Tag Archives: writing

Things We Need To Start Complimenting Each Other On In Our Twenties

That parallel parking job you did was so expert! The whole time you were googling the restaurant before we left to see if they had a lot and then when you found out it was only street parking, you tried to casually suggest somewhere else for brunch, but regardless, when we arrived, you pulled between two large oddly-spaced vehicles with such ease, never losing your cool. You even kept the in-car conversation going, pretending as if you weren’t internally panicking about accidentally backing up 3 centimeters too far and totally embarrassing yourself! You’ll surely be able to get out of that spot, too, without having to walk home. Kudos!

Way to go on your salad! We all saw you chomping down on several green leaves of lettuce at lunch and could actually manage to still make out the colors of the vegetables present, instead of only seeing a pool of ranch dressing. We hope this isn’t too forward, but are you going all organic? Are you participating in a clean eating challenge on social media? Regardless, your choice in lunchtime wellness is truly an inspiring choice to us all. Get yourself a pizza for dinner, you health guru, you.

You put on actual pants today! I know you had the option to walk out of your house in pajama material or stay home and disregard them altogether for some terrible Lifetime made-for-tv movie that somehow sucks you in every time, but you, by an act of your own selflessness and determination, truly took it to the next level and wore actual fabric with a zipper attached out into the world. Your extra effort to clothe yourself will never go in vain. We are all proud of how you pulled it together and put on a professional front…and back, technically.

Your email response time was impeccable! You may be a pro at avoiding long work message-chains that require a thought-out and spellchecked response, but you tackled this one with sincerity, speed and aplomb, instead of letting it hang over your head all afternoon. I don’t want to presume anything, but are you going to check your voicemails next, too? An overachiever like you is hard to find, so keep up the perfect pace.

Congrats on not bringing up your past failed relationships! I know that it was really tempting to harp on your ex that you can’t forget or share your breakup stories again at a volume that the whole rest of the coffee shop could hear, but you managed to politely continue the conversation without resurrecting your emotional baggage! Even when those friends you were with brought up engagement rings and babies, you kept smiling like the token “cool girl” from a movie that doesn’t have insecurities, and remained somewhat calm in your own single skin. Hip, hip, hooray for you and your heart!

How about that fancy drink you just consumed?! We may still be young, but you truly pulled a sophistication card by ordering something other than PBR, bottom-shelf wine, and “just whatever is the well liquor”. Did you just ask for a cocktail that didn’t have “bomb” in the name and decide to also sip on a water at a bar that has some actual lighting instead of only neon signs? Adulthood looks good on you.

Let’s hear it for you NOT bailing on plans! First pants, now this- wow! Fighting the temptation to stay in and watch another season of the ever-addictive Game Of Thrones (because, dragons) is a tough task, but you actually followed through with the invitation to be outside your house- in public!– and faced the fear of not knowing enough people where you were going or being over or underdressed, and you did it in style. Think of the memories you made tonight, think of the Instagram-worthy moments that happened, and think about how even if you still watched an episode of Game Of Thrones when you got home, you still maintained a friendship or two just by showing up. Good job, pro.

You made a thing! You put effort and time and your own talents into making a business plan, a painting, a screenplay, a big event, a comic book, an album, a poem, a casserole, a thesis, a fun youtube video, the first draft of a novel, a cheap bookshelf for your apartment, a killer resume, a handmade gift, an important speech, or just a great outfit, and you made that thing with your own two hands. You might have had help, you might have failed once or twice (or forty times) getting it there, but you actually created in a world that tells you that our generation doesn’t create anymore. It doesn’t matter how small an accomplishment, because you crafted and labored and put actual thought into something beyond yourself, and for that, the best compliment I can give is, Fantastic! Splendid! Delightful! Delicious! Crazy-Good! Life-Changing!

Now, go do it all again.

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To That Girl In The Coffee Shop On Her Computer, Writing

We begin our tale a while back as you teach yourself that the best big secret for the most effective creative process is this: write.

Write. Write furiously as if you’ve discovered it for the first time, because, in a way you have. Write without worrying about deadlines or opinions. Write some really dumb things- I mean, borderline terrible, but finish writing them anyway. Write with reckless abandon. Write like the words are your therapy- they’re not yet, but you’ll get there.

Write something that you can tell is just different. It sticks out from everything you’ve been writing. Maybe it’s shorter or funnier or has that one reference you’re really proud of making at the right time. Maybe the words rhyme. Maybe it’s just more “you” or maybe it’s way outside what your usual writing style was.

Share what you’ve written. Receive feedback. Let your chest and your ego swell at the thought that your words are the words of a “somebody” now. You’ve created a paragraph or two that sticks with someone else. Your story is gum on the bottom of their shoes, but they’re not even mad. In fact, they enjoy it and cherish it, and want to know where they can get more gum and how they can get tangled up in it all over again.

Call yourself a writer. You figure that you’re serious now, since you publish things every now and then. You let a few people read it and they might have shared it once or twice. So, you’re a writer. Buy that sweater that makes you look like you might do a book signing later- you know the one.

Write about comfortable subjects, receive praise. Write about tough subjects, get consolation. Write something funny, watch your comments soar.

Begin to realize your best ideas come when you’re inspired. Try to pinpoint how you’re inspired and when, as if it’s a math equation or a certain day of the week in a certain room with a certain record playing. Maybe you shouldn’t even write unless all the pieces are connected and correct.

Begin to write less. Tell yourself this is because you have a reputation to uphold and that’s why. After all, if you’re not funny all the time, you’ll never get that comedy writing job that you dream of. If you’re too sappy, you’ll be reduced to an over-share Facebook status.

Panic. Read your own words to calm down. Write a little, but then delete it.

Panic again. Read some other short stories or essay lists and realize that these make you mad because they’re better. When did you get so mad? You used to love to read. You used to praise your favorite writers.

Call it writer’s block. Call it stubbornness. Glorify the fact that with a new job, you are ‘busy’ and have important things to do, leaving no time for your words.

Tell yourself you were too personal anyway. Tell yourself you already wrote most of your opinions and stories. Tell yourself that the “dissatisfied 23 year-old suburban white girl” schtick has already been covered and dealt with.

Wish that you were anything else. Sniffle. Eat a bowl of ice cream. Feel guilty about the ice cream immediately after. Remind yourself that every famous writer usually had social issues and vices and was usually an alcoholic. Decide the ice cream isn’t that bad, and that thinking of famous writers is both a calming and terrifying thought.

Let your life happen. Participate, yes, but don’t feel like you have to give a major commentary. Feel like you are running out of stories. Feel like all you can write about is pop culture or your darkest thoughts. Feel like it’s all been done, it’s all been said, it’s all been written millions of times before.

Go to church, go to work, go home. Go for a drive to clear your head, even if you’re not sure what your head is full of.

You’re not really a writer anymore. You’re just a girl who writes, and that’s okay. After all, it’s been what – 3 months? Oh. I guess that’s longer than you thought.

Walk into a coffee shop a month later. Or is it two? It’s getting hard to keep track. Besides, you’ve had disappointment and personal failure and broken trust and relationships pushed to the brink and tragedy happen to you, so that adds something. We can’t all be on all the time. It’s harder to write when it doesn’t come easy, but you’re here, and this coffee shop has terrible wi-fi anyway, so you’re either going to write or sit, and we both know you’re a Type-A fidgeter.

Order a tea because you’ve had 5 cups of coffee today already. Immediately regret this decision, as the tea is not going to make your blood surge like you trained it to do before any major writing breakthrough.

Drink your tea anyway. Lie in the bed you’ve made. Coffee calls to you and you tell it that once you’ve written, you’ll reward yourself with a piping hot cup, one cream and a kiss of sugar. You’re okay with being both Pavlov and the dog in this experiment.

Listen to the people around you in the coffee shop and tell yourself that you could have written a better conversation than the one they’re having.

Sit down in the coffee shop with your computer and actually turn the wifi off so that you’re forced to do nothing but type. Type. Type. Type. It seems to go slower, like it’s a muscle you haven’t stretched in a while. Didn’t you used to be faster at this?

OH GEEZ everyone is staring at you in this coffee shop. I bet they’re all judging you. I’m sure they all think you’re self-absorbed. They all think you’re a hopeless writer, but maybe that isn’t the worst thought. Okay, let them think that. Let them read over your shoulder – you don’t care.

Typing is starting to feel laborious and you don’t like anything you’ve written. It’s all half-ideas and weirdly futuristic.

Good thing you brought your notebook. While reaching for it and your pen in your bag, realize there’s a joke happening right now with your notebook and pen versus your computer that you aren’t going to take the time to write down. Acknowledge this and move forward.

Write. Old-school, pen to paper, as your hand starts to cramp.

Wow, this is exhausting. You really have to pee but you don’t know anyone here at this coffee shop and you would feel uncomfortable making them watch your stuff.

Continue to write on paper. Remember how good it feels to see the pen form the letters and the imperfection of half-cursive half-print thoughts. Remember when it was a big deal that you had to learn cursive in 2nd grade and your teachers told you that you’d need it in the adult world? You wish you could laugh at this thought but it feels almost sad in a sense. Regardless, you’re still not pleased with your cursive on the letter r. It seems like you’ll always be cursed with that.

Write a few scraps and then one you like.

Photo Jan 15, 4 30 02 PM

Think it might be too emotional to share on the internet, but then think, what isn’t? Frequently photos of baby animals on the internet make you cry, so maybe there’s something to emotions. Maybe they’re inescapable. Maybe they’re infectious.

It’s late now, but you’ve still got an hour of editing and critiquing and cringing over what you just wrote. You’ve still got to post it and then delete it immediately and then work up the courage to share again.

 

But hey, would you look at that? Looks like despite all that talk and self-doubt, you wrote something after all.

See you again, same time next week.

It’s Been A Year. I’m Still Here.

My hands itch.

My fingers are tingling to write down words, to type out something that matters. I want to prove myself but also feel comforted after expressing my thoughts. I want to be heard, I want to be clear, and oh, I want to be so clever.

But today, I don’t write.

Today every letter looks out of place and every phrase sounds cliched. My backspace key is practically on fire. It’s painstaking and I give up in the middle of every sentence.

Every idea seems old.

“It’s been done before.”

Someone else has written it and they have an award to show for it. Somewhere else there’s a clearer picture or a funnier joke or a more catchy melody.

Maybe I should just skip today. After all, I’ve said I would write more this month, but I’m not feeling it. And if I’m not feeling it, no one will care and it will just come out annoying and desperate and boring, and there’s enough of that on the internet and in real life already.

Am I a writer because I call myself one or because I actually write?

Am I only as strong as my most recent paragraph?

Why am I even writing this internal dialogue down?

Paranoia aside, sometimes creativity is like an ex-boyfriend that doesn’t call anymore, and then when he does, we practically get married in Vegas that night, but the next morning, I wake up alone, covered in glitter and only a few paragraphs to show for it.

Writing is weird and strange and uncomfortable. It’s waves of inspiration and self-criticism and trusting yourself to interpret things that sometimes require no words, and frankly, I’m no expert at it. Most days I’m mad at it, and most days I’m intimidated by it, but I keep coming back to it, and I guess that’s something in itself. I think half of your “dreams” are divine intervention and half are just being consistent and coming back to that same dream and working your ass off at it, and even then, failing and not meeting every expectation, but still coming back for more. Showing up every time you were supposed to give up and continuing to pursue it like it’s everything.

I bought LionHairedGirl.com a year ago, (officially today!) and I was so terrified that I’d end up a fake who never wrote anything and waste both my money and my ego on it.

But, for better or worse, I keep coming back.

There are very few circles where “I have a blog!” is the first thing out of my mouth. It’s equal parts exhilarating and embarrassing to think I have earned a very tiny bit of credibility in sharing my life and thoughts for the internet to read, but I continue to try my hand at running whatever this website you’re currently reading is and could become.

I don’t always know why I write or where I’m going, but I just wanted to say thank you to all of you for making this year as a ‘dot com’ so very meaningful. All of your encouragement towards my writing is the icing on a great wordsy cake, and I truly read every single comment and email, good or bad, with a happy heart that you read my words in the first place.

So, I’m here. Sticking around through “writer’s block” and “twentysomething syndrome” and too many puppy photos I almost put in every post, I’m still here, writing.*

*At least until Beyonce needs a stand-in, though. Then, I’m out.

Oh, and since you made it through this sappy and confusing post, here’s a song that knocked me over in the best way. I love words, and I love them even more when David Ramirez sings them:

Stop Waiting

Whenever I have a tiny little idea, I always seem to entertain the thought of, “oh, I’ll write that down and flesh that idea out when I’m in my WRITING PERIOD! of life,” as if some magical time will happen where responsibilities are lessened, I have no deadlines or day job, and I sit with a brand new Macbook Pro, blank document opened in Word and cursor blinking eagerly, and type out a masterpiece. I’m clutching a big mug full of dark roast coffee, wrapped up in a drapey oatmeal-colored sweater with thick black-rimmed glasses, hair perfectly “writer-messy-bun” styled, a warm dog (or 7) curled on my feet, and just the right amount of sunlight pouring in through the window, and I put together every great idea I’ve been harboring for years in perfect prose. Suddenly, looking up from my pages and pages of great words, I check my email to see that I’ve been offered a book deal, and my tv pilot spec script got picked up by Lena Dunham and Chuck Klosterman and it’s going to be directed by Cameron Crowe, and I just smile like I knew it would happen all along.

But I don’t think I’m gonna get there, and I don’t think that’s the point, anyway, except to point out that I have an overactive imagination. I think for now, writing using my broken laptop that has to be typed on slowly and gently and opened not too far or it dies, while halfway laying on an air mattress and reheating the coffee from that morning, occasionally crippled with anxiety, forever missing college, and always editing my work 12 million times will have to suffice.

I feel like my twenties keep telling me to stop waiting. Stop waiting to get comfortable to express your feelings, whether it’s in written words or just in life. Stop waiting on the perfect dream job to call, keep hustling and working in the progress. Stop waiting to try a trend, just dye your hair a ridiculous color, go on a weird diet, listen to strange music, flirt with the guy who just “isn’t your type”. Stop waiting for things to fall into place, just pick up those pieces and go, because a handful of broken pieces that still have the glue wet is better than no handful at all, and gosh, any other metaphor is probably better than that last one I made, but still.

Stop. waiting.

Stop waiting to get settled, and LIVE. Stop waiting to magically have time, make time, and drink a cup of coffee to stay up that extra hour to accomplish what you really wanted to get done that day. Stop waiting to write perfectly, and just write. Stop waiting til you’ve seen every great photograph to take one of your own, til you’ve heard every great song to write the best one, til you’ve read every great book and blog and heard every story to tell yours. Be inspired by others, yes, but stop waiting for them to do the work for you.

Here’s my promise- I’ll stop waiting and keep writing if you do, and I’ll meet you in ten years, when we’re all successful and accomplished. We’ll just laugh at our old insecurities and our old bogus excuses, while we look back on all we’ve created, smiling just like we knew we’d make it that far all along.

I’ll be the one in the oatmeal sweater.

I Blame Justin Timberlake And The Hummus

I was going to write a New Year’s resolution post, or rather, finish it, but then it struck me that finishing said post was the point.

I had all these intentions but then things go sour or I get stressed, and so instead of writing, I come home and lay facedown on my bed and listen to a whole Ryan Adams album while half-moping, with a distressed golden retriever by my side who would like to help, but also is confused as to why I am not petting him every 2 minutes.

You see, I wanted to write about everything today. I wanted to write about how obsessed I am with the fact that Justin Timberlake announced that he’s returning to music and how also Destiny’s Child is releasing new music and how hearing this made me both scream, “BEST DAY EVER” and also not able to move my hands correctly to type a “hooray!” text to everyone for some time because they were shaky with happiness. I wanted to write about January things and about what I’ve learned so far in 2013 and about the dream I had last night in which Stevie Nicks (!!!) appeared and told me to keep going.  I wanted to write about how my boyfriend finally downloading emojis on his iPhone has been both the best and worst thing to happen in the past week. I wanted to write about Honey Boo Boo Child and I wanted to write about pizza. I wanted to write about my best friend becoming a featured contributor on my favorite website. I wanted to write about the napkins with pugs on them that a dear friend sent me in the mail and I wanted to write about how I have so many crafty ideas now that I discovered I have both spray adhesive AND glitter in the living room, currently at arms reach.

I wanted to write, I really did. But then something came up- like it always does – and I didn’t. I got distracted by a text message, maybe. Mostly, I read a blog post that I think is cleverer and more on point than my words and that made me discouraged, which instead, should have inspired me to write. Or maybe I got distracted by the hummus in my fridge and how it would taste on a Wheat Thin. Or 49 Wheat Thins. Or maybe I was about to type “wordpress.com” into my browser but then took a detour and found myself in a black hole of online shopping, adding too many things I can’t afford to my cart. Or maybe I just forgot, just put it off, just moved on to the next thought.

But, like it or not, I’m a reluctant writing addict. Words and sentences and paragraphs are art to me, are therapy to me, are home to me. There’s so many situations I have gotten over by writing about them or made better by writing about them or been able to laugh so hard at by writing about them. I have so many dumb stories and moments that I assume no one can relate to or no one cares about, but then I write them down and- BAM! – I realize I’m not the only one. Published or unpublished, typed or handwritten, full complete sentences or words on a page – they’re all important. Writing is something I come back to, but not nearly enough.

So I’ll get back to those New Year’s Resolutions later, but the top of the list is to WRITE and write, write, write and then write some more.

Write when it’s easy and write even more when it’s hard. Write seriously and write mockingly. Write for fun and write for work. Write Thank You cards and personal birthday cards and don’t slack on an email when it would take 5 minutes more to make your point better. Write down things you are thankful for and write down things you want to change. Write blog posts even if the idea of having a blog makes you feel silly and almost embarrassed sometimes. Write til your fingers bleed- figuratively or literally. Write compliments to yourself on your mirror in lipstick. Write fake ad campaigns and jingles for commercials that are better than the current ones you hear while you are waiting for the newest episode of “The Mindy Project” to play on Hulu. Write to your parents. Write to people you wish you could meet. Write poems that rhyme and write love letters you’ll never send and write your grocery lists in your best cursive with hearts above all the i’s. Write when you’re in a bad mood, write when you are stressed, write when you are broke. Write when you are overjoyed, write when you are in love, write when you can’t imagine a better day.

Most of all, write and don’t stop. Don’t compare your words to anyone’s but your own, and don’t be afraid to try new ones. Constantly write the thoughts in your head down somewhere. Write notes in the margins of your books. Write in other languages. Write down your big ideas and write down that funny quote your friend said at brunch. Write down lists of fake band names that you’d use if you were ever a rockstar. Write scripts that may never see the light of a studio, write songs that you may never sing, but, more than anything, just write.

And when you think you’ve written enough, write another page.

Or write another blog post…about writing.

Hello From HelloGiggles!

YALL, BIG NEWS.

(Well, ‘kind of’ big news.)

Some of you may be staring at this lovely website (it is lovely, right?) because you found the link via HelloGiggles.com, who so graciously published a post by me today, titled “More Realistic Facebook Statuses” and that makes me so excited!
It’s no secret that I’m a major fangirl of HelloGiggles and read it nearly daily, loving and reposting things from them, so to be on their site, even a tiny little article, is so exciting for me and I’m so stoked about it!

Anyway, if you found yourself here today because of HelloGiggles, HELLO! HOWDY! IT’S SO GREAT TO HAVE YOU! Pull up a chair (a comfy one) and stay a while. Thank you for reading along. Let’s be besties and braid each others’ hair and watch Rocky Horror Picture Show and do the “Time Warp” and bake cookies and text message each other gifs and play with puppies and celebrate life together.
But seriously.

Oh, and if you’d like, I wrote a little follow-up post a while back called “More Realistic Facebook Statuses, Part 2”  and I mean, what kind of blogger would I be if I didn’t promote that one, too?

As for the rest of you reading this who’ve been around here before, you’re always awesome. Your love and support and comments and shares make me feel warmer and sweeter than a perfectly-stirred pumpkin spice latte. And I love you so dearly. I have so many stories and ideas to write about and I promise I’ll stop living on instagram and publish new posts soon.

Keep roaring. Xoxo.

Blogging On A Friday Night (Because My Life Is So Crazy)

These past few weeks have been, well, an experience.

They’ve been chock full of lots of Al Green (because this song hurts so good!)

and one very wrinkled face.

I’ve been doing a lot of soul-searching on the back porch

reminding myself to look on the bright side

reverting to the sleeping habits of a 7 year-old

and having the biggest turq-and-gold arm party I can possibly get away with.

Seeing Bon Iver’s ACL taping blew my little mind

(thanks for the photo, z!)

seeing Don Draper at the Drafthouse with accompanying Mad Men themed drinks made my heart skip a beat

And seeing that it was Star Wars Day made me bust out the ol’ Empire tank and tell everyone, ‘May The Fourth be with you!’

Multiple people have described me as a hummingbird before- constantly moving- and this month is proving that nickname all too true. Sure, I talk with my hands and I tend to fidget and tap my feet often, but add all the caffeine I’m drinking and all the big-life-decision-anxiety and it’s getting even more ridiculous. I’m waking up at 3:30 AM to go in to work, napping at random hours and going to sleep at 8 PM and so it never seems to balance out and I exist in this bizarre insomniatic state most of the time. More than ever, I’m this little confused toe-tapping and arm-flapping girl who seems a little crazy and over-excited, but that’s okay. My sleep schedule is all sorts of messed up, but in the weirdest way I’m just happy, ya know? I just feel like I’m happiest when I’m busy and when I keep moving. Honestly, as silly as my situation is, I feel like I’m going somewhere right now, I just feel like little things are falling into place and slowly I’m getting these moments of rest to define my dreams. In between writing notations for nonfat milk and extra foam on white Starbucks cups, I’m getting free time to just decide what I want the next step to be, and even if it can be currently frustrating or exhausting, I know it’s all going somewhere. My little hummingbird wings are happy to keep zipping back and forth with new ideas and life directions that I’m considering, and I know in the back of my mind that eventually I am going somewhere, because, for better or worse, staying in exactly the same place has a tendency to freak me out.

This post is all over the place and inconsistent (surprise, as usual!) but really, I just want to say that I love you all and even though I am a nervous post graduate and I don’t write consistently, I miss writing SO MUCH and you should tell me to write more often, because it helps the little brain in my head not feel so crazy.

And also, you should listen to the new Of Monsters & Men album and the new Jack White album and really you should all just get Spotify if you don’t have it and tell me to send you songs on Spotify because I basically am addicted to Spotify and spend enough time with Spotify that it should be my boyfriend and I pretty much love sending people songs more than anything.

And no, Spotify isn’t paying me for this blog post (but they really should be).

But really. Here’s a freebie for all you stuck up, half-witted, scruffy-looking nerf herders!*

*(And again, if you get that reference…call me.)