New Name for my Blog!

Hello lovely readers,

IMG_2433Welcome to my freshly updated blog, I Sing My Soul!

This space has been in a bit of limbo since I decided that I would not primarily be writing about my adventures in Izmir, Turkey (where I live). At first though, I didn’t really know what I would write about.

About a year ago, I changed the title simply to my first and middle name, Ingrid Claire, because all I knew for sure was that I’d be writing things personal in nature. I also obtained the corresponding domain name at that time. I wrote about the creative process, novel-writing, pain and sadness, and I also started using the space to share my poetry.

Over the past year, though I haven’t posted heavily, I’ve noticed that I most enjoy using this space to post poetry and other creative endeavors, and sometimes to share personal reflections. So, that is what my blog will focus on! Once this became clear in my mind, the new title immediately came to me, as it is also the title of a poem I wrote before moving to Izmir. You can find that poem and more thoughts at my updated About page.

You may continue to see some changes on the site as I get things settled, but for now, welcome again to I Sing My Soul! I hope to produce and post more consistent (weekly) poetry and other content but sometimes I hit writer’s block for a few weeks  months so sorry in advance when/if that happens! It’s a joy to hear from readers, especially if you are moved or encouraged by something I write, so please don’t be shy to make your presence known. 🙂

 

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The art of not giving up too soon.

I’m the kind of person who likes to start new things. I learn a little bit of a language. Practice guitar until I can play a few chords. Write half a poem. I inevitably get bored or stuck and suddenly – like magic – I have a new idea or a different thing to try out. New ideas are always fun and exciting. Anything is possible! The sky is the limit!

The gap between what I envision and what feels possible is not yet that big.

But once that giddy feeling wears off, I usually get tired of slogging through the grunt work of getting the darn thing done. Suddenly, everything but the project at hand seems infinitely more exciting. There are piles of dishes to wash in the sink? Score! Corners of my house that have not been vacuumed in 3 years? Thank God!

Suddenly the grand plans I had when I started this project 3 weeks days ago seem like a very ridiculous pipe dream.

BUT. The few times that I’ve actually pushed through that time in the doldrums have been infinitely rewarding. Three years ago I ran a half marathon, after several months of preparation. Believe me when I say those training runs did not feel magical. But I did them anyway. Currently, I’m trying to write a novel in a month. I hit a spell of the doldrums today and thought I’d not be able to write another word. But I sat down at my computer anyway (after a great brainstorming session with a friend, mind you). And suddenly, the words came.

I’m learning that usually, when I say I want something so bad, I don’t actually want it as much as I think I do. I don’t want it enough to suffer through the doldrum moments. I’m not willing to descend into the of mess and confusion, where I’ll have to battle my doubts and insecurities, and play through the pain. I want to climb up, without first going down.

This novel project is teaching me to embrace the mess. To keep going even when failure seems inevitable. If I give up now, I won’t see what’s possible if I persevere. A couple days ago, when I had about 18,000 words and was at least 10k behind schedule, I decided:

I want to see what I can do with the talent that’s been given to me. Tonight, I reached 30,000. I’m coming for you 50k, and I’m not giving up yet!

Lessons from the creative process

It’s now been a week since starting this crazy novel-writing project, and already I feel like I’m learning so much. I know I’m probably nuts for blogging mid-madness (wow, that’s a lot of insanity talk for two sentences) but I feel like I had to get these nuggets out before my characters stole and buried them in an undisclosed location.

  1. Stories are puzzles that come together slowly. This idea has been revolutionary. After days of writing scene after scene without a completely clear idea on where the story was going, I started to panic. How will these scenes connect to each other? Where is my story going exactly? Am I just creating a huge mess that I won’t be able to clean up later?? I sent out an emergency tweet, confessing my panic to the NaNoWriMo Twitter powers-that-be, and got a prompt response: “Wait ’til all the scenes are written. I think of stories as a puzzle, the scenes the pieces. At the end, assemble!” I breathed a sigh of relief. I guess I don’t have to have it all figured out yet!  I’m looking forward to being pleasantly surprised by the way the pieces fit together.
  2. Feedback required. But not too much. After several days, my story and characters decided to start banging their fists against the inside of my skull. Translation: I quickly found I needed to get the story out of my head. I shared my process with a select few – 5 to be exact – and have benefited from their questions about the characters and story. It’s helped me to see the story from different perspectives and consider different possibilities. However, too many more people involved would become burdensome. Find the right people and use them well. Yes, you must use people for their brains. Don’t worry, all 5 of you will be mentioned in the special acknowledgements of my novel if when it’s published. Fair?
  3. Chocolate can work miracles. That’s it. Eat lots of it.
  4. Make it fun! I’m following a couple NaNoWriMo Twitter handles, one of which offers “Word Sprints” throughout the day, every day. After every 10-30 minute “sprint” everyone tweets back their word count and sometimes shares a funny line they just wrote. This is one of those times I’m loving social media! Writing and other creative pursuits can be super hard (when it’s not a blast), so it’s good to have something that keeps it enjoyable and exciting. And bonus, I’m now interacting with two legit authors I met doing the sprints. We’ve been regularly motivating each other to write!
  5. Just do it. When it comes down to it, I’m learning that there is no way around the grunt factor of creating. The ideas and words don’t just magically plop into my head (well, not usually anyway). If I waited until I had the perfect idea or until my story made total sense to me, I would probably never write another word. I’m learning that sometimes you just need to get your butt in the chair, and do the work, even when your output feels less than stellar.