*sings “Another challenge bites the dust!”* (Yes, it is to the tune of Queen’s “Another One Bites the Dust” – one of my favorite songs ever.) What a wonderful feeling. I have made it through another day. This is so fun. I am still playing the “Catch Up” game, but, the feeling is a calm one. I do not feel stressed at all. How wonderful! You guessed it, I am two days behind – again. This situation reminds me of something my grandmother used to tell me, “Once you fall behind, you stay behind. It is hard to catch up.” So far, this has been somewhat true. But, if you ask me, I think I am doing pretty good – considering I joined the PiBoIdMo on the fourth day in. To me, because I know how I am, that is an accomplishment. I am grateful to God that I have gotten so close to being caught up.
The blog article for Day 7 was by Jessixa Bagley. Before you go telling me that “Jessixa” should be “Jessica,” I already know. I had to read this author’s name twice to be able to handle the spelling of it. It drives me crazy, but, that is not important. In her article, Jessixa spoke about writer’s block, what she has learned over the years from that plague, and how she has come to adapt to it. Jessixa used this time to figure out ways to combat writer’s block. When she found something that worked, she stashed it away in her “creative arsenal” to use for future bouts of it. There were also ways listed on how she would “activate” her muse. I rather like them and they made perfect sense. For that reason, I will list them below.
My friend, Elle, would love this one. She has a list addiction. Elle loves lists like a pig loves mud. As for me, I can write lists, but they do not seem to last long around me. The “Misplaced List” monster likes to play the hide-the-list-so-it-is-never-found-again game with me. A part of me wants to thank him, but on the flip-side, I want to hogtie him with a jump-rope until I am led to where the list is hidden. But, I must admit, when I think of lists, I associate them with that dreaded to-do list we all hate. It has a negative effect on me, which makes it hard to follow one.
Jessixa’s list included words and phrases that she really liked. When writer’s block knocked at her door, she would just politely turn it away – by picking something from that list and writing whatever came to her. Her list is extensive. I wonder how many sketchbooks she will go through, writing down all those words and phrases she loves.
2. Create a world for your characters.
According to Jessixa, “This is something that sort of started to build itself without me really even trying.” What does she mean by that, you ask? She drew a map of where her characters lived and wrote down every little moment of their lives. As she says, “…which for me is a really fun way to keep them talking to one another, to keep my voice consistent, and it gives my characters a chance to come to life and let me look in on that life from time to time. After a while in this world, they start to tell me stories instead of the other way around.”
What a refreshing thought that is. I am not the world’s best artist, but I would be willing to give this a try. It might look the “Hangman” game with all those stick figures, when it is all over.
Finally, we have Jessixa’s last way of inspiring her muse. Quite ironic, isn’t it? Her inspiring her muse instead of the other way around.
3. Personal history.
I have to agree with Jessixa on this. Although “write what you know” is a cliche, it is one hundred percent true. Every memory you have, from childhood to present (from birth, if your family told you stories about when you were born), can be that little (or big) golden nugget you need for a picture book. It could be anything.
You may remember walking to the apple orchard with you sister and picking fresh apples from the tree, when you were five years old. Congratulations, you have a wonderful idea seedling to nurture, and help it blossom into that picture book you wanted to write for the past three months. Take that idea and run with it honey! The possibilities are endless.
Another point I agree with Jessixa on, is the fact that some of those memories may be painful to deal with. Just remember, you are strong enough to handle it. You can do it. That is how you grow.
Here is the perfect quote for you, from our lovely Jessixa:
“Staying open to seeing those experiences can be a challenge, but being an artist is about being vulnerable and without that vulnerability you can’t really know who you are or what kind of work you want to make.”
I have had some painful experiences in my time, but, they have made me a stronger person. They play an integral part of whom I have become as a person. Although I would rather forget these moments, maybe if I write about them, they can help someone else who is also experiencing the same thing. Writing about those bad memories also have a healing effect. The pain may still be there, but, it does not hurt as much as before. The growing process is never-ending, but do not let the negative events in your life, keep you hostage or stunt that growth. This is your life and nobody else’s. Live your life, and write, with joy in your heart.
If you would like to read the article mentioned above, the link is included below:
Many blessings to you.