A Brave Story : Pritika

on March 4, 2015 in #thatisbrave with no comments by

thatisbravesquared[Once a week, I am going to be sharing with you a brave story sent in from a reader. You can comment, respond, encourage. Want to submit your own story or a story of a brave friend of yours? Head to thatisbrave.com!]

This week’s #thatisbrave story comes from Pritika. I like this gal and her courageous story. Her words and name are used with her permission.

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I traveled all the way from India to England with a heart full of dreams and almost-empty pockets. I was happy and eager to learn, to grow, to earn my masters in Economics. The first few months were great with all the friend-making, restaurant-hopping, picture-clicking, story-telling. It was a dream and I loved every minute. Until things got diffifult, course work got overwhelming and I failed.

I was a good student , at the top of my class in my undergraduate degree and for the first time, I had done badly. I did not take it well, I was afraid that I couldn’t cope, I suddenly felt very alone and ill-equipped to complete what I had begun and the guilt of it all weighed me down heavily. I spent days crying, wishing I could return home to a safe and comfortable space.

But God met me here. And I will never forget it. When I was all alone, he held my hand, strengthened me and uplifted my spirit. Armed with prayers from home and God’s daily assurance that he would see me through, I kept at it. I had occassional panic attacks and moments of weakness, but in the midst of it all, he sent me amazing friends and family to lean on-who would guide me and encourage me. The grace of God carried me through. No matter what happens, I can be brave because He is strong when I am weak.

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If you have any encouragement for Pritika and her brave story, leave it below in the comments.

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That Sounds Fun Podcast : Episode 6b!

on March 3, 2015 in Sounds good to me., That Sounds Fun Podcast with no comments by

That Sounds Fun featuring Dave Barnes

So if you didn’t hear last week’s podcast, the first part of my conversation with Dave Barnes, you need to go back and grab that one too. That will give you a good set up for what we talk about this week.

This interview with Dave picks right up where we left off and the laughs continue, people.

(You can download the episode here, or if you subscribe to the That Sounds Fun podcast, every new episode will drop into your podcast app. Or you can listen below!)

Here are the links to things we discuss on the podcast:

Dave Barnes

Matt Wertz

 Jon McLaughlin

– Funny books Dave recommends:

 Review/rate this podcast (please please please?)


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Oh friends. I hope you have enjoyed these two episodes with Dave Barnes. Definitely grab his new album Hymns for Her– you will so love it.

Any thoughts/questions/podcast suggestions? Share away, friends!

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How To Beat Writer’s Block

on March 2, 2015 in AnnieWrites with 8 comments by

I love when people ask me questions about writing. I don’t know everything about everything, but I’ve written a few books (here here here here and here) and I’ve written on this blog for eight and a half years (literally here), and I LOVE LOVE LOVE writing and learning about writing, so I’m game anytime someone wants to talk shop.

Last week, a high school student posed this exact question. “How do I get over writer’s block? How do I beat it?” And I realized that may be a question a lot of you have.

How To Beat Writer's Block

So here are my thoughts.

A few years ago, I asked the same question to one of my favorite writers, Seth Godin. “But what do I do when I get stuck, Seth? When I can’t think of what to write next?”

He asked me a question in return. “How often do you get talker’s block?” … to which we both immediately laughed, as I’m sure you did, because HELLO I NEVER RUN OUT OF TALKING WORDS.

“Exactly,” he said, “you don’t run out of conversation- you shouldn’t run out of writing words either.”

It changed everything for me.

Writer’s block attacks me when I’m looking at the blank screen like a page I need to fill instead of a vehicle for conversation. So when I feel the moments (and yes, I do feel them), I change my perspective.

While I am writing a book, I picture a handful of people I am writing for- it’s the same people throughout the book, but I picture them, and I think about what I would want to tell them about the chapter/story/topic at hand. And then I type it like I am talking to them. I stop looking at it like LITERATURE (said in an English accent) and start treating it like CONVERSATION.

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Some other things:

— If you are writing fiction and you have writer’s block, the problem is in the outline. If you can’t tell the next part of the story, your outline needs to be fleshed out more. Outlining your writing, no matter the length or genre, is a great way to protect from feeling blocked.

Give your first draft permission to be terrible. I wish you could see the difference between what authors turn in to editors and what editors turn into the books you hold. VERY VERY DIFFERENT, PEOPLE. So if you are feeling blocked because you want just the right word or phrase, skip it, come back to it, or write what comes to mind and fix it later.

Lots of people can edit your work,

but you are the only one who can write it.

So quit spending so much time self-editing and write the thing!!

You may need to step away. Not forever, but for 30 minutes or 10 minutes or a few hours. When I literally cannot squeeze another word out, I will:

  • go on a walk around the neighborhood
  • change locations (home to coffee shop, coffee shop to park, coffee shop to home, coffee shop to down the street coffee shop)
  • work on a puzzle
  • go to a movie
  • have a quick catch-up with a friend on phone or Skype
  • change the music
  • eat something green (IT HELPS YOUR BRAIN!)
  • paint my nails

Audio-record yourself telling the story you are trying to type. It can be way easier to pace around your house talking into your iPhone than sitting at a desk clacking out the words. Tell yourself the story, then transcribe the recording.

Set a word count for your daily writing goal, versus a time goal. For example, when I am writing a book, I try to do 1500-2000 words a day. If that takes me 3 hours, HUZZAH! If that takes me 9 hours, HELP ME RHONDA. If I tell myself to sit there for 5 hours, I will have a blinking cursor for most of the time because I’m bored let the timer ding and let me outta this cage I have built for myself!. But if I tell myself to get through a certain amount of words, they may not all be good, but they count. So I write them, and then delete the terrible ones the next day. (See above- your first draft can be terrible.)

Do not run to the internet for inspiration because you will end up sucked into the vortex that is Pinterest and within a few hours you will realize you are at the bottom of the internet, your writing time is gone, and you still feel blocked. Woof.

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So those are my thoughts on writer’s block.

Do you have more suggestions of how you power through those times when the words don’t come easy? (Or do you have other writing topics we should talk about?) Leave your thoughts/questions in the comments below!

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PS- quick reminder. Part 1 of the That Sounds Fun podcast with Dave Barnes released last week and thousands of  y’all have downloaded it, which is ridiculously fun. Part 2 comes out on Tuesday, so just wanted to give you a heads up to listen to Part 1 so you’re ready for tomorrow! :)

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