Paying Attention to the Spark

Whenever I’m feeling stuck or unmotivated, I turn to the experts. I might search for a book or a webinar or an article in hopes of getting unstuck. If someone has gone ahead, I want to learn from them! Often, this works. I get a piece of inspiration or am distracted just enough to refocus.

IMG_8753But sometimes, I’m still stuck. The other day, I listened to a free webinar from an expert that turned out to be an hour-long sales pitch for a paid site. (You get what you pay for?) I got a few nuggets from the beginning but left feeling at a loss. I had been given just enough information to feel even more confused.

I chatted with some friends who aren’t even part of this particular field, let alone experts, and through our conversation, a few ideas were sparked. I was able to take those small nuggets and figure out ways to use them.

It’s a reminder that, while the experts are important and valuable, there are so many moments in which I find the help and inspiration I need from sources that aren’t proven or expert at all. When I put aside my to-do list and focus on playing with the girls, I feel refreshed in other areas. When we get outside and soak up the sun, when I turn off the noise of social media and Google searches, when I read a really good fiction book unrelated to anything I’m working on, when I remember to pause and breathe and take in the big picture – this is where I’m refreshed and most likely to unstick my thoughts.

I know this isn’t breaking news – that getting outside and turning off all the voices is healthy – but it’s news I need to remind myself of again and again. When I’m feeling overwhelmed, instead of looking for the answer, I need to just be in the moment. The answer will come (or it won’t and I’m learning to embrace that, too) but most often it’s a little spark at the back of my mind.

Today, I’m putting aside a lot of ideas and papers. I think I’ll even stack them up and put them in the basement for the weekend. The girls and I are meeting friends for a ramble at an open space and we’ll run and soak up the sun. And I’m sure some ideas will show up in the midst of living life.

How do you get unstuck? What experts do you find most helpful? Where do you turn when you need to get away from books and overthinking?

Linking with Five Minute Friday, a  time to write without editing. (As evidenced by so many run-on sentences in this one!) Today’s prompt is “stuck.”

“My Writing Process” Blog Tour

I’ve seen a couple “Blog Hops” or “Blog Tours” recently – a time to share your own writing process and introduce others who have inspired or influenced you. My friend, Megan (who is a writer of books) just posted her process and invited me to do the same. Megan and I are in a book club together. We meet once a month, share food, drink wine, laugh, and read books written by women or which feature a strong female lead. You can read more about Megan’s writing process and books she’s working on over at her blog, Womb of Words.

My Writing Process:

1) What are you working on?
Well, really I’m just working on this blog. I started it last November to become a better writer. I found that dumping my thoughts into my journal is cathartic but since there’s no editing involved and I’m the only one who reads it, I wasn’t stretching myself. I still don’t view myself as a real writer – more of a hobbyist blogger, so I guess I’m also working on a change of attitude.

2) How does your work differ from others of its genre?
I guess I should figure out what my genre is… Mommy-blogger? Faith writer? Storyteller? I suppose what sets this space apart is that I try to tie universal truths to mundane life experiences. Since the life experiences I draw from are my own, I can give a unique voice and perspective.

3) Why do you write what you do?
I write life stories because, even when I’m doubting myself, I do believe our stories matter. I believe we learn from each other’s experiences and that community is formed by our unique experiences and perspectives. I am amazed at which stories get the most response – usually the ones I’m most nervous about sharing. It’s a good reminder that we can all look at seemingly small things and find grace and redemption.

Multi-tasking
Multi-tasking

4) How does your writing process work?
Writing process sounds so formal! I write during naptime and sometimes during Daniel Tiger. With an almost-two-year-old, writing gets squeezed in during quiet moments. When I started this blog, I did make a commitment to write twice a week, and I’ve mostly stuck with that. It’s been good practice to have that goal – especially during weeks when nothing has happened, I have to dig for stories and am surprised at what I find.

Follow more writers!
I’m still quite new to the blogging world, but these two women write beautifully and offer wonderful encouragement.

Alexandra Kuykendall is a friend from MOPS who writes about the messiness of motherhood. Her book, The Artist’s Daughter empowers mothers to embrace their stories. You can check out her personal blog here.

I think I first interacted with Juliette through a What I’m Into link-up. In any case, her writing is thoughtful and I always leave with a new perspective. She blogs at Still Learning.

Who are some of your favorite bloggers or writers?