Monday, July 30, 2012

more of those "what I've learned" notes

This summer has been full of learning experiences. I tried to hold on to some of those lessons and compile them into a post. Sorry in advance for any haphazardness! 

1. Your next story can come from anywhere. Seriously. Characters are all over the place. Dialogue is at the next table.  I read about an author who was ready to give up and sat on a park bench, lamenting over her failed career. A woman ran by with a red cap and it hit her: a brazen tomboy character who defines herself through running! 

2. Your next friend can also come from anywhere. Our family just moved and our new neighbors happened to have a daughter my age who is incredible: gorgeous, intelligent, talented, and humble. We've been in touch throughout the summer and I've already learned so much from her! 

3. If your writing seems stagnant, then stop for a bit. Just stop. Sometimes even inspiration needs a break, you know? 

4. Some of the people who will help you the most are the ones you may never meet. I can say that this is definitely true when it comes to my blogging friends. The encouragement, wisdom, and sheer knowledge I've gained from them is beyond what I could have from anyone else. 

5. Speaking (or singing...or anything) in front of people only gets easier if you keep doing it. I had to sing two friends' first dance songs at their weddings and then give my first talk in NYC (on medicine, gender roles, and writing...cue nerdy girl comments). In elementary school, I struggled with stage fright and found hints of it revisiting before these events. The only way it went left was to keep putting myself in those positions.

6. This comes from Maya Angelou: "When people show you who they are, believe them the first time.
It's not always about whether or not someone wronged you (everyone makes mistakes) but sometimes it's about how they've handled it. Some of the situations my girlfriends and I discussed involves those who victimized themselves, denied they did anything wrong, and/or ignored and showed obvious insecurity.  It's all just not worth your time! Wish them the best and hope you never cross paths again, lol. 

7. You can handle anything that comes your way. 

8. Tell people you love them. Nobody gets tired of hearing it. Ever.

9  Study your weaknesses. Then go beat them. No but really, find out what scares you or makes you nervous. Is it writing certain scenes? Is it building characters? Networking with strangers? 

10. Make something. Whatever you do, try to make something. For yourself, for others. I'm focusing on a women's health project this year and was watching television when bham! An additional project came to mind (focusing on maternal health). Yay!

“And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer.”
F. Scott Fitzgerald


  1. Great post! #6 and #8 are my favorites.

    1. Thanks, Anne! Congrats on your Kindle success :)

  2. We can handle anything. And yes, those who've helped me the most I may never meet because they are blogging buddies.

    1. Your blog is one of the most helpful ones out there, Alex!

  3. These are all great, hard to pick a favorite. Though I have to say #9 is where my energies have been lately.

  4. Laurel, same here! I'm still trying to understand my weaknesses.