A Successfully Crappy First Draft!

So I’m taking a writing class for my own fun and interest, and I just had an epiphany about perfectionism in writing.

Like many of us, I want my first tangible efforts to be…well…better than actual crap.  I know it won’t be ferpect right out of the gate, but I at least would like to know it is heading in the right direction.  I figure my inner editor counts as cleaning up the first draft in my head, and what gets past her and into print for the first time is really my second draft, right?  Or at the very least, a better first effort?

Yeeaaahhh….not so much.

Okay, okay, I was already aware that a more successful route is to just get it down in print, and work with it from there.  Easy to know, harder to own. Apparently I’ve been confusing successful with production and not process.  Even though it sounds simple to write a little bit every day and just barf it out with the ability to come back and clean it up later, it turns out that I’ve been writing more like an anorexic than a bulimic.  Either way, I’m malnourished.  Perfectionism? Me? What?

Anne Lamott, spunky author of Bird by Bird, delivered my aha! moment: purposely write a “s**tty first draft”.

Now, practically even better news than that of short assignments is the idea of s**tty first drafts.  All good writers write them.  This is how they end up with good second drafts and terrific third drafts.  (21)

The first draft is a child’s draft, where you let it all pour out and then let it romp all over the place, knowing that no one is going to see it and that you can shape it later….There may be something in the very last line of the very last paragraph on page six that you just love, that is so beautiful or wild that you now know what you are supposed to be writing about, more or less, or in what direction you might go–but there was no way to get to this without first getting through the first five and a half pages. (22-23)

I’ve read this idea before, but today it just adhered to my cells.  I went from knowing that it is okay to have an icky first draft to understanding that it should be an icky first draft.  It’s whole milk that produces cream, you can’t get that from skim.

This is something I can wrap my head around: I can create the perfect crappy first draft, I’ve been stifling it all along!  Ha ha haaaa…

Seriously though, I sat down with my journal to play.  And I gave my inner editor some time off, inviting her to come back when I had something for her to review rather than preview.  Since she was pretty exhausted, she felt this was a good idea and promptly took off for an Arabic bath (thank you, Jenny Morbey Makes!).  I haven’t seen her since.

Sitting down and playing was…super fun!!  Letting go, I flew instead of walked,  I ate lobster instead of sandwiches, and I colored with the whole box of Crayola instead of my #2 pencil.  I am no longer the same.  Oh, I’m gonna do that again!  And again.

A successfully crappy first draft nourishes the creative garden.  I can’t wait to see what grows!  I’ll even invite my inner editor back for the harvest–but only after she enjoys her vacation.

How To Create Your Own Wildflower Meadow

photo from American Meadows

The Very Inspiring Blogger Award!


A very warm and heartfelt thank you to AP from the beautiful The Belief Blog for nominating A Wisdom Within for a Very Inspiring Blogger Award!  Your writing continues to elevate me, and I am grateful for your support.

The guidelines for accepting this peer award are as follows:

1   Display the award logo,

2   Link back to the person who nominated you,

3   State 7 things about yourself,

4   Nominate 15 other bloggers for this award and link to them.

7 Things About Me:

1. One of my favorite songs is Ode to Joy.

2. I have a secret desire to learn to speak German via Rosetta Stone.

3. I once rescued a kestrel with a banged-up wing.  My creative husband named him Sir Flap-A-Lot. (The falcon successfully healed and flew away.)

4. I happily live in a small log cabin.  Yes, it has an outhouse.  No, it’s not our only bathroom.

5. I totally won the kid lottery with my two sons.  They’re now teenagers, and I still say that.

6. Much like the Pirates Who Don’t Do Anything, I have never been to Boston in the fall.  But it’s on my bucket list.

7.  I could not have asked for better parents.  Way to go, God.

I acknowledge and fully understand that some of my Nominees have chosen not to participate in blog awards. For that reason I have not disturbed their decision by letting them know of this nomination. However for the purpose of sharing with you those blogs that I find inspiring, here they are:

1. Stand Upon Grace

2. Leaf and Twig

3. Rohan Healy

4. Smile, Breathe, and Go Slowly

5. Beyond the Dream

6. Work from the other side

7. Madisyn Taylor

Be sure to visit these, especially when you can take your time and absorb their beauty.  Or click quick and come back additional times, that works too!  I’m learning about more and more awesome blogs, my baby step strides are expanding as I grow.  Share the love!

All Is Well

All Is WellAll Is Well: Heal Your Body With Medicine, Affirmations, and Intuition is a collaborative by the indomitable Louise Hay and the dauntless Mona Lisa Schulz.  The book is a how-to guide that integrates healing methods, addressing health in these areas: medical, holistic, nutritional, and emotional.  It weaves intuition and logic, emotions and fact–and produces specific direction to address and improve health.

After a brief and informative background and purpose, we jump right in a self-assessment quiz.   It is safe and not scary, and it is a helpful tool to use throughout the rest of the book.  You do not need to currently have a condition or issue to read the book, and taking this quiz will not create one for you!  I found it helped attune me to the approach and purpose of the chapters, and will also be useful in the future (and as a parent).

The chapters are organized by chakra, or energy centers.  They address related symptoms, share clinical case-study examples, and provide specific actions and attitudes that will increase and maintain health in these areas.  The writing flows personably and is easy to understand.

At the end of the chapters is a resource table, a quick-guide for affirmations to address specific issues.  This is easy to navigate, with three areas: Problem, Probable Cause, and New Thought Pattern.  It is arranged alphabetically by Problem, and again is incredibly reader-friendly.

Through this book we are able to see a greater depth of patterns in how our thoughts, emotions, and physical health are connected, which I believe gives the individual greater power over their own wellness.  It gives equality to medical science and personal intuition, never suggesting one over the other.

If you have ever read Louise Hay’s “little blue book”, you are already familiar with this type of content.  However, the addition of Dr. Mona Lisa Schulz presents the science behind what already makes sense.  The depth she brings is a beautiful complement, resulting in an active guide to return to repeatedly, that should be on everyone’s resource list.

Hay House graciously gave me a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion of it.  I got a huge chuckle out of the chakra chapter titles and how they connected recognizable song titles to related energy centers.  If nothing else piques your interest after reading this review, please go look at a purchase site that lists the chapters, and share my giggle!

Hay HouseAmazonBarnes & NobleChapters Indigo

The Second Rule of Ten

The Second Rule of TenA must-read!  As with its predecessor, The First Rule of Ten, the story successfully crafts a murder mystery that is wholly plausible yet unpredicted by the reader.  At the same time it subtly wears as an unintended (?) self-improvement book simply through reader identification with the main character, Tenzing Norbu (Ten, for short).  I feel I am able to approach my own regular daily life in a more mindful way, because I have viewed Ten’s.  I picked this story up for the mystery, yet am also carrying away its Mystery!

Although an ex-monk, Ten is also an ex-cop.  He is now further into creating his life as a private investigator, yet maintains his Buddhist principles.  The result is a very human individual with integrity, going about his business of figuring out life–which reads very well!

As a fan of Sherlock Holmes, modern-day police procedurals are not my favorite form of mystery fiction–I prefer the historical aspect rather than drugs, gangs, and f-bombs–but I am hopelessly addicted to this Dharma Detective!  Again, it’s the winning combination of a thoroughly enjoyable character and an intelligent challenge of a puzzle! I’m glad to see that a Third Rule of Ten is in the works, it can’t arrive fast enough for me.  Boy, I hope there will be more than ten….

A Hollywood director’s murder. The possibility of a love interest relationship. Gang warfare.  Attending to friendships.  Crime scenes.  Father-son dynamics.  Tattoo parlors and car chases.  Mindfulness and presence.  Sex, drugs, and meditation retreats–this story has it all, and you won’t be disappointed!

Those who like mysteries will love this puzzle.  Those who enjoy character exploration will devour this authenticity.  Although reading the first book is not necessarily a prerequisite for reading this second one, you are really gonna want to just for the sheer joy of the whole story experience!  (Oh fine, read the first one after you read the second one if you want!)

Hay House graciously gave me a copy of this book simply in return for my honest opinion of it.  Little did they know I’ve been waiting for this to be released ever since I read the first one on my own when it debuted!  Now I’m in the same boat for the third….  What would Ten say about patience?!   Read the books!

Hay HouseAmazonBarnes & NobleChapters Indigo

Liebster Blog Award!

liebster award medallionThank you to Stand Upon Grace for your gracious nomination of this humble blog!  It is received with heartfelt appreciation.

Take a side trip along a scenic gravel road to Wendy’s homestead here: http://standupongrace.wordpress.com/    Refreshments are readily available, for both body and spirit!

For information on the enigmatic history of The Liebster Award, click on the medallion above.

5 Random Things About Me:

1. I was going to be a writer one day…now I write.

2. I used to reason…now I intuit.

3. I used to process as a way to produce…now I release the outcome.

4. I used to seek approval…now I know I am enough.

5. I used to seek authority…now I am my own maven.

Wendy’s 5 Questions:

1. What is your favorite recipe?

Have to say our stovetop-popped popcorn!  Maybe it’s the three popped kernels in the 1/4 c. canola oil heated at med-high heat (8 on the dial), that signal it’s time to pour in the rest of the heaping 2/3 c. of Jolly Time White goodness.  Perhaps it’s the teasingly loose knob on the copper lid of the handed-down, dedicated, pot-bellied, aluminum pan seasoned with generations of communal snacking love.  Could it be the dusting of finely ground popcorn salt combined with the 2 Tbsp. of melted buttery drizzle?  Likely it’s the family and friends gathering over the generously-sized bowl of popcorny goodness–serves everyone!

2. How do you show/express love and kindness to others?

Actually, I resonate with all five Love Languages, which I find kinda interesting.  It’s love to take the time to learn how the other best receives, and then present to them in that form.  It’s love to also express to them in your own mode.  Love provides acts of service but does not cross the line into servitude.  Love freely gives credit and compliments but does not overstep into patronizing.  Giving it some thought, I realize that I think about what I can do to honor the other person in that moment, without dishonoring myself; to give support and encouragement for the other to confidently go forward in their lives from there.  Very good question, Wendy!

3. What are your favorite ways, or activities, to spend time with those you love?

Family Movie Nights!  (With popcorn, see above!)  Sharing chores, indoors and out. Eating our meals together.  Trips to town for groceries and supplies.  Kids’ activities and events. Seasonal awesomeness such as fishing, hunting, cross-country skiing, time at the cabin. I’ve had people tell me that we spend an uncommonly large amount of time together as a family, but I disagree that it’s unusual–perhaps they are just speaking from their own patterns, which is understandable for all of us.

4. What words do you live your life by?  What is your motto, or mantra for life?

Illuminating another’s candle does not diminish my own light.

5. What is your wildest dream?

To write full-time from my home in a manner that supports my family, inspires readers, and sustains my spirit!

liebster blog 3

My Nominees:

Jenny Morbey Makes  http://jennymorbeymakes.wordpress.com

Leaf and Twig http://leafandtwig.wordpress.com

Dianne Gray http://diannegray.wordpress.com

Cristian Mihai http://cristianmihai.net

AP http://thebeliefblog.com

My 5 Questions:

1. Create three sentences using this format: “I used to…now I…”

2. Who in your circle of family and friends are you most similar to, and why?

3. If you had a surprise day off from your regular life, what would you do today?

4. Pick an archetype that has lately been speaking to you; introduce who it is and share their message.

5. What is your favorite routine maintenance task or chore?  Your least favorite?

For those with blogs chosen for the award– copy and paste the award in your blog. Tell who nominated you with a link to my blog. Share five random things about yourself and then answer my questions. When that is all done, nominate five bloggers that you follow and send them the rules, creating five new questions for them to answer along with their random things.  Have fun! liebster2

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