Tag Archives: notebook

Once Bitten

Photograph by Chloe Green 2012

My dog, Lilly, was bitten by another dog this week.

Ouch.

The vet stapled her wound shut, and if that wasn’t dismal enough, condemned her to wear ‘the cone of shame’ for ten days. Like any self respecting animal, Lilly was desperate to lick her wound. She moped around the house forlornly. She whimpered. She kept me up for two nights sitting by the edge of my bed staring at me, determined that I would be the guest of honour at her pity party. It worked. It’s ridiculously hard to resist those beautiful brown eyes, even at 3am. The following day I gave in and removed her cone, vowing to watch her vigilantly to prevent her inflicting any further damage. Of course I got distracted.  I have a university degree in getting distracted (with distinction). After a twenty minute phone call, I returned to find Lilly gleefully licking her laceration. She wagged her tail triumphantly, having managed to pull out the staples and open the wound.  Lilly and I spent another hour at the vet.

She was hurt all over again.

We do that don’t we? We feel attacked. Bitten. Injured. Disappointed. And we hold on. Sometimes we find it almost impossible to not keep returning to our wound and reopening it, repeatedly.

I completed a novel last year, succeeded in securing an agent, and like thousands of others who submit full of optimism and sparkle, my book was rejected. Many times.  I spent months, not unlike Lilly, feeling sorry for myself and gouging at my wound. I longed for the life I was leading in the run up to the submission, full of promise and potential. I attempted to begin another novel, but without the validation I had been seeking, my enthusiasm for my craft wobbled and wavered. Eventually, a scab began to form and with the scab new ideas and resolve slowly began to generate. I decided to write about my experience of rejection, as a means of catharsis, but also as a way of fielding the constant questioning from everyone I knew.

Them: “So,what’s happening with your book?”
Me: “Ummmm….”

I sent my ode to rejection to a group of family and friends and it spread from there. The encouragement and support I received in return was awesome. The rally around me was palpable. My willingness to lay myself bare seemed to inspire people.

Suddenly it was clear to me.

I had been contemplating the idea of Write To Be You for some time, but had been too focused on the novel to initiate motion. I wanted to create a community that drew together my psychotherapy training and my writing background. I wanted to design a space for myself and others that didn’t rely purely on external approval. I imagined a forum where I could encourage others to write to make connection to themselves, rather than to please someone else. A bright, luminous lightbulb appeared above my head and Write To Be You Workshopsand blog were born.The ethos: write from your heart and your words will find a pulse. 

My intention, restated, is:

To offer a safe, empathic environment where we can contemplate wounds, reveal scabs and scars, and support one another in not constantly reopening the cuts and watching them bleed. Write To Be You is a call to creative action.  A wish that everyone reading will spend some time reflecting on the posts and writing, even if it is just for a few minutes or a few lines.  I’m showing up here every Monday and every Thursday with an invitation for you to write and to share. All your stories, responses and thoughts are read by me and published in the comments section, where we can weave together common threads, as well as delight in our differences.

If you choose to write, even for just ten minutes, twice a week, in a matter of months you will have a lively notebook. I’m also regularly challenging you to a Ready, Steady, Write… an opportunity to launch your imagination or your thoughts from an image and watch your words as they fly.

So please join Lilly (who is on the mend) and me in this new phase of promise and potential. We both may have been once bitten, but we’ve come to understand, there is little to be gained from being twice shy.

If you’re interested in the piece I originally wrote “It’s good, but…” Reflections on Rejection, it has been published on Single Minded Women. Click here to read.

And now to my readers – what has bitten you and how have you reacted? Have you been picking at a wound or finding it hard to move away from shame? What advice or stories do you have for other readers who are grappling with rejection?  Your responses are welcomed here always…. ten minutes, ten lines… just write…

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The Notebook

Don’t get your hopes up.  This is not a prompt to write about Ryan Gosling.  But if you feel you absolutely must – knock yourself out.  I am not in the business of holding people back!  I am in the business of encouraging growth.  Growth begins with a seed. A seed needs a container.  The container needs to be carefully selected so it feels just right.

The Notebook.

When I was a girl and onwards into adulthood, I always had a drawer full of notebooks.  With the best intentions, I would write conscientiously in any one of those said notebooks for a week.  Or two.  Sometimes more.  And then I would drift on to a newer notebook. A cooler notebook. A prettier one.  I was extremely fickle when it came to stationary.  I just couldn’t commit, and that was long before the days of endlessly upgrading an i-phone.

If you are following the blog, you hopefully have already pondered on your commitments for the year.  Have you committed to writing?  Once a week?  Twice a week?  Every day?  Set the bar where you can reach it, and if you haven’t yet – choose a notebook.  Even if you plan to write on the computer, I urge you to choose a notebook.  And stick with it.  Carry it with you if you can.  Tie it with a string or a ribbon or a piece of wool.  Protect it.  Fold images into its pages – torn scraps – words or pictures that catch you.  Write in it.  Doodle in it.  Smell the paper.  It will gradually and satisfyingly fill up.  And you will grow…

Can you remember a notebook you had as a child? A diary? A journal? What did it look like? Describe the cover. Where did it come from? Was it a gift or did you choose it? What did you write in it?

If you can’t recall, write from here: “I am a notebook, open my pages and you will find…”

Write for at least ten minutes. Go…

If you are following Write To Be You and have jumped in and started writing, I would love to hear your comments. If you’re feeling very courageous, share an excerpt.  I promise you it will inspire others to pick op their pens!

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