Living that Beatles life


“When I was younger, so much younger than today
I never needed anybody’s help in any way
But now these days are gone and I’m not so self assured
Now I find I’ve changed my mind, I’ve opened up the doors”

Growing up I always thought that being an adult meant being more independent. Staying up late, eating whatever and whenever I wanted, video games for days, all that and so much more could be mine as an adult.

Now, besides the fact my ideal benchmarkers for sleep, eating, and video games have all radically changed, I’ve also found my understanding of being an adult and independence have changed as well.

Because whether in the realm of my family, friends, faith, or work, I really do need people.

So thank you, people.

The simplest example of this in my life is probably in my writing.

When I was in high school, if you would have asked me what I was going to be, I would have told you world famous author. I also would have told you I was specially gifted by God for just such a thing. It was practically fate.

And maybe it is. Only He knows. But I can also tell you now, many years of work, sweat, and tears later, that if it does happen, if I get published at all, it will not be without hours of work, sweat, and tears from other people as well (hopefully properly acknowledged!), something that might only have occurred to me previously as some kind of obvious, throwaway fact, and that an honor for those involved. (Yes, I was a monster.)

A lot has changed since then, mostly a severe uptick in my respect and honor for those people and a steady downward trend in the bloated opinion I had of myself.

There are other monumental examples of this in my life as well, whether the friends I am slowly learning to love correctly, the family I am learning to appreciate, and greatest of all of course, God, whose patience with my running, ducking, and outright willfulness is beyond all measure.

It’s taken a long and humbling journey to get here though, with many more miles down the road. It’s hard to admit you need help, that you really can’t do anything you want (or at least not as well as you’d like). But there’s something nice about it too. It’s a grand thing to learn to celebrate others for what they can do that you can’t, to find the beauty in their uniqueness, to learn from those who know more, and yes, to realize that even you have your own little nook in this universe too.

So again, to all who have helped me get where I am today, to those I have helped and for all those I meet in future, thanks. I hope I can live to be someone worthy of all the things that have been poured into my life (though I have the suspicion I won’t, for which I am all the more thankful).

P.S. If you didn’t watch the video, you should. Paul is so excited and happy looking. What a ride that must have been. It’s adorable.

So, are there any examples in your life where you’ve found joy in reliance? Have you had a similar story? Who are people who have really helped you or people you’ve helped? Where could you grow? Let me know in the comments!


Writing with writers

These seems sufficiently hipster-y enough for my tastes. Not shown: What I actually look like writing with my friends, on our laptops, in a library…

Hi all,

Just a quick post to talk about something I’ve just discovered in my own writing life: writing with other writers.

It all happened when a friend of mine asked if I wanted to join her for lunch and some writing time. I’ve never been one to study or work with others around, and I had some reservations about how much I would get done with the ready distraction of a friend around, but it was a writing day for me, and she’s great, so I thought I’d give it a try.

We started with lunch, talking about life and writing and such, and then when we were finished, we moved to a local coffee shop.

We were there for nearly four hours, almost all of that spent on consistent, profitable work.

It was amazing. I struggle with focus a lot in my writing, getting distracted by Facebook, research, nitpicky details, discouragement, or whatever else, but having her there, knowing she was working too, made my focus so much better. Since then I’ve written with her or a few other writing friends a few different times, and each time I’ve gotten so much more done than I would have on my own, even on bad writing days.

In addition to better focus, I also feel more accountable. Not only just in feeling accountable to work while they’re working, but also in feeling accountable for sticking to the time I set aside for it and actually making progress. After all, I can spend a lot of time “working” and not get a lot done, but knowing that when we’re done, I’ll be asked what I accomplished helps me to remember my goals and to take the steps I need to achieve them, whether I’m working with that person or not.

On top of that, it’s also just nice to have company and quick access to feedback. Whether trying to find the right word or working through a plot problem, having someone on hand to help –and getting to help them in return–is really rewarding. And when that person knows you, your work, and your craft, it’s even better.

Now, there are a few downsides to this strategy, mainly in having to work out scheduling, having less workspace (which can be rough if you take up as much space as I do when I’m working on editing and world-building), and the danger of being too over-reliant on others to get you to work, but thus far the trade-off for me has landed in favor of writing with others, at least some of the time. At the very least, as I continue to manage the balance, it’s another great tool in my writer’s tool belt.

So, what about you? What have been your experiences working either by yourself or with others (it doesn’t have to be writing)? Do you find one or the other more helpful  in being productive, accountable, or otherwise? Is it situational to the job? Personality-based (I’m an introvert too, by the way)? What about larger scale groups or designated times like Nanowrimo’s write-ins or Night of Writing Dangerously? Collaborative stories?

Tell me about it below!