Praying for Courage

4ra3iurycuHow can something so terrifying, so gut-wrenching, so sickening… be turned into such a beautiful blessing?

My last blog, which was a huge testament of my faith, was absolutely terrifying to share. I’ve always found it kind of hard to stand confidently in sharing my faith, because I’m just not very confident of a person (despite being a very outgoing person). But for some reason, on Monday, July 29th, 2019, God gave me just enough courage to post share my faith with not only my followers but with the world. It felt amazing. Freeing. And then terrifying.

After I posted A Tired Girl’s Prayer, that courage kinda evaporated and I called some of my best friends (and my youth pastor, God bless him for being so patient and understanding) and I was freaking out saying “Oh my gosh! What did I just do?!”

I had no idea what possessed me to share it. But like I said in the previous post, God works in amazing ways. Sometimes we just have to take a leap of faith, hand it over to Him, and stand boldly and bravely in who we are and who we belong to. Not saying I’m brave, because I’m clearly a scaredy-cat, but now I can trust that God is my security and my strength even when I’m terrified. And when I give myself up to Him, and He fills me… well, I can stand brave. I can inspire others. And I can praise Him the way I was made to. On the bad days, the hard days, and the good days.

When you pray for patience, God will give you opportunities to be patient.

When you pray for strength, God will give you opportunities to be strong.

My prayer was for courage.

And here we are.

Thursday was a really good day. Waking up early didn’t feel so good, but it was a good day. My dad was off work, my mom was in a pretty good mood, fiddle lessons went incredible (for those of you who don’t know, I’m also a musician…) and it was just an overall good day. 

 

Thursday morning, I start to text with my friend, and we talked about what had happened the night before. We go to the same youth group, and had been there the previous night. The best part was, we had decided to start using our music (he also is a musician) and voices for worshipping together at youth. So we got to our youth pastors’ house early on Wednesday night, pulled out our guitars, and started singing and playing music to prepare for worship before the devotional.

We talked, we laughed, we sang, and had a great time. And right then, I just started praying internally and thanking God for all He’s given me. After we finished worship, I began writing the next prayer. The last prayer was a pleading for peace and hope. But this one… this was a prayer of praise. A prayer of thankfulness, of grace, and of blessing.

The biggest blessing on Wednesday and Thursday was that my tired prayer that hurt so much to post that came out of absolutely nowhere, had reached a hundred people across the world, was being shared repeatedly, and was inspiring and bringing people closer to God. And that number has almost doubled since then.

That was my blessing.

God took my fear and turned it into something beautiful that could touch others all around me and all around the world. He used my voice, as small as it may be. He gave me courage.

I always tell people to “take courage”. If you have a book signed by me, I promise you’ll see that inscribed inside in some messy teenage girl handwriting. Taking courage isn’t easy. In fact, it’s almost impossible.

But nothing is impossible with God. And when He gives you courage, whether it is to walk through a bad day or even a good one, or to make that bold step, or just the courage to tackle whatever is being thrown in front of you… it’s a gift. Accept that gift. And use it as an opportunity to praise, to worship, and to use it for his glory.

***

August 1, 2019

Psalms 119:114

“You are my hiding place and my shield; I hope in Your word.”

God, with every waking moment, I praise you. You are beautiful, glorious, the name above all names. You show me your glory in the small moments, those little “I love you”s throughout my day, and also in the things that are life changing and it’s overwhelming. You are the peace in the chaos, my shield in the battle, the light that guides my way through the darkness. When I’m scared, hopeless, alone, unloved, and insecure… You stand as my courage. My hope. Because of You, I know I’m never alone. I am never unloved or unlovable, because despite my broken parts, my scars, and my mistakes, You still love me and You will never stop loving me. You are my security. You stand at my side always. Whom shall I fear?

Lord, give me the strength, wisdom, and courage to continue showing Your glory. Help me lead others closer to you with my voice; whether I use my voice to sing, to speak, or even to write, help me use it for Your glory and not my own. Give me wisdom to follow what you ask and command of me, the strength to break the mold society has made for me, and the courage to stand boldly in Your name and show others the real me. The one who has been made new in Your love. Thank you, God. For Your love, Your healing power, and Your grace. For who You are.

-LH

***

Take courage.

-Lorryn Holt

A Tired Girl’s Prayer

1564435530573_image1Have you ever wanted to have a conversation with your character? Slip into your fantasy? Some actually can. I can. And before you leave and start thinking “Okay, this girl is NUTS!” (which I kinda am, but that’s just me), let me explain. No, I don’t see people in my rooms or talk to the shadows on my wall. But I do have an imagination. A very powerful one. And once I sink into it… yeah, all sense of reality is gone. So I get to live in a fantasy. Even for a few minutes. I’ve talked to many of my characters in the very dreams from which they were borne. I’ve sunk into daydreams where I can see and talk to them. I’ve fallen asleep where I am transported into another world with them and we go on crazy adventures. But sometimes… all I want with them is a conversation. Because to me, it’s like a bonding experience with a person who was made by my very own creative design to be absolutely, incredibly, and perfectly imperfect.

Sound familiar at all?… no? Okay, then let’s take a rabbit trail and let’s see if we can understand this from a different point of view.

A lot of people journal or have a diary. Almost all of us have had a journal or a diary at some point in time. I’ve tried many times to start one, but it always kinda fizzled out. I never could figure out what was so special about them or how to keep up with one. A busy lifestyle doesn’t really count in time to sit down and write about your day in a diary.

But recently I’ve discovered something new. Prayer journaling. It has helped me in ways that I never even thought possible. It’s been my way through some of the hardest things I’ve ever had to face.

Most people think that prayer journaling is where you keep a log of your prayers. You set a specific time to pray, then write about what you prayed for, who you prayed for, etc. But I’ve discovered a new meaning to the words “prayer journaling”.

For a girl who is so crazily outgoing and (usually) bold and creative, I find it very hard to pray. Why? Well, to be honest, I’m not really sure. This is not a new occurrence. It’s just always been difficult for me to pray. It’s almost awkward. Maybe it’s because I find myself praying for the same things (even praying the exact same prayer) and it becomes repetitive and boring. Maybe it’s because I don’t know what to say. Maybe it’s because I don’t feel worthy to speak to my Maker, who also happens to have created every single living thing in the universe AND the universe itself.

But then I started realizing that the reason I struggled was; yes, I was insecure; but I was also giving a monologue. I wasn’t open to the idea of having an actual conversation with God because I didn’t think that that kind of connection existed. Until I recently started using writing as a way to talk to God. I’ve started writing my prayers. Instead of saying them aloud, I pick up my sketchbook or notebook and just start writing. Sometimes I don’t know what to write and so I sit and I listen. I listen to the things around me, even if it’s silence. I look around. It only takes a minute or two. And then things start to click. My pencil starts writing, almost by itself.

Yesterday, I had a really tough morning. I felt really stuck, hurt, and lost. I was at church, but felt so disconnected from my family, friends, and God. I just sat in my church’s bathroom in tears because I didn’t know what to do. My mom and friend came and held me for a few minutes, and while that was a big help, I still felt lost. I felt nothing and everything all at once. I needed some time with God.

So I stepped outside of my church, and went walking in the field. Praying. Talking to God. I poured out everything. I pleaded, cried, sang, and even yelled. I felt weak and vulnerable. But I knew that I wouldn’t find strength in yelling in frustration and anger, or in hiding what I was feeling from God. So I stopped. I prayed for wisdom, strength, guidance, patience, and peace. Then when I stopped crying, and let myself be enveloped by God’s love and let myself be held by Him, I went back inside. But God wasn’t done speaking. As soon as I sat down in my chair, I pulled out my sketchbook with intentions of taking notes of the sermon. God had other plans. I wrote down my prayers and poured out everything. My pencil was moving with no effort from me. Some of the things I wrote, I had no idea why I wrote it. But I knew that God was having me write exactly what He wanted me to hear.

After I finished, my parents asked to see my notebook. My dad was sitting beside me in church and could see pieces of what I was writing, but wanted to read it. So I handed my book over. I felt so vulnerable, but by sharing my prayer, I received even more love and support.

My mom greatly encouraged me to share my prayer from yesterday with the rest of you, and some of the other prayers I’ve been writing.

And I’ve been debating and really struggling with the idea of sharing this. I was torn. Torn between wanting to share what’s been happening and drastically changing in my life, and being scared of being vulnerable and losing the writing family I want to build. But now I think it’s time to share my prayer, because I don’t think it was only meant for me.

*****

 

July 28, 2019

Give me faith like Daniel in the lion’s den.
Give me hope like Moses in the wilderness.
Give me a heart like David, Lord be my defense
So I can face my giants with confidence. {Confidence by Sanctus Real}

I’m here to praise. My job on this earth is not to write, or to nurse people back to health, or to draw visually pleasing pictures. My job is to praise. To sing loudly and worship. To show others Your glory through my writing. To show Your healing power through nursing. To paint a picture as close as I can to the things You show me of Your glory and beauty. God, give me the strength to stand against these attacks from the devil. The patience to learn. The hope for another day. The faith of a child who knows as will be taken care of and loved.

Show me Your glory, that I may learn to walk in Your footsteps and show You to others around the world and introduce You as my Holy Father who is offering love, joy, and peace. Anxiety and stress and pain are tiring. God, I’m so tired. But You give us rest and love and healing. Thank you, God. Not just for what You do, but for who You are.
~LH

 

*****
As humans, we are perfectly imperfect. Prayer is not meant to be a monologue. It’s meant to be a dialogue. A conversation between you and God. For God, it’s a bonding experience with a person who was made by His very own creative design to be absolutely, wonderfully, perfectly imperfect. He wants to spend time with you and speak to you. God speaks in many incredible ways. All you have to do is open the conversation.

-Lorryn Holt

Stay Inspired

Lettering on watercolored backgroundThose who know me at all know that I’m a total sucker for sketchbooks and notebooks. I absolutely love them. My mom has put a ban on new notebooks because I’ve got stacks of them. But it’s not that I’m just crazy obsessed with them (well, I kinda am but we don’t need to have an intervention mid-blog so I’m going to leave that for another time). I just love filling them. I have so many notebooks that are filled with dialogue prompts, story ideas, drawings, etc.

When I get a sketchbook, there will always be at least one page in the book that is a new design with the words “Stay Inspired”. Why?

Well, let’s talk about it.

It’s super easy to get inspired. I’ve said this sooo many times. You can walk out on your front porch or open up your laptop (I know y’all wake up and check Instagram so don’t lie) and get inspired to write, draw, sing, etc.

How many people get in their car and just start humming the song that’s stuck in your head? (I CAN’T be the only person that does this.)

Guys, it’s so easy to get inspired. But to stay inspired is a little more complicated. What about the bad days? The difficult days at work? The day after a bad fight with someone? The days where it rains?

Guys, please don’t turn into your grandmother and start gushing “Oooh let’s everybody look for the rainbow!” because, come ON people! Let’s face the facts. There are some rainy days that are full-on depressing and just plain SUCK. And on those days, it’s really hard to be inspired.

Here in Newport, Tennessee, it has rained for months. Occasionally we get a day or two (a couple days if you’re lucky) of sun, but then it’s back to rain. It’s been so hard to get inspired, much less stay that way. So what do we do?

Surround yourself with creativity and inspiration. It doesn’t matter what it is, or where it is. It can be song quote on your mirror, or Bible verses on your fridge, or a note from a friend in your dashboard. Heck, it can be a Taco Bell burrito in your mouth! It really doesn’t matter.

Just surround yourself with the good things.

Oh gosh… I sound like a motivational speaker that says “Look at the glass half full!”

Trust me, I know it’s not always that easy. I’ve been kinda MIA on here lately because I have just had no motivation or inspiration to write and blog. There are some days I don’t want to even get out of bed. I just want to be lazy and chill in my pjs.

You want to know what I do then?

Get up, eat something (sometimes), brush my teeth, and go back to my bed.

Not to sleep, but to get creative.

I know that sitting on your bed is probably a weird way to motivate yourself to get up, but it really works. I surround myself with my sketchbooks, pencils, guitar, and my Bible. That is all the inspiration I need to get me going. I write, I draw as I write, I write chord progressions and even songs (which will NEVER be released), and I pick a certain verse and study up and spend time talking to God. I have never NOT found a verse or prayed a prayer that didn’t change how I go about my day.

Guys, sometimes inspiration starts with the simple things. And to stay inspired, you have to discipline yourself to keep going with it.

So let me challenge you. If you spend 5-10 minutes a day disciplining yourself, immersing yourself in creative energy and inspiration, then that discipline turns into a devotion, and that devotion turns into a desire. You won’t want to go a day without doing (or surrounding yourself with) something creative.

It will change the way you look at things. I promise you, you will see the change in less than 7 days. If you don’t, you can quit, you can can yell at me and blow up my email and never read another one of my blogs again.

But I’m betting you don’t have to.

Trust me, it works.

Stay inspired, fellow creatives.

-Lorryn Holt

Sharing your creativity

IMG_5452I’ve told you guys all about the threats to creative writing for the past couple months. This week, I think we need to discuss one of the best parts of creative writing and arts.

Getting to share your alternate reality.

No, I’m not talking about virtual reality games (though those are pretty cool). I’m talking about creating new worlds through your writing, and sinking into the abyss of your mind where the best dreams and stories lie. Alternate reality is what we all subconsciously create when we daydream, imagine, and draw. It’s an escape from the real world. It creates a world that we wish we could live in. It’s our little piece of heaven on earth.

Look, it’s no secret that life isn’t always very nice. We live in a broken world. Sometimes, it’s hard to just make it through the day. Most of us, if not all, have experienced days like that.

Ever wish you could just escape to another world? Slip into an alternate universe? A completely different reality?

I used to use reading as my escape. But eventually. . . I had to wake up from the dream when the story ended.

But when you write your own stories, or draw your own scenes, getting lost in the creativity and joy that comes from it. . . it doesn’t have to end.

Every day, I sink back into my stories and drawing.

Over time, I figured out how to make my alternate universe a part of my reality. And it’s way easier than you think. 

Just don’t give up.

Some people think that when the book ends, the story is over. But it doesn’t have to be.

We can continue the story.

Learn something from it.

We can live it.

Even better, we can share it.

Yesterday morning, after worship practice and some talking and laughter in the lobby of my church, my Sunday school class was discussing devotionals and what we should actually do with them. Some people said we just read them and try to apply it to our day.

After digging a little deeper, we decided that there were four things we should do.

Read, reflect, apply, and share.

The entire class has taken it on as a challenge for 365 days, starting today.

We read the lesson, reflect on what it means and how it could effect us and our lives to make a change (not just our day), apply it to how we look at and deal with the struggles that life throws at us, and share it with someone else.

You never know when someone else could be struggling. Maybe they just want to slip into an alternate universe. Maybe they want to go on a fantastical adventure. Maybe they want to dive into a story and get lost in the joy of an escape. Maybe they are struggling just to get through the day.

We as creatives have the power to help them through that.

Share your thoughts. Share your creativity.

Inspire someone.

Our Sunday school room is decorated with all kinds of barnwood signs with sayings, deer paintings, etc. It’s kinda rustic chic. I helped my dad make 90% of the stuff in the room. When we were coming up with sayings to put on the signs, we weren’t sure what to put on them. We could have done verses, but maybe that was a little too inside the stereotypical box. (If you haven’t read the Stereotypical Box blog, be sure to check it out! https://lorrynholt.wordpress.com/2019/03/18/trapped-inside-the-stereotypical-box/ ) So after thinking about it for a while, we decided to put up something that could help remind us what we do this for.

We have five signs in the room. Two of them, I find myself writing and applying every day. What are they?

Well, the first one is, “If you have the power to make someone smile, do it. The world needs more of that.”

The second one is the biggest sign in the room.

“Adventure awaits.”

Think about that. Adventure awaits. When one adventure ends, that doesn’t mean the story is over. That means it’s just beginning.

My first big adventure began on April 17, 2018. The day my book was released.

Lately, I had been feeling like the adventure was slowing down to a standstill. I wasn’t writing as much, I wasn’t motivated to do blogs, I felt like I wasn’t reaching anyone or connecting to my usual creativity. Then, like God just grinned and said “wait for it. . . Aaand NOW!”, my creative energy burst open wide. I have started editing my third book in the Alaina Jackson Trilogy, I haven’t stopped drawing and singing in days, and received a pretty big surprise on Friday the 7th. Dolly Parton, the queen of country music, had heard about me and my book from her nephew (who works with my dad), and wanted a signed copy. Later that day, my dad got a picture of her with my book, reading it.

I nearly passed out, God laughed, and I got to share my creativity with one of the world’s most well known country singers.

I got to make her smile.

This is what comes from having the courage to share your creativity.

Guys, don’t be afraid to share your dreams, your alternate reality, your imagination, with the rest of the world. Amazing things thing can come from it. Adventures await you.

You have the power to make someone smile.

Do it.

-Lorryn Holt

Expanding your creativity

FullSizeRenderI know that every week, I come to you guys and talk about creativity. Well. . . more like I come to you and talk about writing. And I’ve been missing the whole point. What I should be telling you about is how to show your creativity in all ways. Writing that is not the only way to let out your creativity. And I think that by sticking to one area only, you could be holding yourself back.

This is why we should all try to expand our horizons a little bit.

When I was little (I would usually say ‘young’, but hey, I’m still just 15; haven’t really surpassed ‘young’ yet.) I loved to draw. It was everything to me. But being inexperienced, and more than slightly ADHD, I never really took the time to do anything with it. I could doodle and draw a couple things pretty well, and I thought that just being okay was enough.

Then I started writing short stories too. But those short stories were never enough. They started to grow. I kept writing, and I wound up going farther than I ever thought possible. I found myself, at only fourteen years old, sitting in my living room with my parents, who were on the phone with a publisher who wanted to publish my book. All the sudden, art (and pretty much everything else in my life) was immediately put on hold and I threw my everything into this opportunity. And let me just say. . .

Holy. Crudmuffins.

Just the thought of it still makes me rub my eyes to see if I’m still dreaming. There are times that I feel almost brought to tears by how far God has brought me in this journey, and how supportive all my family and friends were and still are. But even with their help. . . ME?! An AUTHOR?!

That was a big jump for a fourteen year old kid to be a published author and have her book placed in over fifteen countries and ten different languages (Still not sure how that happened. Some days, I can barely speak English!). It was a bigger jump to actually start going to schools, libraries, and world-wide-known book stores to meet and greet and sign my book. (Apparently, I’m supposed to call them ‘speaking engagements’, but come on guys. I’m fifteen and can’t say that without adding in a British accent and a laugh as soon as it comes out of my mouth.)

I knew that this author thing wasn’t going to be a full time job. I felt (and still feel) extremely led to the medical field, specifically pediatrics. So, maybe this wasn’t going to be my career. . . but it was still a big change with lifelong reciprocations and responsibilities. I get introduced to people I would have never in a million years thought I could talk to, and they are floored (meanwhile, I’m quaking in my shoes) by the fact that I’m so young and took initiative to write and publish a book.

I was so focused and determined to keep writing that. . . I just kinda dropped everything else. It became disheartening after a while that writing was all I did. I needed a change. Another way to let my creativity flow. So. . . back to the childhood favorites.

Lately, my writing seems to have slowed down a little, and more things are falling into place. Writing is not the only means of creativity. There are a million different ways. Me being the “basic” teenage girl I am, I check the most common boxes.

I’m musical. I sing, and play the fiddle and guitar. (I’m a stereotypical teenage girl from the south, I know. I’ve heard it from everybody.)

I’m artistic. I have been getting back into the art that I left as a kid, and expanding my knowledge and creativity. I can’t even explain how good it feels to let everything pour out of a pencil and just create.

I write. (Y’all already know this.)

But let me explain how I see creativity, as a whole. Creativity is the skill of painting a picture.

Sometimes literally, sometimes not.

When you play music, whether it be through a radio or an acoustic guitar or even just humming, you have a connection to every person in the room through the sound. Despite any difference in ethnicity, religion, gender, background, culture, etc. It doesn’t matter. Music is a beautiful thing. It is a universal gift directly from God.

It’s the same with art. It is telling a story through every stroke of the pencil, pen, or paintbrush. It creates a connection, a bond that we all share deep within our hearts. Whether it be a sketch or photograph of the mountains; or an abstract work of color, shapes, and designs. . . it’s all forms of creativity bundled into one beautiful work of unique art.

Focusing is not a danger. Sometimes, focus is exactly what you need to create what you are meant to create.

But shutting everything else out is one of the worst dangers that a person could encounter.

Don’t be afraid to expand your horizons. It’s okay to be excited and work on one thing specifically in your life, but don’t shut out all the possibilities. You could be missing the very thing that changes your life.

Or, more importantly. . .

You could be missing out on something that changes someone else’s life.

Don’t be afraid to expand your horizons.

Beautiful things can come from it.

Stay creative, guys.

-Lorryn Holt

Memorial Day Remembrance

IMG_20190527_101159_330.JPGI know I said that Monday was going to be a day for Threats to Creative Writing blogs… but I think that we can make an exception for today.

In a poll of 10,000 people… 60% of them thought that Memorial Day is a day to celebrate our military. Some of you reading this right now are probably saying “uhhh isn’t it?”

Nope.

Memorial Day is a day of remembrance for ALL the people that have given their lives for our country.

Veterans Day is a celebration of the men and women who survived.

Independence Day is a celebration of our freedom.

But Memorial Day is for anyone in history who has given their lives for our country.

Lots of people have asked me why I chose 9/11 to use in my book, The Forest of Fayleen. Honestly… I wasn’t going to. I was twelve years old, and didn’t really know what it was. What it really meant. The original plan was to just use a car accident to make Lane go live with her grandparents. But I was doing American history in school, and started reading about it. I realized that if I didn’t know… how many other kids didn’t know? I started doing more research, and felt compelled to write about it. I had to do something about it.

One of the greatest tragedies in American history was 9/11. In seconds, over three thousand people lost their lives. The twin towers fell, and it was over.

That was a great tragedy.

Writing The Forest of Fayleen was my way of honoring them.

We can’t forget. We can’t forget about them. But it’s not just them.

What some never really think about is that men and women lose their lives for this country every single day. To give us the gift of freedom.

So today, we should all honor and remember all of them.

If you have lost someone, or know someone that has, please share this.

Don’t let them be forgotten.

Don’t just celebrate.

Remember.

-Lorryn Holt

Afraid of Speaking Up

downloadfile-63“I would really love to tell my story, but I’m too busy/afraid/shy. Surely someone else can do it.”

You would be amazed how many times I’ve heard that. Far too many people believe it to be true. But it is NOT true. Your story is special. Your story is different. Your story is inspiring. Your story can change the world.

I used to be really shy about my writing, and sometimes I still am. But now I see what it can do for others. Everyone fights to “make it” in the world. To go big. To get yourself out there. But if your stories can inspire a single person in this world, you’ve already made it.

I know a little girl who is seven years old. She goes to my church, and is one of the sweetest (and craziest) kids I know. She hates being still for any period of time. She’s crazy active, always running, doing flips, splits, and cartwheels, and just being a kid. But someone that hates being still and quiet, sitting down and writing a story? Yeah, not gonna happen. Well… that’s what we thought, anyway.

When she saw what I do, she loved the idea. She told her mother and sister that she wanted to be just like me. So she started exactly how I did. She sat down, and actually made up and wrote down a short story.

She was inspired.

At the beginning of this year, I met a man who is one of the most inspirational people that I have ever seen. At first, I couldn’t stand this guy. Honestly, I thought he was a real jerk. (Oh man, I hope he reads this.) He teased me all the time, cracked stupid jokes, and some of his ideas were so out of this world that I saw them as completely ridiculous.

People, I’m a fiction writer. That’s what I do. It’s my job to come up with something fantastically insane that people love to read. I thought I had some pretty crazy ideas.

This guy could put me to shame without even trying.

If you tried to follow his train of thought, you wouldn’t able to keep up for very long (according to my friends and family, that’s true for me too). But then I got to know this guy a little better. We kinda became friends. He was still frustrating, and still sometimes a jerk… but he always inspired me. He never held back. And with his imagination being so incredibly nuts and his writing so different and unique, he boosted my creativity and made me strive to be better. Now… I can honestly say that my writing has gotten quite a bit better since meeting him. Unfortunately I’m not really in contact with him anymore, but he still inspires me.

And that is exactly what we should be for other people. No, not just writers. People. Anyone we meet. We should be an inspiration.

“It’s the goal of every writer to use our stories to make the world a better place. A more creative place. I’m never going to stop writing. I’m never going to give up on this world, because I see what we could be. You shouldn’t give up either.” -Me, myself, and I 🙂

“You see things; and you say ‘why?’ But I dream things that never were; and I say ‘why not?’ “ -George Bernard Shaw

You can’t be afraid to tell your story. That statement “someone else will do it” is nothing but a invalid excuse. They can’t tell your story if they don’t know it.

Everyone has a reason to write. Something that drives you to create. It probably just popped into your head right now, didn’t it? Use that as motivation!

If you let your fear of speaking up get in the way of telling your stories, if you hold yourself back, you could be missing out on inspiring a lot of people. Don’t hold back.

Be different.

Stay creative.

Write crazy stories.

Inspire others.

Make the world a better place.

-Lorryn Holt

Off and On Writing

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Off and on writing is very similar to procrastination, but different at the same time.

The definition of procrastination is “to put off intentionally and habitually; to put off intentionally the doing of something that should be done.” But off and on writing tends to happen to people once inspiration strikes. This type of writing is both good and bad. Its good to get inspired, don’t get me wrong! You are listening to someone who writes this way all the time. But the problem is… if we only write when we get inspired, what happens if we don’t get inspired by anything for a while?

We stop writing.

Writing to me is like breathing. It’s a natural part of my life, and it’s as much a part of me as the blood flowing through my veins. I can’t NOT write. I’ve actually tried to see how long I could go without writing anything. I think I lasted… I think it was maybe a week? It became physically and mentally painful. I know it sounds stupid but its true!

When you keep that creativity pent up, it’s like building up a bomb. When it explodes… I couldn’t stop writing for over eight hours. I had so many different ideas and it all just poured out. Some were completely incoherent to even me (I still don’t know what some of that stuff meant) but some were great plots and story prompts that I still have and use on a daily basis.

Off and on writing is basically bursts of creative writing that can be spread out between days, weeks, or even months. Sometimes it’s not a bad thing, but if you wait for weeks to months before writing again, your story motivation can become weak or even die. And that’s the last thing I want to happen to anyone. There are so many stories that I haven’t finished because I lost my motivation due to just ceasing to write. I have more unfinished stories than friends. Not even kidding.

(I can share some of these ideas and story prompts with you, just email me! I’d love to talk to you!)

So seeing that the best things come in threes, we have three solutions to off and on writing!

The first is… set a goal. This is a lot like New Year’s resolutions, and sometimes it’s really hard to keep, but at least try! Write yourself a reminder on your phone or even a physical note to remind yourself to write a certain amount of words every day. And this should be a minimum of words to write. Try to exceed your own expectations, but be realistic. If you set a goal of five thousand words a day, you’ll burn yourself out really fast! I know because I tried it. It doesn’t work and it becomes a chore instead of enjoyable like it should be. It is much easier and more fun to set a goal of like, 750 to 1,000. That’s a realistic expectation that should be an easy goal to hit, as most people type more words in a single text conversation than 750. So… yeah.

The second is… write down your ideas. I have mentioned this so many times and I know you’re probably sick of hearing it but I cannot stress how important this is. I have two writing apps on my phone, two on my tablet/laptop, AND I carry around a notebook and sketchbook. Write. Down. Your. Ideas! Or if you are an artist, draw a scene! There are so many different ways to do this.

I love writing down different writing prompts, or dialogue prompts, which brings us to our third solution. Writing prompts. I know that some people don’t like this, they like doing everything 100% by themselves, and that’s okay! I just really like this option, because it can bring up some great topics and spark some ideas of our own. There is nothing wrong with asking for help, guys. It’s okay to need some advice or motivation to write, because sometimes that motivation can slow down. But writers help each other, and it’s our job as fellow writers and friends to motivate you! If you ever find yourself wanting to talk to another writer, or need a prompt to get you going again, please click on the “message me” button and send me an email! I will get back to you as fast as I possibly can.

I struggle with this sometimes myself, usually just writing whenever I get inspired, but this has helped me greatly and I hope it helps you guys too!

Stay creative, guys!

-Lorryn Holt

PS. 785 words. See? Told you it was easy 😉

How We View Our Gift

8286281-vector-illustration-of-abstract-hand-unique.jpgWe’ve kinda talked about this before when we discussed the dangers of being put into the Stereotypical Box. I’ve told you all time and time again how unique and special your writing is, but WHY? Why do I stress it so much? Maybe it’s because I struggle with this myself.

People always tell me “Oh, you’re a writer?! You’re so special!!!”

It gets a little frustrating sometimes and occasionally patronizing too. They never mean it that way, but when you hear it so many times… So my response is either “Thank you.” Or “Okay. How am I special?”

Unfortunately, due to me usually being unable to control my mouth, it’s usually the second response. 

Ninety percent of the people will not have an answer. Ten percent will, but it’s usually something cliche like “Well, you’re you, and that makes you special!” Or “You’re a writer, and that’s a special thing!”

I used to disagree with that last cliche answer sooo strongly. And my answer, no matter what their response was (and it still is, usually), “Not really. It’s just… me.” 

So. Let’s talk about uniqueness today, shall we?

There is nothing more unique than a mushroom.

Don’t click the exit button yet, please bear with me on this! 

One of my family’s favorite things to do in the spring is going mushroom hunting out in the woods. We have a couple of special spots that we always go to, and when you take the the first step out of the car… it’s like coming home. My dad has hunted mushrooms for YEARS. Way before my brothers and I were around. Way before my mom, too. He always loved it, and still does. And even as small children, we loved it too. Micah (my middle brother) was always the best at it. Until I got old enough to actually get serious about it and do more than dance around poison ivy and accidentally step on the tiny mushrooms poking out of the ground. 

Saturday, we did our last hunt of the year. We found a LOT, and for the first time ever, I found the most. Dad says it was because I got extra “hot” that day and I was on fire with finding them. It happens. But in my opinion… it was because I was able to fully embrace the beauty and enjoy what I was doing wholeheartedly! I started marveling at the uniqueness of each and every mushroom, and actually thinking about it. The best findings happen when you are diving deep into your own thoughts.

Whenever I can’t think of what to write for a blog, I always got to my dad. He’s my brainstorming partner. And he loves telling stories, so he’s one of my favorite people to go to for ideas. And this week he said “You write books about woods. You’re in the woods right now. Get inspired. Hey, I know! Write about the mushrooms.” 

My first instinct was to say “But Dad, they aren’t going to care about hunting mushrooms and what I did on my days goofing off with my family.” Until… I started to see what he meant when he started staring at the last mushroom we found. 

 

He just smiled and said, “Look how perfect. If there was EVER a picture perfect mushroom, this is it.” I leaned down to pick it and realized that he was exactly right, and not just on the topic of mushrooms. It was so unique, and just… Perfect. To the point of indescribable. That is the perfect way to describe the gift of a writer. You can’t describe it, it’s just there. Its perfectly imperfect, and that makes it unique and incredible. 

Everyone has this instinct to create built inside of them. And the makeup of the instinct is ALWAYS different. No writer is the same. Like I said in “Stereotypical Box”, there isn’t a plot, storyline, or headline that hasn’t been used in the centuries of writers we have in our history. But it’s all about how you write it, what you change, and how you make it unique and YOURS that makes it special!

Everyone is unique, and has quirks. (I have a lot of quirks, as my best friends will tell you very plainly.) 

No one is the same, and that’s what makes being a writer a unique gift. Because we are all different, yet all have the same drive towards the goal of helping our characters complete their journey. Your characters are unique. The way they talk is unique. Their journey is unique, because it’s different and it’s YOU writing it, no one else. It’s so special and it’s a beautiful process. 

It’s okay to say, “It’s just me.” But never say it isn’t special or unique. Because if it is “just you”, then it is special. When you are looking at your writing, your uniqueness, your gift, don’t let it become so ordinary to you that it becomes underappreciated.

Your gift is like a handprint. Its unique to you, only you have that specific handprint, and it’s unexplainably, beautifully, imperfectly perfect. In a way, like a mushroom.

You gotta embrace the quirks of being a writer. 

It really is special. 

-Lorryn Holt

Competition Guidelines

hand-writing-inscription-guidelines-marker-260nw-458919445.jpgTournaments and competitions… we all have our own opinions of them. Some people love to enter them, some people hate them and avoid them at all costs.

I used to dislike them. Why? I honestly don’t know. It wasn’t that I disliked the deadlines, that I had to have something done by a certain time at a certain day, but I DID dislike the guideline writing stereotype that the majority of them contained.

They would give you a story type to write, a certain amount of words, what had to be accomplished, the ending they were looking for, etc. And if you branched out, you instantly lost because you did something different. I didn’t like it.

In the Creative Wall blog, I mentioned the entrance story I had done to make my way into a story group. I liked how they were doing things a lot more than everyone else was. They let ME pick my character, they built an opponent that I had to overcome, and said write a battle with whatever ending you see to be appropriate for you character and the story.

That was the best competition style writing I have ever done.

I started the story, got into character, and just let my creativity flow and run wild.

It. Was. Amazing.

That feeling is one of the best feelings in the WORLD, when you just let everything go and just write without a care in the world. When I started, I was SO nervous about someone else reading my work that I just threw together in less than 15 minutes. And then I started running out of ideas for an ending… what could I possibly do?

The only option I had was doing exactly what I do best. Flipping the story on its head. Then I decided to do something I had never done before… And recreate/unveil this villain as the person I wanted it to be.

And I got into the group for the reasons being… what I was doing with the story was different from anything they had ever seen before, my writing style was incredibly unique and cool, and my escape of an ending was (to quote one of my friends that I made in the group) BOMB.

The reason they saw my writing as different was because I let loose, went crazy, and let myself become my character to make something like nothing I’d written before. Which is EXACTLY what we should be writing every time!

The reason they thought my writing style was unique and cool was because its me. Raw, 100% carefree, and completely me being me. And, fortunately for me, I’m unique. 🙂

The reason they thought my ending was “BOMB” was because I flipped the story and changed what they said and it still made 100% sense.

I broke the stereotypical “write this and you’ll make it.” I don’t like being told what I can and can’t write.

And if you’re looking for a competition to enter, and they give you guidelines like that… you don’t need to be a part of it. Anything that’s going to try to rein back your creativity is something you don’t need if you are working o your CREATIVE writing.

Never try to hold back your creativity. It only hurts you, and it can never last forever. That creativity is going to find some way to come out.

Let it.

-Lorryn Holt