What are you doing?

I’ve been sitting here staring at my screen, wondering what I would write, what I could write that would explain what’s been going on in the corners of my mind.

I’ve been busy, quite. I’ve been writing, a lot. A whole lot.

I finished a book Sunday night, that I began, and then put down for a couple of months. I put it down because I didn’t want to believe that I could be what it was calling me to be. There is always a level of doubt in my abilities. Some call it humility, I call it doubt.

Writing Flannery O'ConnorI want to be a writer. A real, writing writer. But what does that mean? And how do you know when you’ve achieved that? How do you know when it’s ok to say “yes, I’m a writer”. I feel like a phony. I’m not a writer, I am an executive assistant in a corporate office. I am a mom and wife to a family that watches Ink Master reruns and critiques artists’ work. We really did that last night. All of us on the couch with my plaid blanket and box of tissues.

Can I give myself the writer title because I write here? Or maybe because I practice writing prompts online in secret, where I can make mistakes or write about critical events that I’ve left dormant on the dusty shelves of my mind? Or is it simpler? Is it because I want to write and try, that I am a writer?

I have to get serious, I feel an urge to get there, wherever there is. My mind is not at the publication stage, or at the novel stage. I don’t even have a chapter let alone a few pages. I don’t know. I know there is something inside of me that needs to get out (not in a creepy alien sort of way, relax people). Words. Words and stories, and memories, and feelings, all out. Because in a way, I don’t know if it’s real unless it’s on paper. Here’s what I have done:

1. Created a Pinterest board. Because that’s always step one in a project right? It’s how this blog started. Collecting images and articles around writing and gaining further inspiration from others who pinned it! Success!

2. Subscribed to a pretty large writing organization that gives 2 weeks worth of writing prompts to get rid of writer’s block. I don’t think I have writer’s block, but I thought it would be a way to get the creative writing juices flowing.

3. Started another blog. It’s private and where I write out these prompts. Some are short, and the one I am in now is at a turning point. We’ll see how that goes. But progress, right? I consider that blog this blog’s rough sidekick. Like in a sidecar, sidekick. So not the cool sidekick. Can I write sidekick one more time?

4. Reading other blogs and writing groups. I don’t even know if they see me watching in the nose bleed seats and that’s ok. I comment rarely. Mostly I am in awe and trying to pick up on the mechanics of it. I don’t know if novels or short stories are where I am going. I always thought myself a memoir gal, but who knows.

5. Pulled out some old writing. I took a creative writing course a couple of years ago and wrote a couple of short stories, some poetry (yeah, I know) and a couple of scenes. I think it would help if I could take another course or go to a conference, but that’s something that is on the back burner. I’m going to Italy in a couple of months for 12 days, I can’t head out to a conference now! In the meantime, I will re-work these and see if they can even “be” anything now.

6. Books to read. As in adding them to my Amazon wish list. I can’t buy any books during Lent, because I chose to give that up (thanks a lot Emily). Think Flannery O’Connor, Virginia Woolf, Francine Prose and Annie Dillard to name a few. I just keep adding them to my wish list, and hope I get a gift card for Easter.

7. Pray. Yep – because this is a Catholic blog and I am a Catholic gal. I pray that I end up where I am supposed to be and I’m given the grace to do it right. I also pray with the intercession of that guy to your left St. Francis de Sales, patron saint of writers.

In the meantime, I’ve been hammering away at the posts for the #AtoZchallenge and am at the letter H now. I’d be happier if I was at the letter N, but we have the sickies here, and that’s pretty good considering it was written between Mucinex doses and cough drops.

So that’s left me thinking, what are you doing? What is your secret want, if you could really make a go of it? Have you tried to get from here, right now, to your ultimate “there”? How does it make you feel and how will you know if you’ve gotten there? What’s your roadmap?

Make me feel less anxious about this, and I’ll send you a raisin biscuit. I just made them today to make me feel better. I’ve had two. Make that three. Or maybe, I’ll let you in on this secret blog I’m deathly afraid to share. What is that quote from Jack Canfield? Everything you want is on the other side of fear?

Update: And because I should just bite the bullet instead of staring and staking the site (long before Carrie mustered up her courage – which makes her tops in my book), this will be linked to….dun dun duuuuuuuuuuun.

Insecure Writers Support Group

 

If you want to jump in with me, I’ll hold your hand (after my hand sanitizer ritual). Sign up and share the insecurities, this way it’s not so heavy. They post and link up the first Wednesday of the month, and I’m a little late, but I like to slip in undetected anyway.

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39 thoughts on “What are you doing?

  1. After high school, my plan was always to write. Well, I’ve been writing – but I’m not published. I don’t feel like I can call myself a writer, either! I know that there’s a book in me – something that only I can write, something that should be out there in the world because it’s honest and comes from love. But…… What on God’s green earth is it??? I’ve tried similar things to what you listed. On the reading other authors subject, I may get more inspiration from great authors, but I gain a whole lot more confidence and motivation when I read not-so-great authors and think, “I can write better than that! – Oh, really, Christina? Well, then, prove it!” And yet…the alter ego taunting hasn’t yielded much fruit… so far…
    I say (and I’m going to take my own advice) start with the memoirs, with real life. If fiction is in you, it will grow from there. Pax Christi
    Christina
    (I’d ask for a biscuit now, but… I don’t like raisins…)

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    1. What am I going to do with all of these biscuits?!? No one likes raisins except me!

      I don’t think fiction will be where I end up, but I think memoirs need help. How can you possibly remember word for word what happened? You have to fill in the gaps, fiction. No? Thank you thank you for jumping in and being “first”!
      xoxo

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  2. I used to struggle with this title thing too. Am I a blogger? Or am I a writer? So many people have blogs, and write so casually without much thought; I’d call them bloggers. But you have a purpose, and a love for the craft, I’d say that makes you a writer! Good luck with this, it isn’t easy, but is so rewarding when it does work out. I tried my hand at freelance writing last year, but with my son start school, and now we are expecting baby #3, it’s been pushed aside. Its fun though, and I love your idea of the “secret blog” to practice!

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    1. I mean, what is the criteria, right? But even further to that, why does it matter? I don’t know. I was the same way with the “musician” label. I would say that I am a singer, not a musician. I sing pretty, but I compose not a thing – that is *real* skill. Make sense? I would LOVE LOVE LOVE, some tips if you have the time and inclination to share and put up with my looney tune antics.

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  3. Oh my gosh…….love the post. You wrote the words that are inside of me…I, too, always, ALWAYS wanted to be a writer….but real life takes over……~sigh~

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    1. It doesn’t have to! You can do what I’ve done and live a double writer agent life. I just made that up and realized how dorky I’ve made myself. Write for you. I say, that makes you a writer.

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  4. Girl…if you are not a writer…I don’t know what you are : )

    It’s in you…but all in God’s time. He has obviously given you the desire…don’t force it. You are moving in the right direction.

    I regret not taking a writing course now. I would love to write a book someday on living Carmelite spirituality daily as a mom, wife, a woman! No time now.

    xo

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    1. Words can be written in the middle of the night. *nudge nudge* I’d read that book fo’sho!

      I’m not rushing anything to be sure. In fact, I was doing nothing! I was ignoring it. I wasn’t writing the writing that I know I should and could write. You know? So I had to be accountable to the crazy that lives in my fingertips and share. You know how I roll 😉

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  5. I’m so glad you have the dream! God put the desire in your heart for a reason 🙂 We often, as adults, snuff out our dreams (or simply quit dreaming). You’re doing great and are an inspiration for us all – especially for those of us that aren’t born writers 😉 Oh, and I figured all of the biscuits were gone?!?

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    1. Smartie. Almost gone. I ate three as I was thinking, crafting and writing. Just that sentence about giving away a biscuit made me eat one. So subliminal. Oh well. I had a salad for lunch. And there are raisins in it! And it was St. Patrick’s day yesterday!

      Thanks doll xo

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  6. I know what you mean. I love to write, I enjoy it, but does that make me a writer? Aside from my blog, I have a passion for writing children’s books. I love it and have casually submitted a story a few times but I don’t have the financial resources to take it much further than that. But the way I see it, I enjoy it, it brings me peace, and someday I can read my little stories to my kids 🙂 God bless!

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    1. You submit them?!?!?!?! They see daylight? I am a hoarder of my writing. I know that’s counterproductive to the whole writing thing. I actually haven’t gotten to the part where I have a draft novel or characters or chapters. You ARE a writer fo’sho!

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  7. I always use this analogy- if someone tells you they are a piano player…

    That person may be Billy Joel or that person may play the piano in a worship band or that person may just love to play the piano in her/his own home when the inspiration arises. All of them are Piano players.

    All of us are writers… different venues, talents, abilities and purposes for our craft.

    I hope that helps!! And I love that your fire is LIT for going somewhere with your gift. I pray through my dreams too, and I lift up this passion and place it in His Plan.

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    1. This is awesome Christine. Could be because you’re name is so pretty 😉 This is kinda how I operate though, I keep it to myself for a while, then I create little places of inspiration (enter Pinterest and the secret blog) and I start spilling the beans all over the place from sheer frustration at keeping it all in. I am going to write because I love it. I actually just read this as I was checking other blogs – a la #4 http://cristianmihai.net/2014/03/19/write-write-write/ Read that – that’s what’s up! Thanks for stopping by and commenting :)))

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  8. Of course you are a writer!! Your method of delivery doesn’t make you not a writer (what an awful sentence that was. Grammar nerds strike me down now!). Anyone who puts thoughts to paper is a writer. Yes, that includes us bloggers.

    If you wish to write a novel, by all means, do so. But don’t think because you haven’t written a book you’re not a writer.

    I absolutely love reading your content. Even your comments make me feel something. You definitely have a talent for words and for engaging your audience.

    I’m glad you’ve joined the IWSG. It’s been interesting to read the posts. Even veteran writers still post!

    Thank you for mentioning my post, Cristina. May I have a cookie please?

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    1. For me it’s more about just having a space to air it out. To call it my own and have it be like the .70 cents you contribute to someone’s $10,000. It’s not much but it’s mine and it’s in the same pool as the big guys. I don’t know if I have a novel in me. I don’t know what I have in me except all of these odd ways of looking at things and describing them to myself as if I were reading a book. Definitely a different brain. Blogging is a whole different animal I think we have to include visual, we are pushed to truncate and create lists and keywords for SEO. yadda yadda yadda. I’m making no sense! More biscuits!

      Thanks for the encouragement ❤ you know you're my girl. #atozchallenge 4eva (had to get old school on ya!)

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      1. I know I don’t have a novel in me. I used to think I did when I was younger. I wrote some pretty great short stories as a kid.

        Nowadays, I don’t want to feel the pressure of having to write. I want to write when I want to and what I want to. Which is why I came back to blogging after a long break. To write for pleasure.

        I have to admit. I don’t even take SEO into consideration at this point. I just blah blah away.

        And you are so very welcome!! I got yer back ❤ #atozchallenge ftw (had to do some new school) 😉

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      2. Yay! We’re thug-writers! Did you keep anything? I am going to rework some stuff I wrote for a class. They thought it was fiction but it was actually the beginning of dun dun duuuuuuun my memoir!

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      3. I kept nothing. A huge regret. I wrote many short stories, and then years later a lot of articles on parrot husbandry, everything from genetics and breeding to daily care and behavior management. A really hard lesson learned. Ah well. I have let it go.

        I think it’s great you’re going to rework some of your stuff. It would be interesting to look back and be able to tweak any changes.

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      4. Yes. Interesting I save nothing of my opera career but I save the writing! Telling isn’t it?!?

        When you have a short story send it my way! I would love to read it :)))

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  9. I want to see that private board. Didn’t you ask if we wanted to see it? I have a second blog too. The domain expires in a couple of days and I’m trying to decide what to do with it. I consider it the pajamma version of Plain Grace. You know how there’s the out in public you (which is Plain Grace), comfy you (which is Plain Grace as well) and then there’s the pajamma you…well the other blog is pajamma Jenny. Except I go in every so often and delete posts and start fresh…it’s part of my discernment process. “What is God calling me to do right now? Other than take care of my husband, children and home?” I’ve done some small women’s retreats that have been well received and I enjoy preparing the words for them and even the presentation. I’m pretty uncomfortable at the end when people want to tell me how much they enjoyed it or how God spoke to them through something I said, but it is something I fell a calling for.

    Didn’t mean to ramble on and on in your comment box, it’s just that these thoughts have been rolling around my head lately as well.

    I have completely enjoyed watching you blossom in your faith and writing and do so everyday.

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  10. Welcome to the #IWSG! What have you been waiting for? I have always wanted to write an award winning literary novel and hopefully one day I will. In the meantime my second non fiction will be out later this year and my third in 2015.
    I just started working on my A-to-Z posts and I am an Ambassador this year. You have a great start!
    It is nice to meet you, another Catholic girl and I look forward to reading your posts.

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    1. I’ve been waiting for this chick, Courage. She’s always late to my party!!! Thank you SO much for stopping by and sharing what you’re doing – and you’re an AtoZ participant/ambassadorm Catholic?! I hit the jackpot!

      What does that mean? Social media stalk, er um, follow to keep up with you.

      🙂

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  11. Cristina – You know you’re a writer when your readers, who wish they were writers, were thinking exactly what you said but didn’t have the words to say it!
    Thank you for speaking for this wanna-be writer! PS I love raisins! 🙂

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    1. Hi Strahlen! Thank you so much for your kind words of encouragement. Really. I had no idea that what I was typing out would turn out as it did, let alone receive so much great feedback. Leave it to the bloggy-peeps to cheer you on when you’re unsure of yourself.
      P.S. I have half a loaf of that stuff! My husband won’t touch the murdered grapes a.k.a. raisins!

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  12. Sounds to me like you’re moving in the right direction. You’re reading, writing and joining sites that will help in your development. I’m sure you’ve heard before that being on the writing journey is a marathon and not a sprint. Keep your chin up. Sounds like you’ll do just fine.

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    1. Hi J.L., I think that’s all I really wanted assurance on; moving in the right direction. So often I have an idea, plan, implement and am well on my way, only to find that I was barking up the wrong tree! Writing for me is more of a walk, soon, though – I’ll be in the marathon!
      Thanks for stopping by!!

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  13. I can relate to so much of this post. I have always loved writing and creating. My blog definitely does not showcase that well. I may start a private blog like you mentioned. I also purchased a stetch book the other day. I loved drawing when I was younger. I’m trying to think outside of the box of ways I can respark my creativity.

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    1. DO IT! Maybe we can have a secret blog ring – not the jewelry kind – but the kind where we all are writing and reading and critiquing, but we’re not at the stage of publicizing it yet. Like The Inklings!!! Ahhh!

      Let’s do THAT! I bet I can muster a couple of peeps who’ve contacted me overnight that would do it!

      Mwahahahahahahahahahahaha!

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  14. Cristina, I love your writing style. You write with such charming honesty and are effortlessly funny. You have such a gift for sharing your heart, and naturally drawing the reader into your “story.” What you have can’t be taught: that ability to invite others into your life and make them feel welcome, as though they are really your friends. You go girl; you’ve got it! You are absolutely a writer. My definition of a “writer” is someone who simply has to write…on scraps of paper in her purse, notebooks, margins of books, greeting cards, and most of all….in her head. She often has a blog post mentally written before she even turns on the computer. PS You also know you are a writer when people are always giving you journals for Christmas 🙂

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