Writers In The Storm is delighted to welcome guest blogger, Tara Taylor Quinn! She's at the Romantic Times Conference in Los Angeles, California this week and she's blog-hopping as part of the It Happened On Maple Street International Blog Tour. We're so excited she was able to pop in to see all of us.
Tara will be giving away a copy of It Happened on Maple Street to one of the commenters on this blog. Writers In the Storm will throw all the names into a hat at our critique meeting on April 14th and pick a single lucky winner, to be announced by Monday, April 18th.
Writers In The Storm – what a great place to stop. After a week on the road, I kind of feel like a writer in the storm – or one who has what it takes to weather the storm.
I don’t always make it through the storm without getting soaked, but I’ve learned a few things along the way about staying dry when the rain is pouring down. I shared some of them this week on the road and thought I’d bring one of them along here as well.
If I had to put my life’s dictate into one sentence, it would be this: Live life from the inside out. This takes courage. And work. But I believe that the time and work are worth the outcome. Living life from the inside out is essential to deepest happiness. The painful part is going inside, to those deepest places we mostly like to avoid and find out who is in there. What does she really want out of life? What makes her happiest? Or most unhappy?
Not an easy task. Most particularly if what we find there isn’t congruent with our lives. Most times, what we find isn’t completely congruent. How could it be if we spend our lives avoiding that deep place? It’s been neglected. We haven’t tended to that vulnerable being in there, other than to brush it aside because it had demands that were too difficult for us to meet.
Take time to get to know your inner self. Ask the tough questions. Listen for the answers. Just doing that much will help. Once you’ve been self honest, you start to make little choices every day that are more in keeping with the person you need to be to be completely happy.
Maybe you just tend to one little thing. You like the smell of roses. They bring back a memory of something that happened when you were a child – they give the essence of a perfect moment to your deepest self. And so you find a rose scented candle – or rose scented air freshener. A rose scented cachet for your purse. If none of that is feasible, you find a picture of a beautiful rose and put it where you can see it. It’s a small thing, but the sight of a rose, or the smell of a rose, in the middle of a storm, can change the entire experience.
Sometimes, what we find deep inside prompts bigger change. But rest assured, if that’s the case, the change was necessary. It might be painful in the moment – might be uncomfortable, or even frightening – but in the long wrong, if we live true to our inner self, life will be filled with sunshine mixed only with the occasional spring shower.
I was speaking with a woman who has written several books and known a measure of success. She was trying to get another book out and it wasn’t working. She’d written the book of her heart. Was it time to walk away from writing? I had one question. Do you want to write? Do you need to write? Does writing make you happy? Are you a writer?
I don’t know the answers to those questions for her. She might be a writer who is facing the ‘seven year itch’. She’d been successful, what if she kept writing and met with failure? What if she put out a book that didn’t sell? What if she couldn’t find another story as good as the last? What if she let her fears stifle who and what she really needed to do, to be, to be happy? What if the practicality of publishing in a changing world played with her mind and she allowed those fears to rule her life’s decisions, instead of letting the more quiet person inside of her be in charge?
Or she might be a person who is not a writer, but who had a story to tell, that she told, but some other path to take as a career choice – as a life choice.
What I do know is that if she looks inside herself, if she asks the tough questions and listens to small voice inside of her, she’ll find her answers. And the more choices she makes that are congruent to the person inside of her, the person she is, deep down inside, the less she’ll find herself fighting off the downpours, hiding from the thunder, being burned by the lightening.
Life isn’t easy. It isn’t meant to be. But it certainly can be happy. Filled with joy more than sorrow. It’s up to us to find our joy.
But lets start small. I have a list of little things that make me happy. I’ll share, if you will…
Some of mine are: Diet Coke, the smell of roses, pictures of my daughter, petting my dogs, the twinkle in my husband’s eyes, road trips with him, M&M’s.
What are some of yours?
This post is brought to you as part of the It Happened On Maple Street International Blog Tour. For a complete tour schedule visit www.tarataylorquinn.com. All blog commenters are added to the weekly basket list. Gift Basket given each week to one randomly drawn name on the list.
If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic violence, or if you suspect someone is, please contact www.thehotline.org, or call, toll free, 24/7, 1-800-799-7233 (SAFE) or 1-800-787-3224 (TTY). The call can be anonymous and is always confidential. There is not one second of life that is worth wasting.
Next tour stop, Tuesday, April 12, 2011. Click here for the Maple Street Cyber Blog Party.
To get your copy of It Happened On Maple Street, visit your favorite bookseller, or www.maplestreetbook.com. Remember, if you comment on this blog, you get a chance to win your copy RIGHT HERE.
Don’t miss The Chapman Files! Still available at Amazon.