Inspiration Kindled

Reading, Writing, Living. Inspire each day!

Category: Writing

inspiring this week: personality, learning, vocation, purpose, & improving ideas

inspiring, trying to balance

Happy Mother’s Day!!!

This week has been a roller coaster ride.  If you’ve visited Inspiration Kindled at all, you might have seen my post on participating in the 1000 Day MFA.  In addition to that challenge, on Monday I spontaneously decided to join a Medium post-a-day challenge.  So far it’s been a really cool experience, but suffice to say it’s A LOT on top of blogging, reading/writing, running my FBA business, and being a mommy!

My family has also been struggling to get my husband situated with new work after he quit his residency in January.  Finances have been tight and tensions have been high.  I’ve felt at times like nothing I’m doing is making a difference to reach other people OR to help my family.

Despite this, I feel I’m ending the week on a high note thanks to my church’s Mother’s Day sermon this morning.  You can read my reflection on that here.  We all need a refresh once in a while, and I’m glad I have church and my family each weekend to give me just that.

My inspiration picks for the week:

From Inspiration Kindled:

Check out what I’ve gained from tackling the 1000 Day MFA on the blog this week if you missed it!

I’ve also posted A LOT on Medium as part of the post-a-day challenge.

Quote of the week:

“One of the things I learned the hard way was that it doesn’t pay to get discouraged.  Keeping busy and making optimism a way of life can restore your faith in yourself.” ~ Lucille Ball

As ever, wishing you an inspiring week!

what I’ve gained from tackling the 1000 Day MFA

1000 Day MFA

I first read about Shaunta Grime’s 1000 Day MFA DIY challenge a few months back.  It’s not an actual program, and it certainly doesn’t boast a real degree.  But what it does offer is an experience that will make any reader/writer more prolific.

To undertake the 1000 Day MFA, you must:

  • Read one short story, one essay, and one poem every day
  • Watch three movies every week
  • Write one short story every week
  • Read one writing craft book every month
  • Read one novel every month
  • Write one novel every year
  • Repeat for 1000 days

There’s an official facebook group for those participating.  The cost is $10 a month, and although I haven’t joined myself, I’m sure it’s worth it if you can come up with the money.

I was intrigued and inspired by this challenge, so much so that I read Shaunta’s article no less than five times.  It was something I told myself I’d maybe do someday, but couldn’t handle at the moment.  When I kept going back to it, and back to it again, eventually I bit the bullet.

I’m now three-plus weeks into my MFA journey, which in the grand scheme of things isn’t very far.  Here are a few things I’ve learned.

Writing Every Day Is the Best Idea Ever

Every writer waxes poetic about the benefits of developing a daily writing habit.  It’s not like I thought they were wrong.  My problem was that as much as I wanted to be a writer, writing was often painful for me.  IF I managed to shut off my inner editor, as one is supposed to do, I couldn’t shake the thought that every word I typed out really sucked.  I hated my perceived lack of control over what I was producing.

Notice I wrote that daily writing was painful, because it’s not so bad anymore.  On the ever-famous scale of ten, my writing has gone from around a nine to about a four.  I’ll take it.

So not only am I actually producing a heck of a lot more, I’m doing so much more willingly.  I’m braver now.  I’m less afraid.  I have a voice.  I even bit the other bullet and joined the Medium Post-a-Day challenge.

I don’t know what else to say about this, so I’m going to leave you with…

sky is the limit

Short Stories Are Awesome

I’ve never been a short story person.  Writing-wise, I’ve never been a short kind of person at all.  If an essay had to be five pages long, I’d often wind up in the vicinity of eight.

Since starting the challenge, I’ve written four short stories.  Four.  The first of these was around 3500 words, but the others have averaged in the 700s.  You have no idea how freeing this is.

Like anything else, writing is motivated by accomplishment.  Writing a short story every week has given me a rapidly-growing portfolio of completed work in seemingly no time at all.  I’m not giving up on novels, but I’m certainly a short-story convert.

You can read one of my stories, The Violinist, on Medium.

Essays Can Be Awesome. Sometimes. Maybe.

Does anyone read essays for pleasure?  Somebody must, as I’ve seen anthologies of them at bookstores.

I’ve never been tempted to pick up one of those books and read it.  Not even once.

Maybe this is because my understanding of essays is somewhat limited.  After all, my American education on essays consisted of a) writing them on some (often boring) assigned topic or b) forcing myself to read them in order use them as a resource for said assignment.

Not a very encouraging standard, I’m afraid.

Since beginning this challenge, I’ve forced myself to read maybe ten essays.  Another ten were okay to read – they at least had an interesting premise.  And then there were a few I surprisingly enjoyed.

I’m convinced now that essays can be pleasurable, and I’m determined to educate myself on the different types of essays and which kinds and which authors I find appealing.  Who knows: maybe I’ll even write one someday!

In case you’re interested, the essays I enjoyed are:

(I feel it’s important to note the not insignificant possibility that I read essays every day and enjoy them and don’t know they’re essays.)

That’s all on this for now, friends, but if you’re interested in this challenge, please do read more about it.  I may or may not share personal progress updates in the future!

inspiring this week: science, dystopia, avocados, groceries, & writing

This week, I’ve been attempting all the things.  Expanding this blog (I also published this week’s post on Medium, to no acclaim,) chugging along at the 1000 Day MFA, sourcing for my FBA business, visiting family, trying my daughter + the potty for the first time (this was not a good equation,)  and of course keeping my house clean.

So how has it all gone?  Pretty well, actually, aside from the potty training.  I have a new productivity system I’ve been trying out.  You’ll probably be hearing about it soon ;=).

For now, here’s my inspiring picks for the week:

Can Bill Nye Save The World?

An honest and thorough critique of Bill Nye’s new Netflix show.  Michael Schulson discusses fairly both the good and the problematic.  If you’re still on the fence about whether to watch, this may be the article for you.

I Grew Up In a Fundamentalist Cult – ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Was My Reality

This is so much more than another cult story.  It’s a frightening analysis of the current state of America, and a history of how we got here.

Avocado Mayo

My love of avocados is relatively new, but strong!  I can’t wait to try this recipe.

I Cut My Food Budget by 80% For 30 Days

The title of this article immediately caught my eye.  Though our family has a much smaller grocery budget than most, I still actively seek new tips to cut back.  But 80%?  80%!  Kate Jones offers a fresh perspective on typical grocery and restaurant spending as well as a great reflection on life and minimalism.

Dear Writer,

Art vs. Content, and why you need both.  Refreshingly honest.  Check it out here.

Now you can subscribe!

Also, I have some great news!  I finally have an email list, and I’d love it if you subscribed.  Starting soon, I’m going to be transitioning inspiring this week into a newsletter that includes an inspirational quote plus links to any blog posts I’ve published in the past week, and I want to make sure you still have access!  You can sign up at the bottom of the post <3

Wishing you an inspiring week!

inspiring this week: Spring = fresh starts

fresh start: a flower blooms in Spring

by Tom Ezzatkhah

I love a new month almost as much as I love a new year, or my birthday.  Especially when the given month – like April – is ushering in such an inspiring season.  For me, Spring represents a fresh start, and we all need those from time to time!  If you’re anything like me and are constantly looking for ideas and excuses for self-improvement, these might help you out:

  • Project 333 began its second round of 2017 on April 1st.  But don’t let that stop you – you can start any time!  If you’ve never heard of it before, the project is a minimalism challenge to utilize a wardrobe of only 33 items for three months.  You game?
  • I stumbled across Ninja Writers on a website called Patreon this week.  Patreon is a website where “creators” can start their own communities, share resources, and even collect funding.  You can also sign up as a Patron: join the communities of creators of your choice for a variable monthly fee (Ninja Writers started at just $1) and reap the rewards.  Pretty cool!

Ninja Writers offers several useful printables and guides for aspiring writers (like me).  The creator, Shaunta, also posts stories and such.  I’ll keep you updated on my thoughts as I poke around in the coming weeks.  I’m always excited to discover something new!

What plans do you have for the coming Spring season?  I’d love to hear about your fresh starts!  I’m personally most excited for trips to the park, gardening, and travel.

Wishing you an inspiring week! <3

Midnight Dance

Is it midnight already?

I close my eyes, then

Fussing, fussing

It doesn’t stop

 

Little girl on her stomach

Soaked clothes, wet sheet

Smiles at me with dancing eyes

I strip her and she starts to cry

 

Shh, shh child

Whatever is the matter?

Twisting, sobbing as I

Try to get her changed

 

Press her close against me,

Skin to skin

Try to nurse, try to dress

But the cat is here and it’s midnight and she wants to play

 

Wriggle wriggle

Dancing, jumping in my arms

Don’t you know it’s midnight?

She speaks to me and I know better, I answer back

 

I study her –

Chubby legs and rosy cheeks,

Wild dark hair

She’s the new reason I believe in God

 

She drinks, drinks

Little girl’s eyes droop back to sleep

Rocking, singing

I lay her down with urgency and reluctance

 

I know midnight will come again tomorrow.

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Of course when I go in to take a picture tonight, she’s on her back!

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