Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

Posts Tagged ‘#SundayBlogShare

Sunday Thoughts — Advice for the Downtrodden

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Folks, it’s Sunday, so I’d like to reflect a little bit on what’s been going on, both with me and the world (as far as I can tell, at least from this little corner of it), as I have a tendency to do on what most of the Westernized world considers to be the Sabbath.

Right now, I’m working hard on three different edits. I also have several writing works-in-progress I’m trying to devote some time to, and I also do what I can to help family and friends enjoy life (or at least not hate it quite so much) by reminding them that they, too, are valuable.

Life shouldn’t just be about work, you see. As wonderful as work can be — and I do enjoy, very much, my work as a writer and editor — it isn’t enough to give you personal satisfaction at a deep level.

Caring for others matters. Even when they can’t show you, it still matters. Because it’s done not to help you feel better, but to help them feel better. And virtue, sometimes, has to be its own reward…even if it does not seem like it at the time.

But how do you keep caring, keep trying, and keep reaching when you feel like your own, personal well of inspiration is dry?

I don’t have the answers to that. But I do know that if you give yourself some credit for all the effort you put in, even on the worst of days, you can get up the next day and try it again.

Everything you do matters. Whether it’s tangible or not, whether others realize it or not, it still is important. And I believe we were put here on this Earth to realize that very fact; that we are meant to not only improve ourselves, but to help others, and to feel less alone while doing it.

I may not be putting this the world’s best way, mind. I’ve still been fighting the vestiges of bronchitis, and also have been working a great deal (thus the not-so-much blogging I’ve done over the past week to ten days).

But I know this to be true: You do matter. To yourself, to the Deity, and to your friends and family, whether it seems like it or not. And whether they can show you…or not.

And you need to keep doing your best to use your talents productively, while encouraging others to do the same thing, because that, too, makes a positive difference in this world.

So if others are telling you that what you are doing doesn’t count, don’t listen.

And if you feel like your life is over, please believe me: it’s not.

Your viewpoint, your inspiration, your drive, your passion, are still there, whether you can feel them today or not. And you will use them to their utmost tomorrow, after you’ve rested.

Please, folks: Believe in yourselves, and believe there is a purpose for you being here. Do not believe in those who tear you down, and do your best to rise above, and keep rising no matter what negativity finds you.

That’s the best way to do good in this world that I know. And while doing your best, you may just find your way back to personal and job satisfaction…just a thought.

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#SundayBlogShare: When Writing Is Like Gardening…

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Folks, I recently took part in the Authors in Bloom blog hop, where the subject was either gardening or recipes. I talked about how I don’t garden (because I’m bad at gardening), but that got me to thinking…isn’t writing like gardening, too?

Think about it for a moment.

In farming, you get your plot of land, and you make sure it’s fertilized before you plant anything. Then you put your initial seeds in the ground and wait.

But in writing, this is when inspiration strikes, or when you first get an idea you can’t ignore. You get as much down as you can, knowing tomorrow you will keep building on your idea as you see fit.

So, you have to water, nurture, and weed your garden, just as you have to water, nurture, and weed your writing. (The weeding, in this case, would be self-editing.) Both are long-term projects that require a great deal of time, effort, and understanding in order to get anything done, and if you make a big enough mistake, your garden (or your writing) will not turn out the way you’d hoped.

Fortunately, you can correct your big mistakes with some forethought, nine times out of ten. And that tenth time, where you can’t, you can use for future reference as a guidepost of “what not to do,” so you still get something out of the experience…albeit not what you’d hoped for in the first place.

But life is like that, isn’t it? We don’t always get what we’d planned on. (In fact, we get what we’d planned on so rarely, it’s a miracle any of us still plan. But I digress.) We have to roll with the punches, whether it’s too much rain (too many distractions or life-interruptions), too little rain (not enough time for ourselves, maybe), too much fertilizer (we edited too much out), too little fertilizer (we haven’t edited enough)…the list goes on and on.

How do we grow anything worth eating, then? (Or how do we write anything readable?)

I think it’s a matter of trial and error on the one hand, and sheer bloody-mindedness on the other. We keep working at it until we find a process that seems to make sense, and then we go with that. And if one way doesn’t work, try, try, try again until you find a way that does.

That, to my mind, is how gardening and writing are alike.

What d’you think? Tell me about it in the comments!

Written by Barb Caffrey

April 2, 2017 at 3:20 pm

Hope: Just Do It

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It’s Sunday, and I was in need of spiritual sustenance. So I started thinking about hope, and its necessary qualities.

See, when you’re down, it’s hard to believe that anything matters. Life has given you a bunch of lemons, sour ones at that, and your attempts to make lemonade out of them don’t seem to be working…and it’s hard to believe in hope.

But you have to, because that’s when you need hope the most.

There’s a reason that hope was in Pandora’s Box. That one thing can make the difference between success and failure, because it reminds you that it’s all right to fail once in a while, just so long as you get up again.

It’s because of hope that I keep writing.

I realize that hope alone is not enough. But if I believe I have a good story idea, and do my best to flesh it out, I can use that hope and weld it to my will and work ethic to get something done.

I know this works. Because today, finally, after several weeks of illness and frustration, I did what was necessary and finished up my final edits with regards to my novel CHANGING FACES. My publisher has the file now, and aside from proofreading the PDF advance reader copy when it comes out (I’ll keep you posted on that), my work is now complete.

While I was feeling poorly, it was very hard to hope that I would be strong enough to do what was required. But I held on to my hope that I would do it, and I did it.

So that’s why the title above.

You need to believe in hope, because without hope, it’s nearly impossible to believe in yourself.

If you remember only one thing today, believe in this: Hope. Just do it. (For me. Please?)

Written by Barb Caffrey

January 22, 2017 at 5:53 am