Great Writers Series: Steal

~~ Isaiah 40:29 (NIV84) ~~  He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.

by Carley Cooper

It’s day six of the 15 Habits of Great Writers challenge.  Just to recap for those new to this series, so far the habits we’ve talked about are: Declare, Believe, Initiate, Practice, and Prepare.

If you’ve been following along in this challenge series with me, you’ll know that I’ve had a few social events in my life lately, that has been causing me anxiety.  However, they are also things that have helped bring some new light on these new habits that I need to achieve.  The golf tournament fundraiser event that I volunteered for was the one great event that I left feeling happy about; not that anything is ever 100% great for me.  I’m not sure I’d know that if I saw it, but that’s another blog.  The next social event didn’t flow so well.  I didn’t sleep the night before, and during the event it took all my energies to keep myself together and looking normal.  After I got home, the Bipolar meter dropped below zero and it took a while to recover.  Then, another one came up, sorta last minute.  It was something that I knew about but had opted out of for several reasons, none of which had to do with my anxiety about socializing.  Except, then I got backed into a corner and couldn’t get out of it.  I went and got through it OK, but then I came home and again dropped into a big downward-mood episode very quickly.  I spent the afternoon crying and feeling like I was rejected by the whole planet.  This and some other stress is causing a lot of noise in my head. 

Well, the one thing I’ve learned about God is that if you’re not listening to Him, He will find another way to get the message through to you.  God wants me to learn to socialize and be cool with it.  I’m not exactly going along with this plan tantrum free, just in case that point may have slipped by  you.  I know I should; and I want to, but my body and brain doesn’t seem to be going along with it as much as my heart would like to. 

So, tonight, after spending the afternoon crying, there was yet another social event.  I didn’t even want to acknowledge that I was alive, let alone go to another event.  However, this one was very important.  It was another function to support the Women and Children’s Centre of Barrie; a cause that is very close to my heart indeed.  As I sit here writing this, I just got home from their Annual General Meeting.  This year, though, this meeting was more than the standard business dinner.  This one was a celebration event for the 30th Anniversary of the shelter in the city of Barrie.  There were some incredible presentations about how the shelter has grown and overcame some great struggles through the decades.  There were also stories shared by past employees and those who have lived it and have been helped.  These women and their babies came from violent existences, into a world where they had nothing to call their own, and nowhere else to go.  Their stories of survival reminded me of my own; except many of them were way worse than mine.  However, it was their strength from within, and passion for survival that inspired me and filled my heart with emotion and my eyes with tears. 

This brings me to the next habit of great writers.  Jeff Goins tells us that the sixth practice of the top writers is to  ‘Steal’.  No... that’s not permission to plagiarize!  As creative creatures we still need to do just that; Create.  We have to put our own thoughts and ideas into something tangible.  Make something that didn’t exist before, whether that be a book, song, photography, or painting your freezer to look like an old trunk (ah, yea, the freezer thing is a story for another time.)  We are told all the time, as new writers, that If you’re just starting, it doesn’t have to be that one great idea that’s going to solve all the world’s problems.  It doesn’t necessarily even have to be good.  It just needs to be yours.  But, who are we kidding?!  The best of the best don’t have unique ideas flowing from their brains all the time.  We need inspiration from somewhere.  Where do we get that?  From other people, of course! 

I’ve had ideas come from anything and everything.  A quote by someone else could be a springboard to a short story.  A TV show featuring a designer creating a CD cabinet, was the jumping off point for me to design a huge pantry cabinet that looked like an old stone building.  My love of old chests; and a need to rid myself of a huge, boring, white box in my kitchen was the  catalyst to my freezer ending up looking like an old trunk.  My need to show a friend how much I cared for him inspired me to write a poem for him

Tonight, a change in my mood from darkness to light; came from the inspiring, positive outlook of beautiful people who have survived the odds.  I really didn’t have the inner strength I needed earlier to bring myself up out of the pit.  The enemy used my anxiety to put negative thoughts and fears  into my mind and heart.  I have to say that I wish I had  the strength to fight it and overcome it on my own.  But, this time, I did not.  Though I realize that I also have survived the odds, I don’t mind admitting that I am stealing their strength tonight, to be able to rise above and hear God’s voice again.

~~ Dear God ~~  Thank You for never giving up on me, even when I can’t hear You; or my strength isn’t sufficient to push the enemy back down.  Thank You for the people that You have brought into my life to help inspire me when I need it.  Please help me do the same for someone else.  In Jesus name, AMEN.

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