The Blinking Cursor

There are few things as intimidating for a writer as the blinking cursor on a blank page. Yet, it is at this moment that the writing that is yet to come seems to carry the most possibilities—before you’ve even begun typing. The piece has no direction, no idea to support, and no boundary lines limiting what is to come. There is total freedom and endless possibilities in this moment just before the creating actually begins. That might be why it is so scary to start writing. With each word that you write, you narrow in more and more on what you can say. With the first sentence, you’ve presented a direction for the piece and have drawn invisible boundaries for what you can say next. There is something really beautiful about the freedom that the blinking cursor represents for a creative mind, and yet, if we allow that cursor to keep blinking and choose not to write out of the fear of creating something less than perfect, nothing beautiful will ever get created at all. As creatives, we cannot stay in the place of the blinking cursor for long. We have to choose to just. start. writing. We have to learn to lean into the process and appreciate whatever product comes from it, no matter how imperfect it might be.

I wonder if this might apply to life outside of our art too. What does a “blinking cursor moment” look like in our day-to-day? Perhaps you are being challenged to pick a college or are trying to determine if the person you are with is the one you want to marry. Maybe you are debating between renting or buying a house. Maybe you are unsure of your next career move. It could be anything. Think about an area in your life that you are hesitating to make a decision, take action, or move forward. How often are we inactive simply because of our own fear? How often do we neglect to make a choice that moves us forward because we are afraid that choice might be the wrong one, or will have unexpected consequences, or will lock us into a path we don’t want to be on? This ought to lead us to ask ourselves the question: how long are we willing to stare at the blinking cursor?

With Love,

B

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The Journey of 1,000 Books

I recently saw a quote that completely rocked me as a writer.

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It was on a pin on Pinterest. (I know–shocker right?) Not gonna lie: Pinterest is one of the places that I frequently find profound encouragement and inspiration amidst the recipes I’ll never use and clothes I cannot afford. I. LOVE. IT. Anyway, this particular pin was a quote cited as being from Virginia Woolf that said, “Read a thousand books and your words will flow like a river.” What a beautiful thought.  It caused me to stop and think, “How much better/deeper/richer would my writing be if I had 1,000 books of inspiration behind it?”

(You can see this pin and other things I find beautiful/challenging/all-around-awesome on my “INSPIRE” board on Pinterest. http://pin.it/TGRfhW2)

Now, granted, this quote was probably meant as a figure of speech–simply suggesting that the more you read, the more writing and communication will come naturally to you or the better it will be, and, frankly, I have no idea if Virginia Woolf ever actually said this, but it challenged me nonetheless.

Y’all, I am an extremely goal-oriented person, and I was completely inspired by this quote, so I am taking it extremely literally. I have officially made for myself a new goal: to read 1,000 books and to document the journey, no matter how long it takes. I will post each book that I read and write a sentence or two of reflection or summary after each one, so you can come along with me in this new journey! Now, I am aware that this goal may take me most of my life to complete. Even reading one book every two weeks, this would take me over 38 years to accomplish, but you know what? I don’t care! I do not care how long it takes, because the fact of the matter is I do not want to ever be satisfied with the way that I write, the way I think or engage with ideas and people, or the way I listen and communicate. I want to be ever-growing, ever-changing, ever-learning, and what better way to start really allowing myself to grow in new ways and opening myself up to new ideas than to dive into as many books as I possibly can?

So come along with me as I navigate this journey of one thousand books, one thousand stories, one thousand new beautiful opportunities to learn… I cannot wait to see how God uses this to challenge me, to stretch me, and to lead me into new depths of knowledge, thought, faith, love, and understanding. You can follow this part of my story on the “Journey of 1,000 Books” tab.

So, dear ones, where do you think I should begin? What books have challenged, changed, stretched, or inspired you lately? What are your favorite stories? Share them in the comments! I’d love to hear what you LOVE to read.

You are so dearly loved and cared for–it’s ridiculous,

B

First Step

There is something about a quiet, grey Sunday afternoon–a stillness–that causes me to pause. It causes me to still my heart and try to remember who I am. And what I’m after. It’s times like these that I feel the most myself–in quiet, contemplative moments.

Today, I realized that I stopped writing almost a year ago. It has been a full nine months, to be exact, since I last published anything I’ve written. Putting that in black and white, staring that actual reality in the face…stirs up a lot of feelings in me: firstly, sadness. I can’t believe it’s been so long since I last put the metaphorical pen to the page, since I last sat down to write and gave it more than a moment of time, attention, and care. This reality also causes me to feel shame. Why have I neglected for so long something that I hold so dear? Why have I allowed it to slip away from me? When I stop creating, I stop operating in the way I have been wired to operate, I stop being most fully myself. And so I feel an anxious curiosity to know why I have seemed to lose myself over these last months. When did I stop writing? When did I stop composing? When did I stop admiring beauty and trying desperately to communicate it in whatever way I could? When…?

And to be honest, I really miss that girl. I miss the girl who was brave enough to share her heart, even if only 5 people would read it. The one who would stay up through the night to finish one post about love or life or adventure. I miss the woman who sought after beauty and vivid experience and then did her absolute best to translate it into clear written (and hopefully beautiful) language. I really miss her.  

There are moments in this season where I feel like I have almost completely lost who I am. Have you ever experienced this? It’s kind of like your heart takes a backseat while your mind and body go into autopilot and just do whatever it takes to get through the day. There are moments of wondering if the passion is gone for good. If that person that you used to be was just naive or an immature manifestation of someone that’s just not practical to be.  

But then there are moments…

Usually briefly-noticed but poignant enough to leave behind a slight stirring in your heart…

Moments where the coffee smell hits your senses just right…

Or the breeze is just cool enough to wake you up all the way down to your fingertips…

Or someone smiles…

Or says thank you…

Maybe you see something beautiful…

Or someONE beautiful…

Or you laugh and are reminded how capable of beauty and light and joy you really are…

And suddenly, for a moment, you realize that you are okay, or at least… that you are capable of being okay. And maybe that’s all you need right now. To remember that you are not a lost cause. That your happiness is not an impossibility. That you are capable of life and health and vivid experience again. 

And maybe your profound un-okay-ness is actually something beautiful, too. Maybe the discomfort that you are feeling now is rooted in your identity–the person you were created to be–screaming to be heard, to be noticed, if by no one else, then at least by you.  

Dear friends, this is where I find myself today–searching, trying to find the creator, the dreamer, the believer in wild and beautiful things that I know I am. That I know I was. That I can be again. I know that girl is not gone. Because she is who I was always meant to be. And I am determined to find her again.

So, consider this blog post my first tiny step towards finding that girl, the one who dreams big, loves hard, and takes risks–even if those risks are as small as sharing a blogpost on Facebook. Here it is. My first step. 

With Love,

B