Weekend Edition – More Than a Writer Plus Good Reads and Writing Tips

You are more than a writer.

cosmos

I am a collection of experiences that is unique in all the expanse of space and time.

You fight hard for your art.

You create time where there isn’t any. You make hard choices and sacrifices.

You make your writing a priority.

Sometimes life gets in the way, and the best you can manage is a little time to think about a story, or an idea, or your craft. You have to be satisfied with nurturing your creations in silent, secret, intangible ways.

Other days, you give yourself the gift of time to put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard. Sometimes, this feels like slipping smoothly down into a pool of inspiration, you submerge yourself and drink deeply. Other times the writing feels like hard labor on the chain gang, your whole being aching with the effort of chipping each precious word from an impassive wall of stone.

But, bliss or agony, you keep working. This is the process. This is your writing. This is what you fight for.

I understand. This is what we do. This is who we are.

Or, is it?

I am a writer. But, I am also a mother, a sister, and a daughter. I am a friend and a lover. I am a student and a teacher and a witness. I am a voice and a memory and a hope. I am a collection of experiences that is unique in all the expanse of space and time.

I am a writer, but I am more than a writer. And, you are, too.

You are are not just the writer writing or the words that are written.

You are the story.

You are the story that exists whether it is written down or not. Writing is simply the way you capture and share the story you are, how you make the immaterial material so that it can be perceived by others. Everything you write is an echo of the story that you are – a story about love, redemption, courage, justice, wonder, vulnerability … truth.

But, be careful. Do not confuse the pursuit of writing with the pursuit of truth.

Writing may help you discover your truth – the essence of your story – but writing does not create that truth.

Be a writer. Be the best writer you can be. But never forget that you are more than a writer. You are the story being written.

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What I’m Learning About Writing: Your Brilliance is Fleeting

xanadumuseBack in the summer of 2010 (can it really be that long ago?!?) I wrote a post titled Capturing the Muse that laid out a 4-step process for capturing brilliant ideas before they evaporate into the ether. This week, I was reminded that I really ought to take my own advice more often.

I experienced several moments of clarity. They were lovely, hopeful moments. Each one was like a perfect flower, opening up before my mind’s eye like a blossom captured with the magic of time lapse photography. Unfortunately, each time I had one of these moments of insight, I was engaged in an activity that made it difficult to capture either the essence or detail of the idea. I was either in the shower, brushing my teeth, or driving.

I should have tried harder.

As you might have already guessed, these moments of brilliance sparkled but briefly before sputtering out of my consciousness, leaving only a sense of loss and regret for what might have been, had I only taken the time to make a note or record a quick voice memo.

Your writer’s mind is always working. It just doesn’t always work according to your schedule. You will have wonderful, inspiring ideas at the most inopportune moments. Don’t let them get away. Do as I say, not as I do. Make it a priority to snag your ideas out of the air before they vanish. Make use of the apps on your phone, carry a notebook, keep scribble pads in each and every room of the house. Do whatever you have to. Believe me, you’ll be glad you did.

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What I’m Reading: The Pocket Pema Chodron

book pocket pemaThis book has been sitting on my bedside table for years. I picked it up at an indie bookstore somewhere along the Maine coast, Camden perhaps. It was an impulse purchase. I remember standing at the counter paying for the other books I’d selected (a novel for myself and a picture book for my daughter). The bookseller and I were making small talk while she rang up my receipt when my hand reached out, almost of its own accord, to pick up this diminutive, but inexorably cheerful looking volume.

Not much larger than a deck of playing cards, this tiny tome has been a small but powerful touchstone in my life since that day. Though I still know little about Buddhism, I have found that each time I need comfort or guidance, this book is there for me. More times than I can count, I have opened to a random page and read just the words I needed to hear in that moment. It’s almost like magic.

The book contains 108 short selections from Chodron’s other books. The topics she addresses include fear, courage, patience, kindness, and goodness. Her voice is sure but gentle, her words unadorned but piercing. When I think about writers who touch on truth, Chodron always comes to mind.

This book may not have all the answers, but it has a way of asking all the right questions.

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And let’s not forget the blogs. Here are a few of my favorite writerly posts from this week:

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Finally, a quote for the week:

beginning

Here’s to being not only a writer, but to being the story worth writing. Have a great weekend. See you on the other side! 
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Jamie Lee Wallace Hi. I’m Jamie. I am a content marketer and branding consultant, columnist, sometime feature writer, prolific blogger, and aspiring fiction writer. I’m a mom, a student of equestrian and aerial arts (not at the same time), and a nature lover. I believe in small kindnesses, daily chocolate, and happy endings. Introduce yourself on Facebooktwitter, Instagram, or Pinterest. I don’t bite … usually.
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Cosmos Photo Credit: Martin_Heigan via Compfight cc

43 thoughts on “Weekend Edition – More Than a Writer Plus Good Reads and Writing Tips

  1. Jamie, can I just say “thanks”? I feel understood and inspired. Love, love this:

    “You are are not just the writer writing or the words that are written.

    You are the story.

    You are the story that exists whether it is written down or not. Writing is simply the way you capture and share the story you are, how you make the immaterial material so that it can be perceived by others. Everything you write is an echo of the story that you are – a story about love, redemption, courage, justice, wonder, vulnerability … truth.”

    Now I have to ponder this more. Thank you!

    • You certainly can, Sara. 😉 Thank YOU for that.

      Happy pondering and please feel free to share any thoughts you have – comments, linking to a blog post. Love to hear them.

    • I’m flattered, Anna. Thank you. It inspired me to write it, though I feel I’ve only scratched the surface of the idea. I’m looking forward to more exploration.
      Happy writing!

      • Can’t wait to read more, Jamie. Your posts always resonate with me and usually spark new ideas, or they inspire me to go back and delve deeper into a subject I have set aside for a while. Thank you again for sharing!

  2. This is absolutely beautiful!
    I started my blog as way to help me become a better writer and to encourage me to be more confident in myself overall.
    There are so many things I want to do, but I was always too scared to try and put myself out there. I decided to put the two together. I will do all those things I’ve always wanted to do and write about it. Reading this has given me a surge of inspiration. Thank you!

    • Hello, Lauralie. Thanks for coming by and thanks for sharing a bit of your story. I love your idea of combining life and writing in that way – wonderful how each half of that equation can inspire the other half.

      Enjoy the journey!

  3. Reblogged this on Rants & Rambles and commented:
    An amazing post for any writer/artist. The words are beautifully written and touches the very soul of anyone who blogs, writes, etc.

    Inspiration at its best.

  4. Thankyou. A great read. Funnily enough, Pema Chodron keeps on popping into my reality too, maybe I should buy the book 🙂 Ta!

    • Hi, Robynne.
      Isn’t it funny when a person or idea keeps cropping up in our daily rounds. After a while, you do start to wonder if maybe you ought to DO something about it. 😉
      Though I haven’t read much of her work, I love the Pocket Pema Chodron, and – based on that – I just ordered another book that comes with a meditation CD. Maybe I’ll give that a whirl!

      If you do check her out, love to hear your thoughts.
      TKS!

      • I certainly will do Jamie. One of my old favourites is ‘Devotion’ Following Tibetan Masters by Sherry Marshall 🙂

  5. I always love your posts. Talk about content! You always have something interesting and personal and references to other great articles/posts.

    Reading your bio reminded me today that you are the blogger I’ve been trying to remember–the equestrian one. I wonder if you’d answer a few questions for me about my YA WIP. My protag’s love interest is a horsewoman and I have some experience, but would love to ask you some questions! Please say yes!

    • Hello, Sherry!
      Thanks for the kind words. So glad you enjoy the posts.

      And, I’d be happy to answer any questions I can about horses and riding. You can email me at jamie at suddenlymarketing dot com. I look forward to it! 🙂

  6. ‘Writing may help you discover your truth – the essence of your story – but writing does not create that truth.

    Be a writer. Be the best writer you can be. But never forget that you are more than a writer. You are the story being written.’ – Love this, Jamie!

    I’m a longtime fan of the wise and wonderful Pema Chodron. You may also enjoy Thich Nhat Hanh. Have a great weekend Jamie 🙂

    • Hello, Yolanda. Nice to see you. 🙂

      I’m so glad that particular passage resonated with you.

      Thanks for the recommendation on Thich Nhat Hanh. I haven’t read any of his books, but I’ve seen (and liked) many quotes. I will add his name to my list of people whose work I’d like to explore further.

  7. *flabbergasted* I have been MIA for the last two weeks due to some assignments. I have been writing for others, which is great, but posts like you remind me to write for MYSELF!

    I feel disconnected from my ‘story’ – I feel disconnected from ‘life’. I haven’t interacted with my surroundings in a while; the air feels just a little dead – time to ‘shock’ my slumbering creativity into action 😉

    “You are the story that exists whether it is written down or not. Writing is simply the way you capture and share the story you are, how you make the immaterial material so that it can be perceived by others. Everything you write is an echo of the story that you are – a story about love, redemption, courage, justice, wonder, vulnerability … truth.”

    HOW ON EARTH do you write like this? MISSED YA! #HUGS

    OODLES of love
    Kitto

    • Hello, Kitto! Missed you, too.

      Glad to hear you’re busy with work-ish writing, but sorry you’re feeling a bit unmoored from your own writing. I SO know that feeling.

      I was just reading a blog post today about the “15-minute practice” which involves setting aside only 15 minutes each day to write on “your” writing projects. The idea is that if you can commit to that small amount of time to “shock your slumbering creativity into action,” (as you so aptly put it), you’re likely to end up spending more time. I have even done a 5-minute practice before (with good results).

      Thank you so much for coming by. I hope you come back from being MIA and have the chance to reconnect with YOU!
      🙂

  8. Pingback: Weekend Edition – Storyteller vs. Writer plus Good Reads and Writing Tips | Live to Write – Write to Live

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