The life and words of Ashley, Erin, and Michelle

My Personal Peptalk July 17, 2009

Filed under: Writing — ashleybarrett @ 9:25 am
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Even though I claim to be a writer I find so many ways to do something besides write.

If avoiding were an olympic sport, I think I’d own a gold medal. My first avoidance tactic is usually household tasks. There’s always something to clean, cook or rearrange. But sometimes I want to avoid chores too so I have to seek my excuses elsewere.

Enter the internet, Facebook, Twitter and blogs. Hey, I’m “networking” right? Or if I’m browsing random sites on the internet I tell myself I’m doing “research.” But what’s the point of networking and researching if you never get around to writing anything? If an agent asked me right now, “So what do you write?” An honest answer would be “Tweets mostly. Occasionally a  journal entry or blog post. Want to represent me? ”

What good is that connection now?

Or, even scarier, standing in front of Jesus who after gave me a new life and a call to write. He asks “What did you do?”

“I tweeted at least once Monday through Friday and some of them were really witty.”

Despite the truth, I think avoiding writing is natural, especially for a writer. Or at least my avoidance feels natural. Writing for me is like jumping off a cliff. What if there’s nothing there? Or what if something is there I don’t want to land on.  What if I can’t recover? Writing dissolves denial and sometimes everything you have carefully swept under the rug rushes at you. Who wouldn’t avoid that?

So what’s a writer to do? Next week I’ll write about things that make jumping off that cliff a little less daunting.

Question for you: How do you feel when you begin writing, composing, painting etc.?


Another definition of Perfectionism May 26, 2009

Filed under: Writing — ashleybarrett @ 10:31 am
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I overheard two ladies in my church talk about sewing. The first said, “Maybe you could help me. I want to make a slipcover for my recliner.”

“Wow,” said the other lady, “that’s a big job.”

“I know,” said the first lady with a sigh. “I was so excited when I bought the fabric and I can’t start it. I want it done, but I have this perfectionism, I don’t want to look at it if I mess up.”

I identified with her as only a fellow perfectionist can—then my thoughts screeched to a halt. Wait a minute, I’m not a perfectionist! Perfectionists graduate with a 4.0 GPA and scrub their kitchen floors with toothbrushes. That’s not me!

Still, how many things have I never tried because I didn’t think I’d do well? Because I couldn’t live with making mistakes? That’s also perfectionism.

And nothing wakes up my insecurity like writing. I want to write excellent, well-crafted words and stories. I’m afraid I’ll waste my time by writing something lousy. I’m afraid I’ll look at it and see that I’m no good at this. I’m afraid of humiliating myself in front of other people. What if I look like one of the bad auditions in American Idol pouring my heart out while the judges snicker and tell me to find a new dream?


So I find other things to do. I check my e-mail, again. I wipe the counters one more time. I let that idea for a novel or article grow stale in my mind. The stories remain unwritten, and I become the writer who talks and reads about writing, but can’t sit in her chair and write.

First drafts in writing are like a baby’s first steps. The fumbling words must come before the confident strides of polished prose.

That’s why I’m writing this post today. Before I sat at the computer, I nervously searched my house for something to clean, something to eat, something else to keep me from writing. But I’m here now, and I’m writing. And it’s never as bad as I imagine.

So how about you? What are you afraid to try?


Rollercoaster May 14, 2009

Filed under: Life in General — Erin Joy @ 4:20 pm
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Life gets a little better, life gets a little gray
Live it up, live it long you can always count on
Those unexpected moments when the pleasure just sweeps you away.
We were made for something better,
Something better than this inconsistency,
So while you wait to respond to what’s really going on,
Under shame, under doubt, what’s the whole thing all about,
Sing to me.

– “Rollercoaster” by Kendall Payne

“So while you wait to respond to what’s really going on . . .”  On my drive home from Indiana, I realized that I have been just sitting around just waiting for the next exciting thing to happen to me. I haven’t made much effort in finding anything new.

A few years ago, I made the declaration that I would not be afraid to go where God was leading me, but now I am looking at where I’ve been since I said that, I realize that my life has only been encompassed by fear. I have not experienced as much as I could have, and I have notcome very far because I haven’t been willing to step out and take a risk.

After a conversation I had with a friend yesterday, I have decided that I need to escape the rut I’ve fallen into, whether it’s by going somewhere I’ve never been or by trying something new. I just know I can’t stay where I am at, and I can’t let fear hold me back anymore.

What is holding you back while you’re waiting for what’s next in life?