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Writings of Toni Taylor-Helser

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To Blog…or…Not To Blog

8 Year Anniversary Achievement

Happy Anniversary with WordPress.com!
You registered on WordPress.com 8 years ago.
Thanks for flying with us. Keep up the good blogging.
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EIGHT YEARS. 8 yrs. Wow!
How time flies when you’re blogging.
These past 8 years of keeping a blog, or I should say a blog keeping me has been so many things I never intended, many things I had no clue it would teach me, so many different perspectives to take my writing to. This blog has been a catalyst to my growth as a person, as a woman and as a writer. I can read past entries and read in them the growth that has taken me to these moments today with relish. This blog is my reminder that I am taking life on with a rebel roar while thriving along this journey,
In 2008 when I tackled the challenge of creating a blog I was not the least bit technology savvy. I could navigate my computer but never understood why something worked or didn’t work.  I had begun to participate in health forums in the mid 90’s searching for others who I knew existed like myself who are survivors of a failed medical implant. I had a voice on the vast topics involved and there was an audience. In 2004 and into 2007 I was invited as a guest author and blogger with a response each time that would leave me literally flabbergasted. It was validating and empowering, but I minimized what I was doing by the fact it was a select audience who held a personal invested interests in what I was writing about. Things they personally knew as well.
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I began to wonder if I broadened my topics would it broaden my audience?
If I removed the initial emotional connection to me, i.e. medical commonalities, would I still have something to say that anyone would find merit in? Would there still be a readership?
It was a frightening and sobering thought. What if what I wrote others thought was garbage? Worse yet, what if I hit publish and no one came?
2008 I thought I had the courage.
I created a fancy looking blog thanks to the user friendly WordPress.(yes a plug for WP)
I began writing what I had intentions of sharing publicly. My first post…I edited it, I sat on it. I changed the content, I edited. For two, almost 3 years. Yes, you read right. I was too nervous to hit the publish button. So I didn’t. Oh I still wrote, I processed some intense stuff during those first 3 years in my unpublished blog. But I couldn’t bring myself to having enough confidence to click that publish button.
I share this 8 years later because of an admission I feel I owe to those I have encouraged to blog. Rather overly passionately encouraged I am afraid. Glossing over the fact that there was real fear that came over me when I realized going public was subjecting myself to real critiquing. I am a passionate advocate about writing in general and hope to always be a spot of encouragement to anyone who puts their thoughts into a narrative, regardless of the format or genre. Wordsmithing is an art and it’s a courageous thing when thoughts are committed to words to be written.  To take that courage and step into the abyss of the world of critics by publishing a blog is downright frightening, I think in my passion for writing and my wish that everyone would know the pure joy I believe writing brings I have minimized the frightening aspects of going public.  I make it sound so easy.
Truth is the mechanics of creating a blog could not be any easier, and the price is right. Free. Although if you are now or do become serious about writing and building a brand behind your name I highly recommend purchasing your domain name and registering your name with Creative Commons.
Blog built. Check.
That was easy.
(note I will put my assistance where my mouth is and offer help to anyone wanting to create a blog but feels stuck)
Now there’s a blank page in front of you with a cursor keeping time it seems with your pulse. A blank page….LARGE….a W>I>D>E open space.
It’s a challenge and one most writers take on happily, even though it’s work. We forget about everything, anything, anyone or anyplace else but what it is that wide open space is allowing us to express. Like a painter with a brand new canvas and tubes of paint, the colors are there for our expression, stringing words together saying what we need to say. Expressing where it is our random thoughts take us, giving no thought to anything else but the melodies the letters combined compose. Rough drafts are our raw work, we give no thought to why the words work, or if they work, they just spill from us. Making them make sense to someone else comes next.
Is there no better feeling than walking away backwards to check what we expressed and finding glimpses of our soul peeking through?
I think so.
Albeit I believe I write for myself first there is no denying the feeling of satisfaction in composing the words so they strike a chord when shared with someone else. I won’t deny either the nerve-wracking anxiety I felt after hitting publish the first few times… and then waiting…..I didn’t know whether to feel relieved if there was feedback, or to be relieved if there wasn’t.  Holding my breath I waited.
Tears . Of relief? Gratitude? Accomplishment? Expression?
All of the above.
For suddenly this deep abyss of wordsmiths and purveyors of words no longer held me prisoner in the unpublished cell, suddenly this community called WordPress became my community, suddenly I was looking forward to the critiquing I had so feared.
My Dear newbies to the land of Blogging and those still on the fence; let me say that the one thing that held me back is not only something I look forward to today but a motivating prompt for me. My thought is this:  If what we write inspires dialogue of any kind we are touching nerves in people enough for a response, we are on the right path of contribution to humanity.
So,….when I encourage you to write, maybe even to blog, it is because in your wordsmithing I read that you have a message to share with the world, or some of us. There are folks who need the message to come from you alone, just how you alone articulate it. It’s true there may be anxiety in hitting that publish button, so think of this: Is the fear so powerful that you can live with not ever knowing who your words might touch?
I thought so. For a time.
Then……I thought… “what if I just do it?” and then… “What if I never?”
To Blog or not to Blog.
Eight years later…I’ve sorted, debated, digested, and am still processing…..
And you came, and you keep coming back, 8 yrs later.
I AM Blogging.
Happy 8 years Barefoot Baroness Readers!

 

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ttaylor2016

Took A Leap

Camp-2015-Winner-Certificate

 

Feeling quite pleased with myself I am.

Yep, I’m writing a very self-serving post tonight to brag a bit that I accomplished a 3rd NANOWRIMO challenge with NANO April 2015 Camp.

With a committed word count goal of 30,000 in the month of April to write a short story, it happened I am delighted to say. Especially since I’d had no intention of participating, let alone did I have even a project in mind…. until what was almost the 13th hour.

I took a leap into a month of Creative Lunacy.

Although I have written most of all my life, writing a short romance story was something I’d never done as an adult. There were many as a teenager I remember, but once married and raising a family my writing took a complete different direction.

This NANO experience was completely different from jump street. My other two had a game plan at least a few weeks before beginning since the prior two projects had been brewing for some time in my mind. I also am doing a weekly radio show that I wasn’t committed to the other two times. I’d decided right away that I would publish the short story as web-fiction, building its own web site and post in a series of chapters.

This time…. was so different.

Almost out of the blue this story came to me.

I listen to a lot of music, and I write by having music in the background. I have had music inspire me for many…many years, but I had never had music inspire a story.  It just so happens that is what happened with Mesmerized. I heard an original track of music from a friend, an instrumental. I was inspired by a question asked,  What visuals did the music create? The first two paragraphs of the story were born within 5 minutes in answer. I then a few days later decided to run with those two paragraphs and a premise.

quote_image_maybe some women

It’s completely fiction although based on a belief that I think many women can personally associate with. It was a fun story to write, to flesh out. I had the greatest time being the director of my character’s lives. It’s one of the wonderful joys I find in writing fiction, and as I get older there is even more delight in being able to live vicariously through the characters and events I design.

Through fiction a writer can freely say out loud what they might not feel comfortable saying openly.

Always thankful for the alter ego of my stories. I learn a lot about life through writing, and I learn a lot about myself. The past month was no different. Some of those lessons came to the writer within, some came to the woman within.

Bravery in words is a wondrous magical thing.

tjtaylor2015

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13th Hour Commitment & Fear

Camp-Participant-2015-Web-Banner

Committing to what I choose to call the Creative Lunacy” of NANOWRMO I decided to pack up and join Camp this year, last-minute. I had no intentions to do so this Spring……….. until about 24 hours ago now.

Funny in an odd kind of way where inspiration and motivation can come from, funny also in a very cool kind of way. I have a head start as I have been outlining and character building since hearing a music composition by a friend about 2 weeks ago.  A visual presented itself, inspired by the instrumental, a few paragraphs later a romance story was born. At the 13th hour I decided to commit to Camp NANOWRIMO.  And then I gulped.

30,000 words in 30 days.

It started out from a brief innocent question which I’m paraphrasing – ” have a listen to this song and see what visuals it might create?” Those who know me know that – one – I write to music,  two – that I love a good writing challenge. A fast free writing paragraph literally flowed out my fingers into a new draft. The working title is “Mesmerized” and takes place in a dense forest in the Pacific Northwest.

Today as I took the day to prep myself physically and mentally I had the gift of being involved in a discussion about fears that brought home to me that I know this feeling, fear. I have felt it before, and I know it will pass too. It reminded me of a post I wrote back in August called “Redefining Fear”

It seems apropos tonight as I prepare for Camp. And there’s another serendipitous connection made that I love.

https://barefootbaroness.org/2014/08/20/redefing-fear/

My wish is that whatever may be causing someone fear in their life that they might find a way to redefine it.

If you’re going to be at Camp this year I wish EACH of my sister and brother campers  a happy month of creative lunacy!

Write on Campers. ~

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The Wonder of Being Winter Struck

 

I love the snow

The pristine sparkling dust that dances through the air

Softly falling to a soft down on the ground

Seemingly it soften the hard edges of a cold winter’s night

While all of God’s critters seek shelter, each of us become snowboun

It’s as quiet as a forest,  to my wonder and my delight

 

I love the snow.

Each flake like a diamond from the sky

Here inside tucked in by warmth, and with little sound

I’m mindful of the wonder that has struck with such spectra

It fills the room with an aura of romance and  nostalgia

I love the snow

And listening as the wind begins its lonesome song.

As each snowflake lights up my sight

They feel like candle light

I’ve never seen the snow so bright

As on this winter’s night

 

 

 

Random thoughts & photo inspired by a cold evening during Winter’s fierce first storm ~ Oregon’s High Desert  USA * November 19 2014

(photo-shop enhanced)

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