Stepping into the forest of my mind

Stepping into the forest of my mind
Just as every journey begins with a first step, every story begins with the first word.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

An Academic Foundation Can Be Had
Remaining positive for the
  new draft of my college memoir
All I needed was time.  But that’s what I lacked.  Or so it seemed.  Many times, the older students have fulltime jobs and/or a family to care for.

            I fell under the “family” category—all five of them.  As I’ve said before, my oldest daughter is special needs.  She required more of my time for her education to be a success.  My children were my life.  Their future was in my hands.  I couldn’t mess it up.

            But so was mine.  I couldn’t mess up my future, my education either.

            So I started studying the college’s idea of basic math that summer before I began college.  I bought a used math textbook at the college’s book store and tried to figure out percentages and fractions and basic algebra.  I even took the text and a notebook on our family’s camping trip.    

            Somehow, the math didn’t seem so basic to me.

            I drove my poor husband nuts each night for two weeks.  After days of hiking the Appalachian Mountains in Virginia with young children, after trying to feed seven people with one old two-burner Coleman stove, after campfires, telling stories and putting them all to bed, he was not in the mood for math.  [Imagine that!]

I needed to wait for the basic skills math classes to begin at college.

Luckily, some of that basic math helped out in a funny little requirement called college-level science because there wasn't a basic skills class for science.  The only drawback with my college science course was that Chemistry was all new to me.  It’s true, ladies and gentlemen; I didn’t know what a periodic table was.  And don’t even ask me what all the little numbers meant!

            Then there was the literature.  No basic skills classes here either.  I mean I heard of Shakespeare.  Not Homer.  Never read either's work.  I hadn't even read Hemingway.  I didn’t have literature in high school.  I didn’t know people wrote books about journeying through Hell.  I read mysteries and adventure stories.  I needed to start collecting literature and begin reading before classes.

            The traditional college students, the ones entering college directly from high school, possessed all this foundation.  I couldn’t cope in college without it.  I needed to make the time to obtain it. 

Did you find your college preparatory classes in high school truly prepared you for college?

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

An Insecure Writer’s Support Group Post: Writers helping Writers

Hello and welcome everyone to my first Insecure Writer’s Support Group post.  The topic this month is: What's the best thing someone has ever said about your writing?

For me, it was: “Your story is interesting.”  I received this comment for my memoir about attending college with five children in tow from an experienced writer.  A good writer.  A writer I admire.  And my first thought was, whew!  Now I can sleep nights. 

Then I started thinking, but what do I do now?  “Interesting” is only part of the writing process. 

I’m still floundering in the dark about this. 

I am a concrete thinker and writer.  You see I overthink my writing.  Constantly.  Even my blog posts and facebook notes.  I fret, I fuss.  My college journey was quite difficult because of all this.  I thought for sure the family would disown me before I graduated. 

The only way I can think to move forward on my memoir is to apply some of the tactics I used to get through college.  

Lock Inferiority in a closet—preferably one far from where you write and create.  This way you won’t hear her rattling the doorknob.
Trick yourself.  Tell yourself that what you write is only for you.  No one else will see the poop you create.    
Go for a walk—just you, your thoughts, and your doubts.  Don’t be afraid to get inside yourself and listen to yourself.
Talk to yourself.  Go ahead.  I do this all the time.  [Since we’re not supposed to lie, I’m not going to say that I always get good answers.]
And reward yourself if you stay seated [or standing nowadays] writing at your computer or by hand for any length of time.  You deserve it.

Well, it’s time for me to use some of my advice and move forward on my memoir.  Please feel free to offer some advice of your own to move forward on any project you begin.  It would be greatly appreciated.  All the best to you.  

This post was written for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group.  We post on the first Wednesday of every month.  To join us, or learn more about the group, click HERE.