Anything is Possible!

With Hope, Faith, and Perseverance


9 Comments

8 Ways to Keep Going When the Journey Gets Long

     Path to beach

 ( Today’s post comes from my June Newsletter. )

  Most of us have seen that ancient quote by Lao-Tzu,

  “A  journey of a thousand miles, begins with a single step.”

     It’s a good motivator to get us started. But what about when you’ve been taking those steps for a while, and the journey of a thousand miles feels like two-thousand? Lately, I’ve felt that way about my book.

     Don’t get me wrong! I love my book. I believe in my book. But it feels like high time for my baby to leave the nest and fly out into the world. Yet, I keep getting these opportunities to trust the timing. Thanks, God.

     I know my past six years of book writing is a drop in the bucket compared to some journeys, and I’m glad I got to learn so much about the intricacies of writing, editing, revising, book cover design, ….. (and the technical stuff – but let’s not even go there except for this picture.)

crossed eyes in confusion

Technical glitches. (Add 50 years and messy hair.)

      The good news is that publication is right around the corner. I can see it! I have real paperback proof copies being proof read as I write this. And I am thankful. This journey has been worth every step.

So, What does it take to keep going, to not give up, when we tire of the journey?  Here are some things that can help:

1. Rest. Take breaks. But don’t rest too long, because there’s that inertia thing.

2. Do something totally different. If you spend a lot of time on the computer, get outside and move!  Use different parts of your mind and body. Stretch your legs! Put on some music and dance! (I’m talking to myself here, too.)

3. Get a fresh perspective – ask for honest and encouraging feedback. Ask for positive feedbaMakeck along with constructive criticism. What do they like? What could be better?

4.  Consider changes. Research, then trust your gut. Maybe there’s a different path to take that just feels right. For me, it was the decision to publish under my maiden name – a big, inconvenient step but one that brought peace of mind and forward momentum.

5. Break big jobs into small parcels. Take one chapter at a time or one paragraph at a time, and congratulate yourself for getting through each step.  I have clutter issues. Hey, I’m an artist! It helps me to focus on one corner, counter, or table top and de-clutter that small space. Then I stand back and admire the “after” picture.

6. Think about the reason for the finished product, whether it’s a clean table top or a published book. What are the likely benefits? How will it improve your life or help others?

7. Pray. Ask for what you need, be it guidance, strength, balance, gratitude, or patience.

     Patience is not simply the ability to wait – it’s how we behave while we’re waiting.

                                                   (Dr. Joyce Meyer)

8. Remember that “Nothing is impossible.” That’s what my father told me when I was 12, and it stuck. Here’s the poem I posted for him last week: https://joannaoftheforest.wordpress.com/2017/06/15/for-my-father/

What’s the next step on your journey? I’d love to know.

Atlantic Beach steps

If you liked this post, I hope you’ll subscribe to my monthly newsletter via the sidebar to the right. (If you already subscribe, thank you!)  In addition to updates on my book, I include encouraging tips and ideas on life, relationships, and stuff I’ve learned in my 60 something years.


17 Comments

Six Years Ago

It was six years ago today, probably around 8PM, that I got this Facebook message from my high school sweetheart after 39 years of no contact:

Greetings to you! After many years I hope you are well. Take care and be safe!

After that, everything changed.

You can read all about the 39 years, what it took for us to be ready to meet again, and what happened next, in my memoir which will be available this summer!

ebook cover -1536x2048


6 Comments

A Quick Update: JoAnna of the Forest is Back!

 

Lantern hill trail (2)

I’ve been wanting some anonymity on my blog, so I’m returning to my blogging roots as joannaoftheforest. One reason for the change is that I’ve decided to publish my memoir under my maiden name to protect the privacy of several individuals. It might make marketing a little more complicated in other places, but it will give me more peace of mind. For updates on the book, you  can sign up for my monthly newsletter and/or like my Facebook author page via the side bar to the right.

I appreciate the loving support of my blogging family, and as joannaoftheforest, I’ll be able to let you know when my book comes out.


15 Comments

“Wait Is a Four Letter Word.”

When God says, “Wait,” we can control only two things: how we wait and who we become along the way.  __Elizabeth Laing Thompson

When God Says Wait

Enter for a chance to win a free copy by signing up for my monthly newsletter to the right >>>

It’s always something. If it’s not waiting for your soulmate, it’s waiting for your kids to become independent, or waiting to retire, or waiting for your manuscript to be ready for publication.

I’ve just started reading the book, When God Says Wait, by Elizabeth Thompson. It’s easy to read with well-fictionalized biblical stories, personal stories from the author, and simple exercises at the end of each chapter. I sure could’ve used this book 15 years ago when I was wondering if I’d ever fall in love again, if I’d ever find a partner who’d be a good fit. Still, the messages about “navigating life’s detours and delays” clearly relate to my life now.

Finishing the manuscript for Trust the Timing (see my Work in Progress page) has taken a lot longer than I ever imagined, though I’m getting closer every day. Fortunately, waiting to publish and not rushing have allowed me to work through questions about my own history and about how much of other people’s history to include.

This has been a struggle. Early in the writing process, I was encouraged to dig deeper and to show more scenes, which is fine if you’re writing fiction, and okay when it comes to my own baggage, but not so comfortable when it comes to other people’s baggage, or what I call OPB. Even with name changes and changes in identifying characteristics, there has been an uneasiness about exposing some OPB. Earlier drafts have more OPB, and I’ve deleted and softened quite a bit of that. Yet, there are some pieces of OPB that are important to the story. This is one of the big challenges of writing a memoir.

I’ve been praying hard for guidance every time open the manuscript document. It’s helped to ask this  question:

What does God want me to write?

Things often become clear when I ask that question, or some version of it, and then listen to my gut. God often talks to me through my gut. Sometimes God whispers in my ear. But I have to be quiet and open to get the message.

Waiting gives God time to work things out in us and others. Waiting gives us time to become who we are meant to be, to become ready for our heart’s desire. After all, that’s what my book is about. It seems to be my life-long lesson. And I’m learning, slowly but surely.

For a chance to win a free, signed copy of When God Says Wait, sign up for my monthly newsletter before March 21st by clicking the box on the side bar to the right, or just click here: http://eepurl.com/ch52KT

What are you waiting for?  What helps you wait?


27 Comments

Remember Who You Are

socsbadge2016-17

I was going to write about remembering how I used to draw pictures of horses and dogs when I was barely 10 years old. I loved art in high school. I always had some talent for drawing and painting.

But before I actually started writing, I remembered something from the movie The Lion King.

I hadn’t seen that scene in many years, since children lived in this house, and just now when I watched it, I saw parallels with God telling Jesus, he is the one true king. I know Jesus wasn’t always crazy about being the king. He got tired. Don’t know if this parallel was intended or if it’s just one of those archetype things. Not just, because archetypes are a big deal. The archetype of coming home, if that is an archetype, is one I’m doing as I come back to art.

Today, I’m taking my paintings and prints to our church’s Holiday Artisan Fair. I’ve been painting angels mostly. My mom loves this, even though I can’t see her physically cause she has passed on. OMG, like Mufasa! (except she’s a wispy angel with a soft voice) Because I can feel her sometimes. I’m working on a post about that for next week, so stay tuned (or come back around Thursday.)

But anyway, remembering who I am, is coming home to art after a long, long time of not doing much art. And I’m also writing a memoir about finding my soulmate after a long, long time of being confused, or rather working on me to get ready. You can read more about that on my Work in Progress Page, and the art on My Art page.

Here’s my latest painting done on a piece of scrap wood, my favorite canvas.

blue-ocean-angel-2

Angel of the Waves by JoAnne Silvia

Is there something you used to enjoy, maybe a long time ago, that you want to get back to? Or something you’ve always dreamed of doing? What step might you take in that direction?

PS. Mom says she’s not that wispy.

Linda’s prompt for today’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday post was:

“mem”

Go see what it’s all about at Linda Hill’s “Life in Progress”

https://lindaghill.com/2016/11/11/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-nov-1216/

Here are the SoCS rules:

1. Your post must be stream of consciousness writing, meaning no editing, (typos can be fixed) and minimal planning on what you’re going to write.

2. Your post can be as long or as short as you want it to be. One sentence – one thousand words. Fact, fiction, poetry – it doesn’t matter. Just let the words carry you along until you’re ready to stop.

3. There will be a prompt every week. I will post the prompt here on my blog on Friday, along with a reminder for you to join in. The prompt will be one random thing, but it will not be a subject. For instance, I will not say “Write about dogs”; the prompt will be more like, “Make your first sentence a question,” “Begin with the word ‘The’,” or simply a single word to get your started.

4. Ping back! It’s important, so that I and other people can come and read your post! For example, in your post you can write “This post is part of SoCS:” and then copy and paste the URL found in your address bar at the top of this post into yours.  Your link will show up in my comments for everyone to see. The most recent pingbacks will be found at the top. NOTE: Pingbacks only work from WordPress sites. If you’re self-hosted or are participating from another host, such as Blogger, please leave a link to your post in the comments below.

5. Read at least one other person’s blog who has linked back their post. Even better, read everyone’s! If you’re the first person to link back, you can check back later, or go to the previous week, by following my category, “Stream of Consciousness Saturday,” which you’ll find right below the “Like” button on my post.

6. Copy and paste the rules (if you’d like to) in your post. The more people who join in, the more new bloggers you’ll meet and the bigger your community will get!

7. As a suggestion, tag your post “SoCS” and/or “#SoCS” for more exposure and more views.

8. Have fun!


25 Comments

No NaNo for Me, but….

socsbadge2016-17

I’m not doing NaNoWriMo this year. I’ve never done it, yet. But one year, I hope to – when I’m writing a novel. I know you don’t have to write a novel, but it is National Novel Writing Month. I’m sort of doing my own intense memoir-that-reads-like-a-novel fix up this month, which means I’m going through my memoir and looking for places to change some of my telling to showing.

It’s harder with a memoir, because I can’t just make stuff up like I could in a novel. But I’m learning to be more creative in adding scenes and dialog even if I don’t remember the exact words that were said, though sometimes I do.

I have been reading more novels lately. I’m a slow reader, but I recently finished Steele Secrets, a young adult novel about a girl who meets a ghost in a slave cemetery. It’s full of compassion and integrity and a great read for any teenager or young adult.

Right after finishing Steele Secrets, I read Linda’s book, All Good Stories. It was great to follow up an emotionally moving novel about saving a slave cemetery with something lighthearted and funny. Linda’s book is technically a novelette. It was fun and easy, but not too easy. Both books were important to read: Steele Secrets, because we need to honor the enslaved people who suffered and died in America, and All Good Stories, because we need fun and delight in our lives. We need balance.

My memoir does sort of read like a novel, I hope. I have work to do, and I’m sure I can set some goals to intensify my efforts. I imagine there’s more thinking going on in revising and editing than the speed writing of NaNoWriMo. I sort of envy all of you doing that. I bet it’s exhilarating. Hopefully next year, I’ll join you! Dang! I wish I could edit out those sort ofs, sort of. No, really.

Okay. I didn’t mean that NaNoWriMo writers are not thinking. But it’s a different kind of thinking. Maybe the characters are thinking for them, which would be cool. Am I in trouble? I worry too much. Sort of. 🙂 Better to stop now. The stream of consciousness is carrying me away.

Today’s Stream of Consciousness prompt: “novel” was brought to you by Linda G. Hill.

To find out more, visit Linda at:

https://lindaghill.com/2016/11/04/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-nov-516/

Here are the rules:

1. Your post must be stream of consciousness writing, meaning no editing, (typos can be fixed) and minimal planning on what you’re going to write.

2. Your post can be as long or as short as you want it to be. One sentence – one thousand words. Fact, fiction, poetry – it doesn’t matter. Just let the words carry you along until you’re ready to stop.

3. There will be a prompt every week. I will post the prompt here on my blog on Friday, along with a reminder for you to join in. The prompt will be one random thing, but it will not be a subject. For instance, I will not say “Write about dogs”; the prompt will be more like, “Make your first sentence a question,” “Begin with the word ‘The’,” or simply a single word to get your started.

4. Ping back! It’s important, so that I and other people can come and read your post! For example, in your post you can write “This post is part of SoCS:” and then copy and paste the URL found in your address bar at the top of this post into yours.  Your link will show up in my comments for everyone to see. The most recent pingbacks will be found at the top. NOTE: Pingbacks only work from WordPress sites. If you’re self-hosted or are participating from another host, such as Blogger, please leave a link to your post in the comments below.

5. Read at least one other person’s blog who has linked back their post. Even better, read everyone’s! If you’re the first person to link back, you can check back later, or go to the previous week, by following my category, “Stream of Consciousness Saturday,” which you’ll find right below the “Like” button on my post.

6. Copy and paste the rules (if you’d like to) in your post. The more people who join in, the more new bloggers you’ll meet and the bigger your community will get!

7. As a suggestion, tag your post “SoCS” and/or “#SoCS” for more exposure and more views.

8. Have fun!


8 Comments

Insights from the Writer’s Conference: A Self-Published Memoir Can be a Winner

one view from room (2)

The view from my room at the conference

Greetings from the final day of the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writer’s Conference. We’ve been blessed with perfect weather since Sunday, and it looks like that blessing will continue this morning. I’ve been thankful for the opportunity to strengthen my leg muscles as I climb the steps to different buildings and for the evening serenades from a soothing diversity of frog voices. I’m thankful for the support of new friends and for the enrichment of friendships that encouraged me to come here.

I’ve learned a lot this week. A 15 minute critique packed with suggestions revealed that I still have plenty of “show don’t tell” details to add to my memoir. The fact that publishing companies are not fond of memoirs, unless you’re famous, was confirmed by brief meetings with faculty. More than one conversation reminded me that traditional publishers  want writers who already have huge platforms and marketing plans.

Hope came during last night’s banquet where awards were presented to authors in a variety of categories. It’s always fun to see the smiles of people recognized for good work. Most of the awards went to authors with traditional publishers, but I was pleasantly surprised to hear Create Space named as the publisher for a few of the winners, indicating that some of them were self-published. Caged Sparrow, a self-published memoir, won the Director’s Choice award for non-fiction. It’s the story of Joseph Tuttolomando, an undercover narcotics chief facing a 7 year prison sentence, as told to Rosemarie Fitzsimmons. After the ceremony, I was lucky, blessed, and destined to speak with  Rosemarie who shared about self-publishing as a reasonable route for memoirs. I won’t be surprised if self-publishing becomes more accepted over time.

There are many “take away” points I carry home this week. One that stands out  from Wednesday morning’s opening prayer is this:

No man or woman can derail us from our calling. We need to look to God for our confirmation.

I’m looking forward to reading the award winning memoir, Caged Sparrow and getting back to work on Perfect Timing, the memoir God is calling me to complete.

garden creek close up