How Do You Get the Words on Paper? Return to Writing

A couple of days ago, I was on the phone with a dear friend. She works in theater and has written her own plays in the past few years that she also directed that were performed at the local theater of which she was a member.

Unfortunately, some serious family health issues came about for her family a few years ago, and it’s been extremely stressful and emotionally draining for her and her family.

She’s not been able to continue the goals she had set for herself since then but is patiently waiting for a time where theater work and going back to school can re-enter her life.

I know how hard it is to go through and cope with a sick family member and the stress and strain it puts on both your mental and physical health.

My friend does need a healthy outlet that gives her a short window of time to herself. It’s important for her own health.

So she texted me yesterday using a voice message, that she’d attended a board meeting at the local theater she is now connected to (don’t know how long and when she started up with this particular one), and they were discussing upcoming events for the summer and short, one-act plays.

She’d actually brought this up to me a few days ago, and I will maybe do another blog post on my own plays, but this post is about picking up writing after serious life events takes up all your free time and energy.

She’d told me in our last conversation that she’d lost her creativity and didn’t know how to regenerate it. She asked me how I do so in my writing.

I told her I hadn’t written from the time I married in 1997 until 2014. A very long hiatus because of family life and health issues of my youngest son replacing any creative writing ideas and even thoughts.

But my writing returned when it was the right time for me in my life. God’s time. And it brought me through a lot of emotional hardships. I began to rediscover who I truly was, found catharsis and healing through these years, and continue to find content and healing in my writing.

My advice to her, using my own method, was to jot down notes of what she was wanting to write about. The characters, plot, and have a beginning and end in mind so that you are more likely to be able to finish your play or story.

Yes, I’ve struggled through the ideas of characters, scenes, etc. for upcoming chapters in a current work-in-progress, as well as on potential stories that swirled in my mind for a couple days that I hadn’t yet written any notes for. And even when I know what I want to say and how the scene will play out, there are times I can’t get anything down on the Word document or paper.

The answer to this is to just start typing whatever comes out in creating your scene and chapter. Eventually, about halfway down the first page, you become engrossed in your characters and what they’re doing in the scene, and you are able to complete at least that scene or even a full chapter.

This has worked for me every single time I’ve done it.

My friend had told me she hasn’t even been able to write down simple little poems she usually can do quite easily.

I told her to think of her writing as an escape from her stressful current reality to a realm where she can immerse herself for a time to find solace, creativity, and contentment for that short period. It will help her feel a sense of joy and a quiet moment to herself.

She’ll be creating as she’s wanted to do, and at the same time, experience relief from stress, which will help her overall health.

I’m sure I’ve written a few blogs already on the difficulties of getting back into writing after short or long dry periods, but I felt compelled to write this today after having the talk with my dear friend.

If you are having troubles writing caused by whatever events or obstacles in your life, remember that you can find a window to that creative side of you.

Try reading material you’ve already written to prime the pump in getting ideas to flow inside your mind and heart that will translate to writing on your computer or paper.

These strategies of mine always work for me. I hope it does for you too.

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What Success Means To Me

I’m very thankful, touched, grateful, and a bit astonished over my book sales. I say this because when I published my book, Passage of Promise, I had a very realistic and sober view of the amount of books I thought I’d sell.

I truly believed I would sell between 10 and 20 copies. That I’d be thrilled to know that 20 people had purchased my book.

But checking out my year-to-date report for all forms of my book sold: International, Print, Digital, Signed Copies, the number is more than 20, and I’m still somewhat shocked, but also so very happy.

Since my book came out May 1 (print) and May 4 (ebook/digital), I’ve sold 100 copies.

If I count the 10 my mother ordered to give as gifts to her friends, I’ve sold 110 copies.

Maybe folks won’t see that as a huge success, but for me, it’s amazing and indeed a success for me, an unknown self-published author (with the help of the best editor I know, D.A. Sarac) with her first ever published book. I feel extremely grateful and blessed.

THANK YOU ALL, who were interested in my book, buying it, reading it, reviewing it. This means more to me than I can truly express.

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When What You Wrote As Fiction Has Become Reality!

If you’ve followed the medical history of my youngest son, Christopher, you’ll understand what I’ve got to say now much more. In any case, if you aren’t up on his history, a little tidbit of info on this for the past fifteen years can be found in my blog post, Maternal Moxie: Tenacious Moms of Special Needs Kids.

This morning, I took Christopher for his every-two-year MRI scan. It is to check on the remnant of a brain tumor attached to his brainstem since he was diagnosed with it at 13 months old. Surgeries and radiation therapy followed, the latter to try and stop regrowth. Since 2007, the tumor has been lying dormant, thank God.

There was a scare in the fall of 2008 that the tumor and the cyst it creates had grown a tad. I had to return with Christopher for another MRI scan the next month to make sure before starting up a long, dreadful year of chemotherapy, that he’d been able to avoid all those years.

Feeling desperate, I turned to the Saints of my church. Something I’d never done up to that point. I asked the Panagia (Virgin Mary/Mother of God), Saint John the Wonderworker of Shanghai and San Francisco, and Saint Nektarios to pray for my son.

Within 15-30 minutes, I felt the heaviness sitting on my shoulders be literally lifted off of them and has never returned. I felt at peace.

The next month, I took Christopher in for the MRI scan. The doctor came back to tell me that, for some reason, the tumor had shrunk back a bit, as well as the cyst. He didn’t know why, but I did. The Saints had and still pray for my son, and the prayers of the righteous are powerful!

Since then, the tumor has been stable and dormant, thank God.

Today, I was hoping for the same result.

But that’s not what I got this go around.

Via my Facebook post this morning (minus one of the MRI scanned photos):

First and foremost, Glory to God. The oncologist said that the portion of the brain tumor that has been attached to Christopher’s brainstorm for just over fifteen years has disappeared/gone away!

However, he said he and the radiologists may need a closer look on that at some point, but still, it’s not there on the scan! 

Here are the two pics from 2013 scan to today’s. The first picture shows the white portion next to the gray section in the middle of the head is the remaining tumor back in 2013. Today’s scan — the picture on the right— doesn’t show it there anymore! 

Having said that, the doctor said Christopher will be getting scans every 3 years for the rest of his life, due to the damage of the radiation that can cause benign tumors outside the brain. However, those are easier to remove!

Along with this, he’s referring Christopher for a multi-disciplinary clinic check up for him transitioning to adulthood. So, he’ll see a neuro-psychologist, endocrinologist, and rehab specialist to check his ability to drive and other things. He’s also being referred to “plastics” (what the doctor called it) to discuss working on his face through nerve work to even out his face. The left side of his face droops a bit and is partially paralyzed (with 7th nerve palsy in his left eye, with an eyelid that doesn’t totally close, and severe hearing loss in his left ear).

Of course, at first Christopher said he wasn’t interested in facial plastic surgery (basically what I’m thinking the doctor meant by “plastics”) because he doesn’t want scars. The oncologist explained there won’t be any scars. That’s what “plastics” does and gets rid of. Ha ha!

Nevertheless, the oncologist told him he can say, “No” after meeting with the “plastics” doctor if he still doesn’t want to do that. 🙂

Also, the nurse put in a referral to an ophthalmologist/eye doctor per the oncologist’s recommendation. I’m very happy about this, because I wasn’t sure who to go to for this. He’s overdue for an eye check. 

The third picture farthest to the right is damage on the left side, lower portion of his brain from the tumor, surgeries and radiation that is lit up in white. But the oncologist said the thinking portion on the top and upper portions of his brain look good and are okay, thank God. 

Again, this is the best news we’ve gotten on Christopher’s tumor since years ago when it was stabilized. Thank God!

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