Today's guest post is one of my favorites so far and the author is one of my favorites as well. Paige Crutcher is taking a leap with her writing and this week - TOMORROW!! - her debut novel launches! You can read her fabulous series for Publisher's Weekly here!
And you can pre-order her novel, THE ODYSSEY OF FALLING, here!
I'm so grateful to know her as my friend and honored to share her work with you!
WELCOME, Paige and leave a comment to congratulate her on going for her dreams!!
I’m pretty sure writing, and being creative, have helped me maintain my (somewhat) relative sanity all my life. The thing I know for sure about life is this; it’s mother trucking hard. What the Mamas & the Papas sang – about there being a season for everything – is true, and also only the tip of the slippery/sloppery ice burg.
When you’re a creative being, I believe there are often seasons (like sadness, anxiety, ennui) tucked inside the bigger seasons (like joy, productivity, shiny happy newness), and like one trunked up ice cream cake, the layers can make life feel utterly delicious…or like someone threw together a whole lot of flavors and ended up with a sticky mess.
Sometimes “well-being” feels unattainable. Like it’s a mystical unicorn floating on an island of Skittle-eating ligers. You can dream it up, pour out a handful of Skittles to bribe the animals into submission, but you can’t actually get there. Because there doesn’t exist. Not today.
When I’m feeling broken in this “the world is made of suck and all the curse words imaginable” way, I always turn to story.
There has been research done on the de-stressing properties of reading (which I still don’t entirely get the need for because I’m pretty sure LeVar Burton made it clear decades ago that reading = magic, but whatever) and story is proven to be a relaxant. Less calories than vodka, better for the liver than Xanax, and it has the power to change the very fiber of the reader’s being. Story, man! It’s amazing.
I mean think about it – how often has reading a great book changed who you are? How you think, what you dream, and the limitations you set (or rather release) from yourself. Reading increases my general well-being. Some days it feels like it may well save my life.
Writing, on the other hand, feeds my soul.
It’s a way to linger over moments that are pressed into the fiber of my being like brightly colored patches on a beloved pair of faded blue jeans. Moments like falling in love, discovering hope, having adventure, and being free. Because when I write, the rules are gone. As a rebelliously minded person, being able to craft worlds within words is the most freeing thing I can do.
Creativity is a tool. It helps me dig out from the suffocating amount of anxiety that tries to trick me into doubting myself. It helps me blend the colors of my world from something overwhelming into something beautiful, like when I lift a paintbrush and bring color onto a blank canvas. In the kitchen it lends to harmony as I attempt (and let’s be real, often fail) at baking a new recipe, or throwing together a Mr. Wizard-esque casserole.
I’m a mess, but aren’t we all? As flawed human beings (or rather, spiritual beings attempting to live a human life) we’re so different from one another. We seek to matter, to connect. When I’m at my best, I’m committed to showing up to my yoga mat, to being in conversation with others, encouraging an old friend or hearing a new one’s story.
When I’m struggling the most, I’m in bed watching my twelfth hour of Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Dawson’s Creek, wondering what addictive substance they put into Baked Cheetos that has me eating the entire large sized bag, while shaming myself over how I’m not eating organic Cheetos, because somehow the preservatives make me feel even more of a failure.
Life. It’s not a game to win at; it’s a journey to undertake.
I think part of being a creative person means feeling emotions strongly. I believe the other side of the coin should be giving yourself permission to experience what you’re going through and not shut it off. To sit in the emotion, and feel what you are going through so you can deal with whatever it is that has you stuck, and then heal as you move forward.
If it matters in a way you can’t shake, then you can go one step further and share your experience, write it into a tale, craft it into a song, paint it onto a canvas.
Because writers write, creatives create, and story is always waiting.
Paige writes, reads, rocks out her yoga mat, reports for Publishers Weekly, and writes YA. She plays well with words and others, and when she's not reporting, she's daydream excessively before putting words on the page. Sometimes they’re jibberish, sometimes they’re honest in a way that makes her feel a little awkweird, but they always come with a message of hope and love.
More often than not, she's got her nose in a book (occasionally while inside her book fort), because inside story is where she knows the magic waits.
But you don’t have to take her word for it.
Learn more about Paige at her website: http://paigecrutcher.com/ Or find her on Facebook here and Twitter here.
I met guest blogger and Tinderbox Society member, Jodi Burrus, a few years ago when a friend and I drove to Birmingham, Alabama to meet a mutual friend and fellow author, humorist Robin O'Bryant. We sat around a table for dinner and laughed ourselves silly, talking about our families, our writing and everything in between. I left that dinner wishing those women lived closer to me. I felt recharged. I felt my energy and confidence return. It might have been the wine or the artichoke dip, but I think there's something about sharing our stories that feeds our souls. I wanted Jodi to share her story here with you so maybe some of that magic could be recaptured and spread over your day today.
If you've ever struggled to make time for yourself, time to be still and quiet in a crazy busy life, time to listen for your own voice in all the hubbub...this one's for you!
Jodi's blog speaks to the power of friendship in our lives to nourish our creativity. Find her at thedrunch.com.
"When you meet a friend for Drunch, you know you’re going to kick back, unwind and say what you want to say. Whether it’s Marriage and Family or Nips and Tucks, no topic is off limits. Stop by The Drunch to catch up on what’s being said around the table today."
Jodi's doing a great giveaway, too, so leave a comment for her. Your going to really connect to this post and want to chat about it. Share your thoughts and yourself here and you'll win, either way!
by Jodi Burrus
Writing…until you’re a published author, people will refer to this as your “hobby,” not realizing It means so much more than the word “hobby” implies. It's not a pair of fuzzy slippers knitted at Christmas.
Still...I've not published a full-length novel, and my writing isn't a source of income. Not a "real" job. So where does writing fit in my crazy, mixed-up life? It doesn't...there's just no room.
I should explain...I'm a mom. Not just once, but four times over. Boys -- ages 9, 8, 8, and 8. That's as real as it gets.
I juggle the schedules of all six members of our family. I cook a healthy dinner (most of the time), and pack lunches, and do laundry, and remember karate outfits, and clean up dog hair, and mop the floors (sometimes). We go to school. We go to church. Sure, it looks like multi-tasking, but my focus is ALL on raising 4 boys and maintaining a somewhat sanitary/sane/livable home environment. All my eggs are in one basket. There is no TIME for writing.
But I do it anyway.
I can't help but think of my writing as the bloodletting treatments of old, where the tumultuous humors were drained away in order to leave their host healthy and sound. Sure it's junk science, but as a metaphor for writing -- it's good medicine.
Ernest Hemingway said, “There is nothing to writing. You just sit down at a typewriter and bleed." For me, the words build day after day, night after night, until the pressure demands an outlet. I struggle with allotting a set time every day to write. Sometimes it just doesn't work out. Kids get sick. I get exhausted. Life happens. So I've given myself permission to play hooky.
Sometimes, the laundry sours in the washer. Dinner becomes takeout, and guess what? You guys need to buy lunch at school tomorrow because I didn't make it to the grocery store today. And you know what? Life goes on. There may be some rumbles from the peanut gallery, but the earth continues to spin.
So the words flow...in fits and starts. Disjointed scenes, disrupted voices. Pages I want to burn, and phrases I wish the world could see. Is it a pointless exercise? I don't think so. I'm simply being who I'm supposed to be. Will I publish a full-length novel someday? I hope so. But if it never happens, I'll still be here...my pen dripping words onto the page.
Need a little encouragement to get your own creative juices flowing? How about a copy of the anthology “Winter Wonders” — a collection of short stories that includes Jodi's very first published YA Fiction, “The Fat Files.” Leave a comment here or on her blog at www.thedrunch.com Or send a tweet to @thedrunch saying, “Count me in!” for a chance to win.
tinderbox society blog
Life lived from your Creative Core.