― 
Maya Angelou, Wouldn’t Take Nothing for My Journey Now

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Hanging On?

It’s time to let go.

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“Attachment constrains our vision so that we are not able to see things from a wider perspective.” Dalai Lama

As a conscious writer, it’s important to be able to let a story go. It starts during creation, even though you shouldn’t think too much about what to get rid of while in the creation process. Sometimes we really want something in a story that doesn’t fit no matter how much we want it there. Then, there’s editing that’s basically deleting everything you just wrote or a good portion of it anyways. And then, there’s editing from other’s perspectives. And last but not least the final product is bringing it out of hiding and letting it go free into the world.

“You only lose what you cling to.” Buddha

This is why learning to let go is important. If you hang on to things that are no longer useful for your story, it’s going to detract from the meaning and power behind your words, behind your life’s work. Same with hanging on to anything else. If you want your work to be powerful, you’re going to have to let things go.

The best way to let go while feeling everything is learning to have healthy attachments. A good reminder is that none of this is truly our own. Not the people in our lives and not our art. They don’t belong to us. They are meant for their own purposes and their own lives. That is the best start to developing healthy attachments. (Another way of saying it is non attachment.)

“It is a sign of great character and strength to be able to lose your attachment to anyone or anything that isn’t good for.” Anonymous

Knowing that you need to let go is one thing but actually letting go is an entirely different thing. In my experience, the one thing that has helped me let go is learning to trust my inner writer. Trusting your inner writer can take time and practice. So we talked about letting go, now, let’s talk about how and why you should start learning to trust your inner writer.

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