Category: Late Blooming Writers

WRITING FOR CONNECTION – #WednesdayWisdom #AshWednesday

WRITING FOR CONNECTION – #WednesdayWisdom #AshWednesday

JournalingToday, I need to write, to lay out in words on a page the cacophony that has taken up residence within me.  Not writing too often leads me to bouts of irritability, depression or sleepless nights. I used to write in a journal every night before I went to bed. That was years ago, before kids, before I married. I lived alone. No TV, no phone, no close friends.

PATHWAYS

Writing in a journal led me down such interesting paths in those days. Each night, I grabbed my notebook and pen and climbed into bed, eager for a conversation with a caring friend. I began with whatever came to mind, often with no particular forethought. The process of writing loosened my unconscious thoughts and opened the floodgates that kept me locked within myself. The more I wrote the lighter I became and I eventually flowed into exhortation and prayer. When I put down the pen I felt stronger, a bit more whole, my spirit solidified.

‘the world will never starve for want of wonders;
but only for want of wonder’

I believed the Divine was alive in me then, as I do now, alive in all of us. We simply need to find our point of entry.  Writing became my vehicle of communication, a daily dialogue with the great beyond. I was not clear where the two worlds met other than in that very private and personal space. It didn’t matter. Inner peace is worth a few unanswered questions.

I set down my pen for years. Lost in the world of doing and becoming. The connection weakened. The communication severed.  I could not find a way for the two realities to meet. I experienced this great divide for the first time after returning home from church camp. Longing to share my experiences I reached out to the one person I thought would understand, my mother. She was unable to cross the bridge from her world to mine and the wall between my experiences and the “real” world thickened. Eventually I gave up trying to talk about it. Doing so only made me feel more alone than I already did.

THE GREAT DIVIDE

This great divide ultimately led me into a very dark place. A psychiatrist named it Clinical Depression and gave me medication. The pain dulled and once again I reclaimed my place in the world. This world. Dwelling here in finitude my focus shifted to more mundane matters, a career, a marriage, children. My connection with myself and with the Divine lay in a closet somewhere out of sight.

Many years later, a mighty swing of the hand of God put the pen back in my hand. Even now I stray and wander as I always have, but with each passing year I come to understand more deeply the connection between my soul and the written word. It is my life blood, my vehicle for expression and connection with myself, with others and with the world of Spirit.

I still choose not to question too deeply and instead choose to rest in gratitude for all that lives within each of us. The spiritual path is a practice that requires leaning into, embracing and accepting our yearning, our sense of incompleteness as a fundamental human drive for a deeper connection with all that is.  The strength of the longing and the fact that it exists in all of us is proof enough to me that it is a path that we all must travel in our own way.

“In my life, writing has been an important exercise to clarify what I believe, what I see, what I care about, what my deepest values are. The process of converting a jumble of thoughts into coherent sentences makes you ask tougher questions.”  ~ Barack Obama, 44th President of the U.S. 

 


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FIVE STEPS TO CULTIVATING RESILIENCE AS WE AGE

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INTERLUDE: WHAT IS NEXT?

INTERLUDE: WHAT IS NEXT?

TIME FOR AN INTERLUDE in the Voices of Wisdom Series

late blooming writerI hope you have been enjoying the The Voices of Wisdom Series! I know I have been enjoying reading and sharing the stories of these courageous and magnificent women and I’m so grateful to them for taking the time to share a slice of their lives here with you. We will be taking a short interlude while I take a few weeks to travel, finish my book and collect my thoughts.  In case you missed any of the posts, here’s a recap:

Week One: Debbie Gies, Author shared with us her thoughts on gratitude.

Week Two: Kathleen Pooler gave us a glimpse into her dark night of the soul and insights she gained. 

Week Three: I reviewed three memoirs written by women coming to terms with abuse. 

Week Four: Author Joan Rough shares her thoughts on Harvesting Wisdom.

Week Five: Writer and author Lucinda Sage-Midgorden shares a bit of her journey to becoming a writer and author. 

Week Six: Madeline Sharples, writer, editor and author tells us how she turned grief into art.

WHAT’S NEXT?

The series will begin again on October 5th at which time I will introduce you to another group of women with wisdom to share. In the meantime, I am heading west for two or three weeks and wrapping up the publication of my new book. It’s completely done and ready to go, I just can’t seem to settle on a title! It’s really hard to create a cover without a title! I am sure it will happen sooner or later.

[tweetthis display_mode=”box”]“Rivers know this: there is no hurry. We shall get there some day.” A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh[/tweetthis]

I am a Late Blooming Writer. I carried the urgent desire to write in a corner of my soul that I set aside again and again.  I did write, but only for myself. I wrote my first poem when I was five. It was about a daffodil.  School interrupted my creative musings and the natural flow of my life. I did not write again, creatively, until I was in high school. Teenage angst drove me back to pen and paper and began releasing the music within me in private lyrical musings, shared with no one.

I’d certainly learned very early in life that I had “no talent” for writing. In fact, I was pretty certain i didn’t have much “talent” for anything. What a ridiculous concept when you think about it. What is talent after all? We are all gifted in one way or another, but it is how and if our gifts are birthed that matters. Too often they lie dormant, abandoned as the world snuffs out our candle. Just children when it begins. Impressionable, pliable children in need of love and guidance. I digress.

[tweetthis]”We are all gifted. That is our inheritance.” Ethel Waters #quote[/tweetthis]

mask
Mask de Venice

From my teen years on I wrote stacks of journals and reams of poetry. My desire to write lived and breathed even though I lived life as something entirely other than a writer. That is until I midlife when I melted down and dove into the fire of change. It was a metamorphosis. Bit by bit, piece by piece I took off the masks I wore and gingerly stepped back into the world as my true self. My goal, my burning desire, has been and will always be to match my insides with my outsides. This is not easy in a world run amok, but it is worth the effort.  I tell you this for a few reasons.

LATE BLOOMING WRITERS

First, I am ardent supporter of late-blooming writers and have been doing so through the Aging Abundantly Writer’s Meet Up private group on Facebook. I also do private coaching as time permits. Writers desperately need support. It’s a solitary endeavor and it’s easy to lose perspective. I’m also teaming up with Christy Steiger, Writer, Teacher, Editor and every writer’s dream writing companion — at least writers like me. She gets it. She understands the writing process from a practical standpoint and is a wizard at un-sticking the stuck. You can meet Christy now in the Writer’s group. I will be introducing her on the site asap. We will both be blogging about writing and the unique needs of the over fifty writer on the Aging Abundantly sister website LateBloomingWriters.com. If you are a writer looking for guidance, support and inspiration, I hope you’ll join us there and on Facebook.

COMING SOON: Book Without A Title by Dorothy Sander

Stay tuned!

Just One Decision – That’s All It Takes

Just One Decision – That’s All It Takes

Sunflowre by Annelein Beukenkamp
Floral/Still Life – Sunflower by Annelein Beukenkamp Watercolors

Most of us remember our parents warning us as teens and young adults to think twice before doing a thing we were thinking about doing. Those of us with children did the same. We caution(ed) them as we were cautioned, suggesting they look before they leap. There’s even a cliché for this advice. Experience taught our parents, as it taught us, that life can go awry in a big way. Thinking and evaluating before we act is a good thing.

Too often, however, this sensible advice came with other subtle messages attached to it. The warning may have been delivered from a place of fear. The real message may have been, “I screwed up so many times in my life and suffered the consequences, I love you too much to watch you do the same thing.” We hear the fear and attach it to our own.

Making decisions, particularly decisions that stretch and grow us, is an intimidating proposition for most. Either we haven’t a clue about what we’re getting in to, or we’ve fallen so many times we’re terrified to try again. This is why we absolutely need and benefit from support and guidance.

Guidance is something many who struggle as adults never received as children.  Guidance helps us see the possibilities, good and bad, it shares experiences and stories as story lessons, it helps us process our fears in a constructive manner.  When guidance is missing, warnings illicit fear and rebellion, the antithesis of moving creativity forward to a positive conclusion.

The creative spirit, the life force, in each of us longs to be set free. It longs for an avenue of expression, for experiences that feed it, for success, accomplishment, and growth. In essence it’s very nature is expansion. When our spirit and desire to live, love and create is thwarted by fear, it draws inward. We become depressed, frustrated, angry, or confused and life doesn’t go well. Our relationships flounder, our work life is not to our liking, our world looks dingy and fulfilling. We may even despair, or give up trying.

Picture quote Anais Nin

JUST ONE DECISION

If you find yourself in this place, if you are stuck and not living a life you love, one decision can change everything. It did for me.

I had little guidance as a young person, at least guidance that was useful and that resonated with who I am.  As a result, I made one less than stellar decision after another. To compound matters when I faced with recovering from my poor decisions, I had no support.  We all make mistakes. It’s how we learn and grow.

Guidance and support is a valuable commodity when it comes to learning from our mistakes.

As time went on I grew more and more fearful of taking risks. The only way I could figure out how to decrease the pain in my life was to live a smaller and smaller life and do what I thought I was “supposed” to do – what family, society, friends thought I should do. I shoved down my creative spirit and locked it away. At times it would sneak out and lead me to a decision – some were good, some not so good – but I’d lock myself down more often than not.

That is, until my early fifties when the time came to either live or die.

It was a horrendous battle, that began with my willingness to find the courage it took to make one small decision, a decision made for me and from me, not for my children, my husband, our business, my family or for any other external reason.

I made the decision to sign up for and take an online writing class. I was fifty-one. I don’t want to bore you with the details here, but that one decision changed my life. Was it an easy process? Not on your life. It took another ten years before I could say I am happy and at peace with who I am and my life and I will always be a work in progress.

Do yourself a favor. If you’re feeling stuck, unhappy, confused, lost, or overwhelmed, make just one decision from the center of you, one that will take you in the direction you long to go. If you don’t know what that decision is, or need or want support and guidance,  reach out to me or someone you know can provide it. You’re worth it. The world needs you. It needs the best of you.

OUR THOUGHTS, OUR CHOICE

DEPRESSION – FIGHTING THE BATTLE

THE WILLINGNESS TO FACE OUR PAIN

MY COACHING SERVICES
Cool Tools for Late Blooming Writers

Cool Tools for Late Blooming Writers

I'm pretty sure I never looked like this when I was typing!
I’m pretty sure I never looked like this when I was typing!
Some days when I sit down to write, I think I would be more productive if I went back to using an old-fashioned typewriter. There are so many distractions, so many choices, so much speed to everything! Then I remember the hours spent re-typing term papers, or trying not to be impatient and smudge a correction as I waited for the White Out to dry. I come back to reality even faster when I stumble across a writer’s tool that just blows my mind. Distractions are with us to stay. That’s a fact. Great apps, tools, websites, and hundreds of other helps are also with us to stay, not only making the writing process easier but allowing us to become better writers. Everything we need is right at our finger tips in the comfort of our own homes. Check the three tools that I’m trying. A starter version is free and may be all you need.

FOCUSWRITER – Speaking of distraction free writing, this clears everything off of your screen except exactly what you need and want. There is no spell check and this particular app only accommodates .txt files.

AutoCrit – I love this site! Do you ever worry you’ve used the same word fifty times in one paragraph, or you are pretty sure you’re guilty of an adverb habit? Do you change tense without realizing it? We’re all guilty of bad writing habits. They tend to creep up on us. Well, fear no more. Just click into AutoCrit, copy and paste your ms. into the little box on the site and in nothing flat you will receive a complete report on all your little foibles. The good news is that you will also see what you’re doing right! It will not only help you fix manuscripts you are working on, it will make you a better writer by calling your attention to common errors that when corrected make a piece of writing more enjoyable to read.

Evernote – I downloaded EverNote today. Everyone is talking about it. ComputerWorld touted it to be “the best web-clipping tool you can find”, as did PC Magazine. If you’re looking for an app that helps you organize your online research, give it try.

The Benefits of Blogging for the Late Blooming Writer

The Benefits of Blogging for the Late Blooming Writer

note-to-self-writingBlogging is the perfect tool for new writers over fifty. I didn’t begin to get serious about writing until I was in my early fifties. While I was very comfortable with computers, I didn’t know a thing about blogs or blogging. They were fashionable among young people but at that time they had not yet found their way into the main stream universe of the individual over fifty.

Fortunately, while looking for freelance writing work, I was hired by a woman a little older than myself who was way ahead of the curve. While she didn’t know much more than I did about blogging and the internet she had been among the first to feel the pull of creating a dialogue about aging for women over fifty, and when Suzanne Caplan, my friend and mentor created the website Women Etcetera!, has an idea she deems important, it happens! (Sadly, WE is no longer in existence.) On that site, a small group of women gathered to talk about the aging process, and much more. We discussed the challenges we were facing, loved and supported one another through difficult times and created lasting friendships. What does this have to do with writing? Everything!

VISIT Aging Abundantly sister site:

LATE BLOOMING WRITERS

 

As a blogger for Women Etcetera! I discovered my voice. I discovered who I was through the written word, how people received what I wrote and even what it felt like to be misunderstood because I had not chosen my words carefully. I blogged through and about my mother’s passing comfortably and freely and did some of my best writing in the process.

Technology may have created some difficulties for writers, but it has provided us with the tools and opportunities to hone our skills in a way never before possible. Spell check alone has saved me countless hours, not to mention the years it would have taken me to re-type everything I’ve re-written! The tools and platforms we have at our disposal actually allow us to speed up the learning process provided we embrace them fully and use them to our advantage.

Blogging, either for someone else or on your own blog is the perfect place for new writers to begin to hone their craft. Here’s just a few things a blog can do for you.

1. Learn writing discipline

2. Develop a proofreading habit

3. Develop a focus for your writing

4. Learn to accept criticism

5. Learn to accept praise (this may be more difficult for many!)

6. Discover your voice

7. Make friends that support your interests and writing career

8. Develop a platform that will ultimately improve your odds of publishing

9. Make valuable writing connections

10. The blog platforms are perfect for organizing your writing

There are many, many more advantages, but the bottom line is, if you are serious about being a published writer, start blogging. If you are already blogging, keep at it!

If you need help getting started blogging, finding your writing focus, or developing your book platform, reach out to me. I can help.

Dorothy

Email: LateBloomingWriters@gmail.com

Twitter: @AgingAbundantly

Late Blooming Writers In Action – 2014 Work in Progress Blog Tour

Late Blooming Writers In Action – 2014 Work in Progress Blog Tour

My Writing Space 2014
My Writing Space 2014

I was inducted (abducted, lassoed, hoodwinked, invoked, sideswiped, challenged, and above all honored) by my blogging friend and ever present source of inspiration, Laurie Buchanan, into the 2014 Work in Progress (WIP) Blog Tour. Of course I was humbled to be noticed, let alone invited to share a glimpse into my behind the scene writing endeavors.  It was an act of faith on her part to even assume I had any “work in progress”, but the biggest problem with my writing is that at any given moment I have “works in progress”…many…dozens…lost somewhere on my computer by next week. My challenge very quickly became finding one worth sharing!

Here are the rules:

1. Link back to the post of the person who tagged you  (check – Thank you, Laurie!)

2. Write a blurb about — and type the first sentence of — your next book’s first three chapters. (Yikes!)

3. Tag four other writers to do the same. (Can’t wait!)

So….

I have three books in progress and the two I’ve already published that I want to un-publish and re-write. They’re terrible. The majority of my writing is an ongoing attempt to make sense of my life from a psycho/spiritual perspective and universal ideals.  My perspective and understanding is at best a work in progress and ever-changing so I find I no sooner get a book underway than my thinking evolves and renders it inadequate – a partial truth and I struggle to live with partial truths or I daresay I wouldn’t be on this journey!  My biggest challenge is to let go of a work knowing it is insufficient and incomplete! That being said here’s what I’m working on:

(Instead of writing about three chapters, I will be writing about three books in progress – maybe you can help me decide which one to complete!)

1. Walking Between Two Worlds – Trauma & Transformation – A Memoir of Sorts: The tiny snowflake that landed on my nose when I was five is as mysterious to me today as it was then. It is still beautiful, still miraculous, still takes my breath away. So too with Love Divine. Mysterious. Ever Present. With Us. Always. I’ve walked in both worlds. Walking between them has been the most difficult thing I have ever tried to do. 

2. The Art of Aging – As menopause begins, so too does the process of becoming a wise and dangerous old woman. Recognizing and embracing this process embodies  the art of aging.

3. Reaching – A Collection of Poems –

It's the little things that spark the creative spirit in each of us!
It’s the little things that spark the creative spirit in each of us!

When I bent down to pick up the pieces of my life,

I shoved my hands into the black soot of death and

reached through the bitter haze of unspent emotions,

to find fragments of me, inert, motionless and suffocating.

In addition I’ve been writing for a living most recently for iSeniorSolutions.com.

I now tag…

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden – Sage Woman Chronicles Associate Faculty Member of Chochise College, Writer, teacher, Reiki practitioner and author of the children’s book Scottosaurs the Little Dragon, Lucinda lives in Arizona. Her blossoming as a late blooming writer is a delight to behold. Her dedication to the craft and to life itself is an inspiration to me.

Joan Z Rough – One Rich Life – Joan describes herself this way: “Wife, mother, grandmother, writer, blogger, gardener, artist, healthy food nut, loves all creatures, especially dogs. Addicted to books, good movies and the grandkids. Believes in being positive, choice and taking responsibility. Easily overwhelmed by it all, but never bored. Laughing and smiling all the way.” I can’t wait until she publishes her book! (I will let her tell you about it.)

Eric Mondschein – We hear too little, in my opinion, of heart matters from men over fifty. That’s not the only reason I love reading Eric’s blog posts, especially his poetry and reflections on his life growing up in the late fifties. My husband and I both enjoyed his book Life at 12 College Road and I highly recommend it!  Dr. Eric S. Mondschein is an author and education consultant. He has a Bachelor’s degree in political science from the American University, a Master’s degree in delinquency prevention, and a doctorate in law and education from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. What he did with all that education can be found on his website!

Lindsey McDivitt – A talented writer with a unique focus, Lindsey shares and reviews positive aging picture books with older characters who show the positives of living a long life, on her blog A is for Aging.  In addition she shares strategies and Intergenerational Resources that can be used to strengthen the connection between generations.  She holds a degree in Speech and Hearing Science from the University of Minnesota and worked for 25 years in long term care settings, rehabilitation centers, hospitals and the community. Her love of Children’s literature and its power to shape values and beliefs has helped create a new mission: “to help all generations see older adult as valid and aging as the valuable stage of life that it is. She is also writing children’s books doing just that!

Tag your it! (I hope you’ll participate but I won’t love you any less if you don’t! It’s a busy time of year and its always difficult to get everything done. If you’re looking for connections with like minded people it may give you a boost, but please, feel no obligation.)