On writing... {oh wait, someone else already wrote that}

Reading usually precedes writing and the impulse to write is almost always fired by reading. Reading, the love of reading, is what makes you dream of becoming a writer.

~Susan Sontag

Yup. What she said!

There truly is nothing more inspiring than reading someone else's really great writing to get your own writing juices flowing. And right now, I feel like a flood-swollen river is raging through my brain.

I have just finished reading all of the Five Star Friday posts from Schmutzie's  weekly weblog round-up and all I can say is...

OH. MY. GAWD. It was one helluva good week for the writers of the interwebs!

I can't possible recap all of it, so just head on over there and read them all! It is well worth your time, I promise. (Also, I may be full-on fangirl crushing on Schmutzie right now, she really is kind of super-duper awesome!)

And speaking of WRITERS.

I said it last night.

Someone asked me what I do and I said, " I am a writer."

I am not sure that all would 'technically' agree with me on this one, but it is how I feel about myself. It is how I want to feel and think  about what I am doing with my life and since it now is what I am doing (in between all the mothering, wife-ing and life living stuff), I am going to say it again.

I am a writer.

I may not be a particularly GOOD writer just yet, but I am getting there. I am truly focused on becoming better at this craft and am right now setting new goals for myself in this regard! I have made the very tough decision to forgo any major blogging conferences this year in favor of taking a few creative writing courses and finding a great writing retreat or seminar to attend. I am getting serious here people!

And something else happened today. An idea popped into my head. One that has never happened before. A fictional idea.

A BOOK idea.

I have never thought of myself as a fiction writer (well, let's be honest, I have not really been thinking of myself as a writer at all until very recently), so the fact that I had this little brain toot today kind of came as a surprise to me. And I just can't stop thinking about it.

That must mean something right?

Now before I start getting WAY too ahead of myself, I figure I am going to need a few things to get me to the point that I (and others) can feel more comfortable identifying me as a writer. To that end, I am arming myself with some tools of the trade recommended to me by some amazing writers that I love and respect.

First up, On Writing, A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King.

Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE that I know, who has read this book has said that it is life {and craft} changing! I have just finished reading the first two of his three forewords and I can already see that this will likely be the case for me too.

And because Mr. King said so in the second of the aforementioned forewords, the other tool of the trade that I am arming myself with is Strunk & White's The Elements of Style. I figure if I am to be any kind of writer, it is probably a good idea to have THE essential book of writing at my disposal. I am sure I am breaking all the basic rules of writing left, right and centre every day here, some of them I recognize, others I do not. Let's hope this helps me recognize the really awful ones and remedy what I can!

Writing is a funny thing. It is freeing, it is strangely addictive and it is incredibly empowering. It taps into that part of me that I often keep hidden deep inside. It lets me exercise my brain, work out my thoughts, ideas and feelings and it is something that is mine. ALL mine. I mean, I share it with all of you of course, but these are my words, my thoughts, my prose.

What I write may not always be that important or interesting to everyone, but for me, every sentence that I type is one step further into this world of words and thought and imagination that makes me feel whole.

And for the last few days all I keep thinking about are the books and blog posts and essays that I have read that have changed my life and I am wondering what it would feel like to be the one who wrote the words that actually did that for someone else....

Natasha~

 

Love thy Labels.

No, not the ones on your clothing or your car or your purse. I am talking about the ones we give ourselves, the ones others give us, the ones that we use to define who we are.

There has been a lot written this past week about labels and about using our words well, especially when speaking to or about mothers and/or our parenting choices and styles.  The lovely Amber McCann wrote this post and it really got me thinking about the labels we use daily. And then I read Claire Weissinger's essay entitled "Watch Your Language" and that gave me even more food for thought.  I agree with these ladies wholeheartedly that yes, words are very, VERY powerful. If they weren't, would the blogging world be what it is today?

Words do a lot of things.

They connect us.

They divide us.

They make us feel good and yes, they can make us feel awful too.

And words define us.

Take a look at yours and anyone else's profile or bio on any of the multiple social media sites you are on and you will likely see things like this:

"Breastfeediing, Cloth Diapering, Co-sleeping, non-vaxing, home-schooling, crunchy mama to (insert # of children here)"

"Tech mommy"

"Geek Chic"

"Writer"

"Liberal"

"Conservative"

"Nutty"

"Foodie"

"WAHM", "SAHM", "SAHD"

"Artist"

"Breast Cancer Survivor"

"Entrepreneur"

"Mompreneur"

"Feminist"

"Vegan"

"Lactivist"

"Attachment Parent"

And the list goes on and on and on and on....

These are the labels that we give ourselves. The ones we write down or type into our iPads and laptops and smart phones and put out there for the world to see.

We do this for one reason.

We do this for connection. To say to the world-wide web, "This is me and I like me. Are YOU like me?"

I like to call this finding your tribe. And really, is this not the first thing you tell people who are new to social media sites? Especially Twitter? We tell newbies to "Go forth young tweeter and follow people who have the same interests as you. The ones that validate your own labels and share your beliefs." At least that is how it starts right? And then you find other people or they find you, and maybe they question your labels and beliefs and then Wowie, Zowie, you learn something new-either about yourself or the world!  Or you just block them. ;)

I personally have chosen the label "Lipstick Crunchy" for myself. I am crunchy in the sense that I use cloth diapers for my children, I breastfeed said children to at least age three, I am such an avid babywearer that I have sought certification as a Babywearing Educator, I buy local & organic food as much as I can and I eliminate as many toxic chemicals in our house as possible. And I have a secret obsession for all things tye-dyed!

I am Lipstick in the sense that I spend at least $150.00 every few months on my hair (but I do get bonus points here because my stylist uses organic hair dyes). I have no problem wearing leather in the form of a really gorgeous and killer pair of chocolate-brown knee-high boots, I do NOT own any full length 100% hemp skirts, and I just can't DO mama cloth or family cloth because of the 'ick' factor. I believe that holistic and modern medicine can co-exist and that vaccines are important in our world (just maybe on more of a delayed/extended schedule than currently recommended). Oh yeah, and the new Smarties with their 'no artificial colours' - HATE THEM! And yes, I still eat Smarties-even though Nestle makes them (don't all GASP at once)!

There are many other reasons that my label fits me and I am GOOD with all of them. I am proud of the person that I am (I have worked damn hard to get here) and if I have to write a bio somewhere, you can bet that I am going to write my label down for all to see.

So, yes, words are powerful. We DO have to watch how we use them in this blogging, Twittering, Facebooking world. But I say we should also embrace them and OWN them. When that happens, then NO ONE can use those words and those labels to hurt you or make you feel bad or guilty about anything!

Live it and love it!

Natasha~