Friday, December 23, 2016

how to be creatively productive

So the other day I attempted to write the second chapter of my novel. 


In forty-five minutes' time, I eeked out a total of three (incomplete) sentences, none of which vaguely resembled human speech. Yep, that's right: I ended up lying on my couch while all productive lifeblood drained away from my limp, lifeless body.

Image result for angry gif tumblr

In an attempt to Stimulate Productivity, and to help all you writers/bloggers/painters/musicians/sculptors/late-night-editing weepers out there, I give you:

*EGG TUPAC for short.
Click here for a motivational picture of said egg.
#rememberyourgoals #gah #notmyphoto #thethingsyoufindontheinterwebz #doublegah


1. Get Good Sleep: I know that getting good sleep might seem like the last thing you want to do, especially when your novel is just begging for you to write it til 3 in the morning (been there). But your body has to come first, and as I've learned, when your body ain't happy, ain't nobody happy.

Image result for squidward sleep gif

Seriously though, sleep will make you feel like A RADIANT HUMAN.
And Radiant Humans accomplish their creative goals. Just sayin'.

"The woods are lovely, dark and deep. But I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep." 
~ Robert Frost


Image result for no no no gif

2. Pray: When writing a blog post or a song or attempting to crank out even three measly sentences for my novel, I ask God to write through me and give me ideas (which is a prayer He's answered in super cool ways). 
"Everybody born comes from the Creator trailing wisps of glory. We come from the Creator with creativity." 
~ Maya Angelou

3. Take Frequent Walks: YES CHILD. It is so vital to get moving. I'm convinced that we lose all productivity when we try to sequester ourselves in our creative nooks and never leave. You need to interact with people and nature to get fresh ideas. Your mind needs to relax.

Related image

"It is the marriage of the soul with Nature that makes the intellect fruitful, and gives birth to imagination.
~ Henry David Thoreau


4. Music, Music, Music: When writing, music is VITAL. I like to listen to music that matches the scene but having some tunes that are wordless or otherwise hard to understand also help me to write. My current musical inspirations can be found here and here.

Image result for bob dylan sing gif

5. Nourishment: Once again, if your body ain't happy, ain't nobody happy. You need to constantly be drinking water and nourishing your body with healthy snacks so that you don't creatively crash. Reward yourself with yummy foods like mandarin oranges, Jazz apples (the best kind of apples tbh), or a granola bar.

"I ♥ food.
~ Moi

6. Vary Your Medium: Your brain can get grumpy if you focus too much on one project. Keep your mind guessing by writing a blog post,  then editing a chapter, writing a song, or painting for twenty minutes. That way, you make progress on many different creative endeavors without beating up your brain.


Image result for brain gif tumblr

(Thought about using this gif but it's just a little too traumatizing.)

If all else fails, use The Secret Weapon:

Image result for potato i believe in you


+ What about you? How do you get out of a creative slump? 
Any advice on, say, how to Actually Write Your Novel Like You Said You Would?

Sunday, December 18, 2016

blogger appreciation post

Related image
You might ask yourself what this photograph has to do with ANYTHING but it's actually giving me life. In the wide range of personalities that fill the blogging community, I'd like to think of myself as that sassy little lady second from the left.

I had many other post ideas for today (various topics include the impending glory that is Christmas and the fact that life is a beautiful thing and also how I'VE ACTUALLY BEEN PLOTTING MY NOVEL) but I just wanted to take a moment to post about how awesome all of you are. 


It's challenging at times, being a blogger. Keeping a blog filled with content is no easy feat, what with classes, work, church, relationships, family, and all the other mundane moments of life that insist on interrupting the creative process (Facebook, I'm looking at you). 

But it is such a beautiful thing to be able to, in essence, "do life" with y'all. 

I don't know about you, but technology just blows my mind sometimes. It's crazy to think how blogging connects people all over the world. You may live states or countries away, but we all share a common bond through our writing, and we can speak truth into one another's lives as easily as if we were neighbors.

Image result for harry potter whoa gif

This year I've been so blessed to read of your poetry and passions and pain. I've learned so much about y'all's lives and struggles and hearts for the Lord, and it has been one of the most incredible, rewarding parts of my blogging journey. 

To be a part of Burning Youth is incredible, and to read your honest comments and kind words and heartfelt posts just blows me away. To know that there are other young women out there who desire to follow their Father and create amazing things and change this world is beyond encouraging. 

So don't think for a second that you are without impact in this world: No, you are bright, and a beacon of light in an otherwise shadowy place.

The things you all write and create constantly and consistently inspire, motivate, and uplift me in my daily "offline" life. Y'all are heroes. You are the brave ones. You all are so strong, loved, and beautiful.


Image result for happy cry gif

All sappiness aside, I wanted to give you guys a big hug through my words today. To think that even a single wonderful human being would take the time to read this little oddball blog of mine means the world. Goodness. 

Keep creating. Keep burning bright. 

+ Now that I've sufficiently poured my heart out, we can talk about Christmas. CHRISTMAS IS COMING, GUYS. Have you bought an ugly sweater yet? Have a favorite Christmas song? Anyone else eating all the cupcakes?  

Friday, December 9, 2016

i'm actually going to accomplish something this winter break, i promise

So, this is it, folks. The semester has officially ended, and I, like Katniss Everdeen being lifted from the burning remains of the battle arena in Catching Fire, have just survived by the skin of my teeth.

Image result for catching fire katniss gif lifted out of arena


Normally my illustrious winter break consists of me sitting for days on end in a corner of my room, buried beneath blankets and surfacing only for food and to grunt at the occasional family member. Recovering from a stressful semester is a lifestyle, friends. I am the hermit, and the hermit is me.

Image result for introvert hermit gif

But this break, I am actually feeling Somewhat Ambitious(?!) and wanted to make a list of creative/human goals for my month off. Rather than just, you know, staying balled up in the corner and seldom moving.

Learn to play the banjo. I've been seriously procrastinating this one, guys. I bought a banjo back in like, 2013, and I've never taken the time to make much progress on learning how to play it. That is ok! There is time now! I shall put on my fancy finger picks and attempt to make music. And now that I've let you all know, I am just that much more likely to Actually Do It.

This is my banjo, Benji. Another mini-goal? 
Start taking photos for the blog again. GAH

Finally Write My Novel: Now, there is no excuse. Now, I cannot lie to myself and say that I have "so much homework" or that I'm "too tired" from work. Nope. I gotta write this sucker, y'all. And let me just say, reading everyone's NaNoWriMo posts has been super inspiring. What am I doing? Time to get moving.

Spend more time with God. I really need to get into a consistent Bible-reading habit. Because the earlier and more often I read my Bible, the less likely I am to bite my mom's head off when she smiles and says good morning to me in the kitchen.

Image result for angry mcr gif

This verse is currently giving me peace:
"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you  may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." 
~ Romans 15:13

Read all the things. I'm about 200 pages out from finishing the final Harry Potter novel (*fist pumps wildly and starts breakdancing a little*) but then I am going to need a new book/series to read. GIVE ME ALL THE BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS, PEOPLE. And the music recommendations, while you're at it. It's time I discovered a new band, a new album.

Bloggggg. I've got the time, I've got the ideas, I just need to...ya know, do it.

Image result for shia just do it gif

+ What about you? 
Are you on winter break yet? Do you have any goals or fun things planned for December? Only 16 days til Christmas, guys!! :)

Sunday, December 4, 2016

the love series: loving ourselves

You'll Be Amazed at These Reflection Photography Ideas ...:
˙ʎןɹɐǝןɔ sǝʌןǝsɹno ǝǝs ʇ,uop ǝʍ

I see it all the time: I see it in the beautiful girl who throws herself at men because she's secretly hurting. I see it in the insecure boy who lashes out at others so they won't see his pain. I see it in Instagram smiles and my own destructive thought patterns. I see it in the girl who feels like no one notices her and the teen whose parents aren't around.

I'm convinced that we don't know our worth.

If we did, perhaps we could see beyond bodies and beauty and boys and all the things that seemingly divide us, and just laugh together.

We are human, are we not? We are flesh and blood and soul and spine.
And not a one of us has it all together. We've all cursed and glared and hated in our hearts, even as we slide into our pews on Sunday morning. 

"Only the dead don't bleed when they're cut."
~ Beth Moore

I know this. Yet how often do I find myself wishing that I was different, that I was "perfect" like her, or at least more sociable? How often do I throw my energies into desiring to be something other than what I already am - wishing desperately that I was fitter, or a better guitar player, or that I actually pushed myself to write some of my novel once in a while?

Close your eyes, then you will find the way. ~ from a Puyallup Indian myth(  never go here ):
Don't get me wrong, these are all wonderful goals. But when I try to find my identity or worth or security or value in something external, something shifting, something so very temporary...I lose myself. 

I lose the beauty of loving the girl that occupies this body I call home.
I lose the gratitude that should brim forth from my lips in praise to my God.
I lose the joy of being a one-of-a-kind masterpiece. 

Do you love yourself?

We are all selfish and fixate on ourselves more than we should, so loving yourself may sound counterproductive. I find myself thinking:

Love myself? Wouldn't that just mean I fixate even more and more on me? HOW BIG DO YOU WANT MY HEAD TO BE?

I'm not sure if I'm depressed. I mean, I'm not sad, but I'm not exactly happy either. I can laugh and joke and smile during the day, but sometimes when I'm alone at night I forget how to feel.:
But I'm starting to think that the beauty of loving yourself has more to do with a proper view of God than anything else. Loving yourself isn't a selfish act. It's not a prideful, "Oh, look how great I am" mentality. 

Instead, it's waking up every morning and realizing that, just like the mountains and the moon and your mother, you are a beautiful creation of Christ. A fearful thing to behold. One of a kind. Art. You have infinite worth because you are a child of His

Think about this: A lot of us here in the blogging community are writers. We write like our lives depend on it. It consumes us. We love it! And we get a tremendous amount of joy from that act of creating, of making art.

But now imagine that one of the characters you hand-designed, that you dreampt up in your heart, that you poured love and forethought and intelligent design into, hated the way they were made.

Katia Chausheva:
Imagine if your character hated those blue eyes you gave them, the ones that remind you so much of that boy you like. What if they hated their laugh that is always just a little too loud, even though it's endearing to you and it makes your heart happy? What if they started to wish they were another character?

It seems to me that so much of what we do stems from how we think, or who we think we are. 

I was thinking the other day about my kids. No, I don't have kids yet, but one day I hope to, and I was thinking about what I want to tell them. How I want them to see themselves. What kind of example would I be setting for my kids if I had them right now? They would notice that I'm too frequently fixated on myself in a negative way. And they would start to imitate that.

You see, when we don't love ourselves, when we don't wrinkle our noses in joy at our oddities, our fun fashion sense, our quirky abilities, and even those little so-called "flaws," we fail to see ourselves as God does.

And I wonder, how can I say that I love God and others if I don't show myself that same love? That doesn't seem right to me.

I would never dream of talking to others the way I do to myself in my mind. It's appalling. Something's got to give.

“I’m thinking that all it takes to make fantasy become a reality are two words: yes, please.” ~Maya Stein:
"So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them."
~ Genesis 1:27

We have to learn to see ourselves the way God sees us. To hate ourselves is to not have a proper view of the person of Christ. We need to learn to believe that what HE says is paramount to anything this culture will scream.

I wanted to start off this series with "loving God" but somehow "loving ourselves" came first. I'm not saying that loving ourselves is going to fix everything. And I certainly don't advocate becoming full of yourself.

But coming to Christ with your self-image and identity struggles is the key. The more I come to God and read the Bible and cry out to Him, the more I see Him, others, and myself the way that I ought to. 

Today, Lord, help me to be grateful to be this particular human, not focusing on myself, but on who You are. Help me show deep love for You, others, and myself. Help me find joy and security in You alone. Help me to celebrate with those who celebrate, and cheer on those who are troubled. 

We are not mistakes.

We are vastly loved.