Get Rid of the Box

Don’t try to think outside of the box, get rid of it altogether. You don’t need it. It’s not a guidepost, it’s a restriction.

If you feel you need the box for structure then create your own, with your own style and flair. No one else can be you, no one else has your ideas and creativity.

My Box_3

Get rid of the box or create your own.

Either way, break free…

Create you.

Write you.

Live you.

Be you.

❤ ❤ ❤

xo

It’s Not the Critic Who Counts

I recently came  across a talk that Brené Brown did for a 99U conference in 2013 about vulnerability and how to deal with your critics.

Theodore Roosevelt gave in Paris, France on April 23, 1910, often referred to as “The Man in the Arena” speech, which is the basis for this particular talk as well as Brené’s book Daring Greatly.

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

Art is: Bravery. Courage. Vulnerability. Love. Art is about all of those things and it’s also about showing up and being seen. But when we’re creating we get scared because we know the moment we put ourselves out there, we’re going to see and hear things that make us question why we made the art in the first place. We don’t want to be seen if we have to deal with the critics.

Notebook_Pen_12

Do it anyway, make art anyway. “Tell them [critics], I see you, I hear you, but I’m going to do this anyway.” Because vulnerability is also the birthplace of all the things we crave, love, belonging, joy, trust, empathy, creativity, innovation.

“When you armor up [against vulnerability] you shut yourself off from everything that you do and love.”

Brené encourages her audience to shed their armor so that you can create what it is that you are meant to create and reach the audience that you are looking to reach.

“Without vulnerability you cannot create.”

This is why I admire her message so much, when we get down to the vulnerability in art (writing) that’s when we really reach other people. And all that means is that YOU write what YOU want to write, even if it makes you vulnerable to critics, to readers, to anyone, even yourself. When you are authentic and vulnerable and real…that’s when you reach the people you need to reach, that’s when you will be heard.

Make your art, fail at your art and remember, it’s not the critic who counts. It’s you, because even when you fail you do it while daring greatly.

❤ ❤ ❤

xo,

Christina2

 

What do baby robins have to do with writing?

IMG_20170627_154308_776In the writer’s mind it will be instantly seen as procrastination. If I’m taking pictures of baby robins, I’m procrastinating! If I’m not writing, I’m procrastinating, right?

Nope. In fact, I’m in the process of making my writing more meaningful.

If we spend all of our time working and writing word after word, it will be much more of a struggle to find the meaning in any of our words. And eventually a struggle to come up with words to write.

Why? Because we’re writing and we aren’t LIVING. And if we aren’t living how can we make our words and stories meaningful? If I’m writing a scene and decide to write about a full nest of baby birds, I’ll have already experienced it and won’t have to research it or watch it second hand on YouTube. Simple idea, yes, but think about it. Life is constantly inspiration from which to draw. IMG_20170627_153837_281Or perhaps the act of taking pictures of the baby robins will inspire me to work it into a story later…use it as a parable in one of my workshops…or in this blog post to help writers understand that they should take the time to enjoy life and stop being so hard on yourself.

Yes, your butt needs to be in your chair writing, but your mind also needs to be outside enjoying life so it can be ready to get to work the next time. You’ll be energized and more productive. I promise.

Take the time to snap some pictures of those baby robins, you never know when the next time you might have an opportunity to do so. And find a way to make it add meaning to your words and story.

❤ ❤ ❤

xo,

Christina2

 

A Love Letter to the book Mud Vein by Tarryn Fisher: The Book That Changed How I View Myself and Ultimately Changed How I Read.

Carousel Horse1

Mud Vein: The icky vein on the back of a shrimp which is not recommended to eat and is usually cleaned out before consuming. Or better yet, for the context of this article, a mud vein is where we store all of our icky stuff that we don’t want to acknowledge we have within us…the human mud vein where all of our shit collects, our flaws, and our disgusting imperfections. We all have a mud vein, we all have parts of ourselves we turn away from and wish we didn’t have.

The book Mud Vein by Tarryn Fisher is far from anything icky or shitty nor is it your average fictional tale. It’s a love story. A love story of epic proportions. A story mud_vein_ebook-1-200x300about learning to love yourself completely, wrapped in the guise of a psychological thriller. At least that’s what it was for me. When you begin reading this fast paced mind-bender your only questions are “What IS happening?” and “Who did this to her?” but by the time the last page is consumed, you realize those weren’t the questions you should have been asking. Instead you walk away asking yourself; what darkness is inside of myself that I need to understand? What haven’t I accepted about myself? What are those flaws that I need to embrace as a part of myself in order to be completely me?

One of the best feelings is when a book stays with you and doesn’t let you go. It’s an authors’ true legacy, writing words that fundamentally change you from the inside out.  And not because you don’t have the answers but because you walk away with more questions about who you are and who you want to be.

Reading Mud Vein was the first time I ever realized just how much I was learning about life, learning about myself through works of fiction, of romance, mysteries, fantasy, and young adult; none of which would be shelved within the self-improvement section and much of which would be considered subpar as far as books and writing goes. ILikeMyScars_MudVeinFor self-improvement type of reading I tend to look to experts like Elizabeth Gilbert, Brene Brown, or even Steven Pressfield. And for pleasure reading I lean toward a romance or even a young adult fantasy adventure. But here I was reading this creepy psychological thriller weaving its message of self-acceptance through the pages filled with pink Zippos, and carousel horses. Maybe I should have paid more attention to the section headings like Shock and Denial, Pain and Guilt, and Anger and Bargaining; those would have been my first clues that this thriller was going to be anything but average. In reality though, I have come to believe we are drawn to the types of books, fiction or otherwise, that are going to teach us and change us. Sometimes it’s a simple lesson, recognizing an attribute that a character has is also something we have within ourselves, and sometimes the lessons are much deeper like self-love. I realized I was learning as much about myself, if not more, from fiction books than I was learning from self-improvement books.

There’s a line in the book about how there are strings connecting people who are meant for us.

“There is a string that connects us that is not visible to the eye. Maybe every person has more than one soul they are connected to, and all over the world there are those invisible strings… Maybe the chances that you’ll find each and every one of your soul mates is slim. But sometimes you’re lucky enough to stumble across one. And you feel a tug. And it’s not so much a choice to love them through their flaws and through your differences, but rather you love them without even trying. You love their flaws.”
~Tarryn Fisher, Mud Vein 

Maybe books have that same type of string the one that pulls us toward them for the lesson they have to teach us. Mud Vein not only changed how I view myself, but in the end, changed the way I read. I no longer think of a book as purely entertainment. I look for the subtleties of what is being shown to me through the characters. I feel the words after I finish the last page. I am a little bit more me.

If you think fiction is only escapism, look again; look at those stories that changed you on a deeper level. Fiction can sometimes lead us to the truth of ourselves.

There is a teaser quote on the cover of the first edition of Mud Vein that reads “Only the truth can set her free.”

Yes, it did, Ms Fisher. I am truly free.

MudVein_UglierThanYouThink

Note: The book teasers were made by me with mad love for Mud Vein because I simply could not let go of the story, the characters, or the words and had to create something for myself after I finished.

Big LOVE for your Mud Vein….

xo

Christina2

Save

Save

Save

dontworry_keepwriting

Yes!! You will!! Because that’s how you roll….

You words, your voice, your story! Author coaching, writing and creative services for your best life and book!

~ Create out loud ~ Live out loud ~ Write out Loud ~

❤ ❤ ❤

xo,

Book Matchmaker

And remember that, in a world of ordinary mortals, you are a Wonder Woman.

I absolutely adore the resurgence of Wonder Woman! She made her reentry onto the silver screen in the current arc of the Justice League in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, more recently she made her debut on a commemorative stamp celebrating the 75th Anniversary of the iconic hero, and not to forget the release of the first official Wonder Woman movie in June of 2017.

Perhaps, though, what never left us is the idea that we can BE Wonder Woman. Strive to be perfect, and do it all, be it all, and achieve it all. We strive to be the hero of our own stories.

I LOVE this line: And remember that, in a world of ordinary mortals, you are a Wonder Woman. ~Queen Hippolyte, Wonder Woman 1975

wonderwoman1

What strikes me about it is that people go around thinking they are the ordinary ones while everyone else is a Wonder Woman, comparing themselves to others, seeing themselves as not adding up, when really it’s the other way around!

We are ALL Wonder Woman living in a world full of ordinary mortals if only we would stop looking to others to see how we are doing. STOP the comparison compromise. Believing that we are a mess, less than, less capable, less magical simply because we can’t see ourselves as the hero of our story. Because of the images we see on the computer screen shows us something different from what see in front of us in our own reality.

Being a creative and writing coach for authors, I see this all the time in the publishing industry. Authors feeling like they have to be a certain way, fit the perfect mold, do things a certain way, when the truth of the matter is: YOUR way is the right way, YOU are the mold! The real question is about YOUR OWN priorities, YOUR OWN goals. BE YOU.

If we saw ourselves as the individuals we are, with different purposes, different journeys, and that in this moment we’re doing okay, we would all be Wonder Woman in our own ordinary mortal worlds.

“A new journey to be started.
A new promise to be fulfilled.
A new page to be written.
Go forth unto this waiting world with pen in hand, all you young scribes,
the open book awaits.
Be creative.
Be adventurous.
Be original.
And above all else, b
e young.
For youth is your greatest weapon, your greatest tool.
Use it wisely.
“*

And always BE YOU!

❤ ❤ ❤

Xo,

Christina2

*The above quote is taken from Wonder Woman # 62 by George Perez.

Save