Saturday, April 16, 2016

How I Grew In Writing: A Guest Post

Today I have a friend of mine doing a guest post for me! Introducing the lovely Lydia. *drumroll*



Hey, guest writer here!

My name is Lydia and I am a blogger (among many, many, many other things) who runs two sites: A Little Bit of Joy and Gratitude and Be a Ray of Sonshine.

I used to think I did not enjoy writing, and I know I was not very good at it. Writing stories and poetry was a distant dream that I didn’t ever think would become a reality.

Step one to making a dream a reality- do something to work towards your dream! Just something. Anything. Break your dream down into small steps and take the first one. It doesn’t matter how small that step is, move your figurative foot. How do you think babies become marathon runners?

When I began keeping a journal around the age of 12, I was not consciously working towards becoming an author who blogs, writes stories, and enjoys expressing myself through poetry. Looking back, however, that was a good first step. (Aside from learning my ABC’s at the age of two, and learning to read, and write my name, etc, of course.)

Writing in a journal every night boosted my writing abilities tremendously and set me up for later success in other areas of writing.

The biggest thing I learned was consistency, but patience, how to sound interesting, good form, organization, etc also came with the territory. My vocabulary expanded as well, and writing so often, over time, improved the overall quality of my compositions, regardless of what I was writing.

Because I was in the habit of writing daily, later on when I wrote a short story for school and discovered that I truly enjoyed that process, I was excited to continue writing stories for fun and worked on them consistently.

Poetry was still something I was afraid to touch. But, once again, school assignments gave me the nudge I needed, just like the loving parent who moves their hand a little further away from the child reluctantly taking their shaky steps. What do you know? Poetry wasn’t as hard as it had always seemed and I loved it.

The foundation I had formed with consistent journal keeping and then short story compositions, boosted me further along as I began exploring poetic writing on my own. Even the thing I was afraid of came into range after taking the other steps in areas slightly less daunting.

Each time I took a step in my writing I got better. (Just like each time a baby moves, reaching for the hands in front of them they grow more steady.) Practice is the absolute best way to improve your writing. And be patient with yourself! It’s okay to fall on your face sometimes (or every few steps...), that’s part of the growing process. I promise, even though it hurts, it will help.

Open yourself up to criticism AND praise. You need both in order to know in what ways you can improve and in what ways you are already excelling!

Blogging was something other people suggested I get into. I didn’t find it scary (except for actually setting up the blogs...I am so not a “techy”), but it was still something new. I knew it would give me more opportunities to grow and improve and would open me up for both criticism and praise.

Once again, the foundation of consistency was one of the biggest boosts.

I first kept up with a blog on which I published my short stories and poetry as they came together. Then, it was suggested that I write a blog about my family, our life, joy, and gratitude. It took me a few weeks to get used to the idea, but, once I took the leap and wrote the first post, I was off running.

This family blog has been up for almost a year now and there has only been one time where I fell behind three weeks. Other than that one time, consistency has been easy, and I know it is because of the foundation I began building when I first started keeping my personal journal.

I feel like I am always writing.

*Stops to calculate*

Actually, I probably spend at least an hour to two hours every day writing. (Wow, I never thought about it before, that’s actually a lot and I don’t even really “feel” like a real author. Now, the fact that I have just written an entire post about writing, all the writing I do, my journey, yeah, you can laugh at me. I’m shaking my head. The things we never thought we’d be...God really does have a sense of humor!)

And I know I am always improving.

I don’t know when I started being called an “amazing writer” (I still am trying to grasp the fact that people think that about me), but I know I didn’t get here by waiting around NOT writing consistently. All this is to say, take the first step!

Be consistent.

Try new things.

Be open to criticism.

Graciously accept praise.

Get back up when you smash your face on the ground.

All this will help you grow, whether it’s writing, or any other dream you have. Go for it!

~~~~~

Doesn't Lydia have a fun voice in her writing? Trust me, she's even more awesome in person! Do her a favor and go check out her blogs and please feel free to interact with her in the comments this time :)

12 comments:

  1. I enjoyed reading your post, Lydia!! I've really tried writing in my journal, but I am always a few months behind... **hides behind screen** It's very easy for me to be consistent with blogging, but writing/editing...not so much. =)

    I enjoyed reading about your writing story!!

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  2. I really enjoyed this post, Lydia. I try to journal regularly, but sometimes I have large gaps between entries... ah well, something else to work on!

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    1. Yay! That's ok, just keep trying! For me it's therapy and helps me to process stuff, but if it feels forced for you, or you don't find that it gives you joy, then it's ok if it's not as high a priority!

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  3. Thanks so much for the post, Lydia! I really enjoyed reading through it. You made some really good points, and I think the one I struggle with the most is opening myself up to the criticism .. and praise. ;) . I want to know ways I can improve, but at the same time I'm so afraid to share my work with people I don't personally know. While I want their feedback, It still intimidates me. It's something I've been working on.

    Thanks so much for sharing your writing journey! :)

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    1. Of course! I'm so glad you enjoyed it! I can understand that. I had a hard time with it too, especially when I have thought I have done a good job and all I got back was criticism... It really is hard, but it's worth it to improve. And remember, the feedback you receive is not a negative reflection on you, it is simply someone else's opinion on what you've written and their intent in sharing that opinion, most of the time, really is to help you improve.

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  4. That was such a neat post to read, Lydia! The tips you have are very helpful and true especially accepting criticism because really that's the only way you ever improve your writing! This was a great post!! =)

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  5. This was fun! I love being in the writerly world. You get so many good tips!

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    1. I know, isn't it awesome. I told myself I'd only stalk 20 blogs at once, and I'm over 30 *ducks head*

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  6. Lovely guest post, Lydia!! :D Lots of great writing tips here! :)

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  7. The foundation I had formed with consistent journal keeping and then short story compositions, boosted me further along as I began exploring poetic writing on my own. http://www.generatemyresume.com/fun-video-resume-sample/

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