Detaching From what you Love

The month of April was as busy I expected it to be. Two final papers for the two graduate courses I was enrolled in, both of my children’s birthdays, nearly weekly bowling tournaments for my son, and just regular life stuff. And then in the midst of all that, I had to two speaking engagements promoting within the same week!

Can you say stressed?

When it was all said and done, I was in need of a break. Break from writing. Break from posting. Break from thinking about writing. Break from thinking about posting–book related stuff, at least. I just needed to decompress.

However, I didn’t really know how. Writing and promoting my writing has become so infused into my daily life, I nearly didn’t know how to get through the day without pulling out my laptop or phone to write or create a post for social media.

But I knew the detachment was necessary for my mental well-being.

“But, you’re a writer. This is what you love. How can you be stressed doing something you love?” You may be asking.

Easy. When you do what you love, and you begin sharing it with others, it becomes work. No matter how much I may like what I’m writing, I still have to consider my readers in the process. I once read a quote that went something like, “When writers begin losing interest in their writing project, it’s because the real work of writing has begun.”

I still love creating stories and following my characters on their journeys or crafting my life experiences for readers to learn from or identify with. But when I’ve been doing it for a certain length of time, there comes of time to take a break.

It just so happens that when my graduate coursework was coming to an end, God created an opportunity for me to have a couple of weeks off work. I took that time to enjoy sleeping in, watching a couple of movies, and reading a great collection of stories from an author in one of writing group’s that I’m in.

I can’t believe that I went 10 days without opening my laptop. My mind said, “Thank you, sis. We needed that.”

Have you recently taken a mental break from something you love to do? Share in the comments.

Naturally Yours,

L.A.

Why I Write: The Page

The Page

Keeper of my secrets

Stories from the depths of my soul

Sometimes true;

Sometimes from the scenes of my imagination;

My dreams

My nightmares

My deepest fears

The crisp white on a notebook page

Or the grainy white of the computer screen,

Never turn me away

Never ignore my pleas

Not afraid of my tears

Not expecting me to be strong

Rather wanting all that I have to give,

to share, to dare

To say.

I can be who I am

I can be who I want to be

I can be who I’m afraid to be

In the open world

There is no judgement on that page;

On that screen

I…AM…FREE

Why I Write? Positively Impacting Other

I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. Letters to Santa Claus. Love letters to boyfriends. Entries to my diaries in my adolescent and teen years. Entries in my journals throughout my adults years.

I went FB Live on Saturday after I moved myself to tears writing a story I plan to submit to Chicken Soup for the Soul. I wrote about my experience of having a stroke, at 44 years old, with no preexisting risk factors. I wrote about the natural inclination to ask God, “Why me? Haven’t I been through enough?”

I ended on the note of gratefulness that the stroke was just one more thing that God has brought me through. His Word doesn’t say bad things won’t happen to bad people. In fact, it says, “In this world you will have trouble.” Following that text says, “but, Fear not, I will be with you.” How comforting is that?

By the time I finished the piece, I knew that, whenever it is published, it will be a blessing to whoever reads it.

Naturally Yours,

L.A.

Why I Write: The Makings of a Story

Where do the ideas for your books? This is a common question asked of authors by readers and aspiring writers. The answers vary. For myself, the subjects that I’ve addressed in my novels have been retrieved for the pages of my life. The stories aren’t biographical by any means, but they’ve been sparked by things I experienced.

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Author L.A. On Writing

The other day I was sitting at work , minding my own business when, out of nowhere, WHAM. Three writing ideas hit me all at once. As is my custom, I jotted the titles on the nearest sheet of paper—a sticky note pad conveniently kept next to my computer. After I wrote them down, I tore the paper off and secured it to my personal laptop, for safekeeping.

I resisted the urge to scribble down my the thoughts on the subject because I’m actively practicing sticking to my current writing project—my third novel. This is very difficult but it also gives me a surge of creative energy to move my manuscript forward. I’m working on the first draft of the novel, and for the first time, not trying to write it in the linear fashion I did with the first two. Instead, I’m allowing my mind to work freely, jumping from scene to scene, jotting down notes, adding descriptive points to characters, etc. This awesome writing software, Scrivener, is the conduit that allows this freedom with everything in one place. In fact, I’ll probably create projects, in Scrivener, for the ideas that I wrote down on the sticky note.

I used to worry about losing the excitement for new ideas if I didn’t immediately stop what I was working on and start writing on the new idea. Over the years, though, I realized that when ideas are close to my heart and meant to be written, they will be written. Case in point, the idea for my current novel came to me while I was finishing my second novel. Not only that, these new ideas are my personal stories that I long to share with the world. Although writing them requires the same in-depth process of creating characters, scenery, plot points that fiction require, it’s slightly different because I’ll be recalling memories from my past.

Similar to ones Yoga practice, every writers’ practice is unique to them. I would love to know how other writers handle the injection of new ideas when you’re in the middle of a project. Share your writing or creative process in the comments below.

Naturally Yours,

L.A.

Weekends in Quarantine

Am I the only one who hesitates when asking friends old-fashioned questions, like: What are plans today? Have you made it to the gym? What are you doing this weekend? The answers sure have changed.

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It is Finished…Summer Class, that is #lifeafter

Thursday, August 1, 2019 marked the culmination of my first year as a graduate student of the Masters of Library Science program at Wayne State University!  Only a special kind of person–or maybe a glutton for punishment–undertakes a graduate program while displaced from their permanent residence due to a house fire, adjusting to life after the passing of their spouse, taking responsibility over a rental home that deceased husband managed, and a host of other things that you’ve probably already read about on my blog. But, I did it! And quite successfully, too, I might add. 4.0 GPA first semester, 3.5 the second, and a 3.0 this current semester.

Although I did well, I put myself through a lot stress at a time in my life when I should have been relaxing as much as possible. Just because you can do something doesn’t mean that you should do something, I advised myself.

Now, I don’t regret, at all, the decision to begin this program. I’d been contemplating it for a few years before finally applying. However, it might have been a good idea to start with one class instead of two. It took those first two semesters of talking myself out of quitting a time or two before I came to my senses and only registered for one class this last semester.

Forty-three year old LaCharmine cannot do graduate school the way twenty-five year LaCharmine did it.

Prior to the end of this semester, I told myself it was time for a break.

“Not even one class, LaCharmine,” I said to myself sternly. (I need that kind of talking to sometimes).

I need my evenings and weekends as free as they can be (given my church & sorority commitments).

I need time for writing.

I need time for reading.

I need time for getting my house how I want it.

I need time for dating. (Yes, I said it. Dating!!!)

Hmm…will I listen to myself and take a break from school? How will my first date go after 10 years out of the game? Will I accomplish the goal of completing novel #3 by end of 2019? Follow my blog for more #lifeafter posts.

Naturally Yours,

L.A.

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Spiritually Speaking–No Title Necessary

I almost didn’t make it to church today. It was my plan to attend service and assist the Trustees, the ministry I serve on, with our first dinner sale of the year. I was up early enough to bake the last pan of chicken that I was making for the dinners. Then I decided to do some Yoga. Before I started the video on demand I decided to take an anti-anxiety medication recently prescribed by my doctor. I’d noticed the last couple of days my mind was all over the place preventing me from going to sleep. However, before I made it to the second Yoga position in the video, I could hardly hold myself while on my hands and knees. I didn’t get it. One minute I was fine, the next I felt like I was going to throw up or fall out. When I went back into my bedroom, I realized I’d made a terrible mistake. I’d taken a strong sleep-aid medication!

Barely able to sit up straight on my Yoga mat, there was no way I could drive to church or stay awake long enough watch the chicken in the oven. I called my daughter, explained everything and she, of course, agreed to step in and take the chicken to the church. I was disappointed but safety first. After setting the timer on the stove and my phone for extra coverage, I laid down on the couch, falling in and out of sleep until the both the timers sounded.

By the time my daughter arrived home, I was up and drinking a cup of coffee. She was more than relieved when I told her that I was good to go. She didn’t need to make the church run for me. Win-win.

I made it to church in time to assist my ministry team with setting everything up and participate in communion, our first Sunday of the month tradition. On the way to the sanctuary, a young man walked through the doors of the fellowship hall. He was grumbling, clearly upset. With earphones around his ears I figured he was talking on the phone but his conversation was disturbing.

“I can’t stand these church people. They’re so fake. They always have something to say.”  He was fighting back tears. The other trustee and myself couldn’t help but stop and try to determine if he was talking to us or someone else, or if he needed help. When the other trustee probed, the young man pretty much repeated himself. She told him to come on back in the church. As the three of us got closer to the door he said something like every time he tries to get closer to God that these people always talking stuff to him, being hypocrites.

Considering this church has been my church home since I was a teenager. I wanted to know who had said something to offend this young man, and what, but this was not a time for nosey inquiries.  Instead of asking questions, I found my voice to speak the truth that was swirling around in my head as he was complaining.

“Honey,” I said like he was my son. “Every time you move closer to God, trying to live the way God wants you to, this is exactly what satan does. He uses, most times those closest to you or those who you’d least expect, to push all of your buttons and run you in the opposite direction of God. When that happens, just ask God to help and bless the offending person and go on about your day.” The young man appeared to feel some relief. He thanked me, then opened the door for myself and the other trustee–like a perfect gentleman–and the three of us made our way into the sanctuary.

Over the years there have been plenty of situations when I’ve been in the company of people expressing challenging life situations. But unlike today I remained silent not feeling it was my place to say anything. However, as a Christian, speaking up, is exactly what we are called to do. Notice I didn’t say as a Minister, Evangelist, or Deacon. Titles have nothing to do with spreading the word of God.

Believe me, I understand the fear and apprehension of speaking up in those situations. You’re likely to think that you don’t know enough, that your understanding is not deep enough, you don’t know the book, chapter, or verse of scripture of any verse to reference what you want to say. That’s how I was and still am more often that I care to admit.

What’s changed, though, is my desire for God to use me in the way He desires to. In recent years, I’ve been praying for understanding of His word and asking Him to use me to be a blessing to others as He sees fit. That’s a good place to start.

I didn’t wake up this morning planning to encourage anyone in the Lord. In hindsight, though, I have to wonder if my mistakenly taking that sleeping-aid medication was a plan of satan to keep me home, thus preventing me from encountering that young man today. Well…not today devil.

Let the church say Amen!

Naturally Your,

L.A.

Nervous Anxiety–What To Do With It

Nervous anxiety. We all encounter it at various points in our lives, some more often than others. Just depends on the individual. Common instances where a person is likely to experience this anxiety are at monumental times of life such as a guy preparing to propose to his girlfriend, a college student preparing to walk across the stage in front of a thousand pair of eyes, or a woman the morning  of or night before her wedding.

Over the last few days I’ve been experiencing some nervous anxiety. I actually have two important moments occurring in the same week. Within a few days, I’ll be unveiling my second work of fiction to the watching world–or whoever tunes in over a FB live broadcast. At least, that’s the plan. Just the anticipation of doing it gives me the jitters. But this option was the next best thing to investing money in a venue, paying a food vendor, and any other expense for an on-site party while I’m also in the mist of purchasing a house.

Oh yeah…that’s the other thing at the root of my recent anxiety. I’m buying a house! For the second time in my life and the first time with my husband of five years. We’ve been living in an apartment for the last five years and been looking for a house for the last 2 1/2. It’s been quite a journey but we made it to the end.

No one can tell that I’m nervous. It doesn’t show on the outside. These pesky little jitters reveal themselves in the form of awakening me hours before schedule. Three nights ago, I awoke at 3 am. The next day 4, and the next 6. Of course, I was still sleepy but wasn’t able to go back to sleep without a threat of oversleeping for work.  So instead of the laying in the bed allowing my mind to focus on either of these things, I redirected the nervous energy to more productive activity. One day I used the time to finish writing a story I’m submitting for publication. The other two days I went to the gym. Today when I woke up around the same time, I opted to relax and stay in bed. Enjoyed an early morning up cup of coffee.

What do you do when nervous anxiety awakes you in the wee hours of the morning or keep you up late into the night. Share in the comments below.

Til Next Time,

LA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

That brings me tfood to feed guests Plus there was no time to do all of that Another morning of waking up hours before my alarm rang. Three nights ago it was 3 am, the next 4 am, and the next 6 am. I made the most of them all. One morning I spent the time finishing a story I needed to get to my editor so I can submit for a Chicken Soup for the Soul book. The other two I hit the gym. I couldn’t think of any better ways to expend this nervous anxiety I’m experiencing.

Why am I nervous? What am I so anxious about?

Hmm…let’s see. I’m officially releasing my second novel this week. In conjunction with the book release, I’m unveiling my newly designed website.