From the Crazy Mixed Up Files of Two Kimberly Dawns

Twinsies

When I saw the invitation from my writing twin Kim Rempel (we are BOTH Kimberly Dawn’s!) I couldn’t resist the temptation to analyze my own writing process.  In the last year and a half, I have taken on a “part-time” job as an Executive Director of a Love INC affiliate in Tinley Park, Illinois and I am adjusting my life, and my writing, to it’s demands. This translates into hardly ever writing anything not work related. Recently, I decided that I missed blogging too much to let it go, but I was certainly surprised at how difficult it was to squeeze a few meaningful words onto the screen.

Bringing me to the subject at hand, how did I once blog 4-5 days a week with seemingly no effort at all?

Writing Process Step #1 – Write every day. No. Matter. What.

The truth is that  I have let this go.  I was so out of the habit of expressing myself in the written word that I am still priming the pump and only a rusty trickle drips from the spigot.

Writing process Step #2 – Read and comment on the kind of stuff you’d like to write.

For me this includes my daily devotions.  As I read scripture I keep a notebook next to me and journal my thoughts.  This gives me a plethora of ideas to work from.  I also love to read Ann Voskamp, Emily Wierenga and Shelly Miller.  When I read regularly, I write better.

Writing process Step #3 – Keep a log of experiences you’d like to share.

There is only one you, so writing about what you experience will be unique and inspiring to others! I keep a notebook especially for phrases that come to me or subject matters that are begging to be introduced to my world.

Writing process Step #4 – Believe that your voice and perspective matters.

This is closely connected with step #3, but I can not stress enough how unique your perspective is.  Sharing your take on life helps the world around you understand and accept new ideas and respect those with differing opinions.  It has been said that each person influences over 200 lives!  Writing can be your opportunity to influence others in a positive way.

Writing process Step #5 – Become immersed in your subject.

Whether I am writing my novel or a blog inspired by a scripture passage, the more time I give myself to meditate on it, the more revelation I find to add value to my own life.  Fresh revelation always leads to the passion necessary to communicate in a way that inspires others.

Writing process Step #6 – Be vulnerable.

Writing about things and people you care about can be very revealing, and may leave you feeling a little naked.  However, when readers can tell that you are truly bearing your heart, they  become endeared to you, and want to hear what you have to say.

Writing process Step #7 – Just do it!

Stop the excusiology.  If you have time to watch hours of Duck Dynasty and NCIS, you have time to write.  You can’t afford not to!  The world needs to hear your voice.

What I’m Working On

  • Blogging at Journey To Epiphany
  • Writing articles at Family Fire
  • Submitting a children’s picture book for publication
  • Writing an historical fiction novel
  • Writing and being chief editor of quarterly newsletter at work
  • Gathering notes for an upcoming devotional

How My Work Differs From Others

Finding a voice all of my own is really only finding a collection of voices who have spoken to me.  My collection includes, Madeleine L’Engle, Jan Karon, Richard Foster, and Ann Voskamp. Each of them have caused me to relook at myself and the world around me, beyond the surface and into the deep.

Why I Write Non-Fiction

I write non-fiction because it is quickest way to communicate ideas that influence.  However, I love writing poetry and fiction as well, in fact, I would say they come much easier to me.

 

Now for the real fun…

 

Next week my very best blogging friend Adela Crandell Durkee over at the Black Tortoise will be writing about her own experiences with the writing process.  You won’t want to miss this!

Tremble In Fear and Do It Anyway

I once knew a man who belonged to a chat room called, “Young Millionaires”. He wasn’t even close to being a millionaire, but he was convinced that everyone else in the room was a millionaire and so he pretended to be one too. I quickly pointed out to him that they could just as easily be making up their financial picture as he was, but he wouldn’t hear of it. He believed them to be completely sincere despite his insincerity.

Last week, at the Write To Publish Conference, I had my first experience at a cyber-friendship made real life or (RL). I was really quite nervous about it.

“What if she doesn’t like the real me?” I wondered. “What if I’ve accidentally created a virtual me that doesn’t reflect the real me, like the guy in the young millionaire chat room?”

But the moment I saw her all fears were chased away. It was like I had known her my whole life…and I should have known all would be well, because Adela Crandell Durkee is a pretty amazing woman! She writes with wisdom and wit. She tells side-splittingly funny stories. She smiles under pressure, and everyone is stronger for her being in their presence.

She was the very first blogger to offer her friendship, writing to me an e-mail that stated, “Let’s be Best Blogging Girlfriends!” And that’s just what we are.

It occurs to me that our relationship with God can be much like a virtual friendship. We don’t see Him face to face, although we could get nervous about when we will someday.

When I do see Him in RL, will I stand before Him realizing how much of the time I was trying to be someone I am not? Will my insincerity drive me away from His presence?

I only know that I am told that I can stand in His presence boldly and that my faith pleases Him. It takes faith to stand in His presence. He sees right through our pretending. But when I do? He welcomes me the way my friend welcomed me, with open arms and loving acceptance, pleased by my reliance on His grace…the outpouring of grace which I gladly receive to tremble and go anyway.

On In Around button

…sharing a playdate with Laura:


Deadly Weeds – Guest Post by Adela Crandell Durkee

Adela is the first blogger to reach out and befriend me.  She has called me her Best Blogging Friend ever since.  She has such a way of making each of her readers feel like  family.  Her wonderful blog Once A Little Girl has the most beautiful memoir posts that I’ve read anywhere.  Not only does she write about her memories, but she always manages to drive home a point.  Please visit her beautiful blog, I promise you won’t be sorry…

I love flowers and flower gardens. I dream of the Chicago Tribune featuring my gardens in their annual Flower Garden of the Year editions. I’m a realistic daydreamer. I put aside thoughts of winning the grand prize, or even second place. I am content with dreaming of one or two resplendent pictures among the beautiful gardens pictured each year. My secret teen-dream was to be Homecoming Queen, Snow Queen, 4-H Queen, or something kinda of queen with a tiara or a silk sash, and maybe a scepter. Perhaps I transplant my teenage dreams to my gardening dreams; a place where I can create beauty.

Yesterday, my first grandchild, Bradaigh, helped me cultivate my creeping cedar, a beautiful evergreen that acts as a ground cover. It fills a teardrop shaped landscape island around two beautiful bur oaks, which my husband rescued from an over-zealous builder planning to backfill the whole area. Cultivating those low-lying cedars is a delight: no bugs; cedar is a natural insect repellant, soft needles that are no longer than a thumbnail. Their clean evergreen scent fills my nostrils. The only problem is that no matter how diligent I am, blades of grass poke up from the cedar sprigs, perseverant against my will. I follow each blade of grass down to its base and pull it out. It’s a time consuming, tedious job, but it’s the only way to make sure I get the grass out by the roots, and the only way to make sure I leave the cedar undisturbed.

“I can see why Jesus told that story about the weeds growing up among the wheat,” I say to my grandson. He grunts. He’s on the way to thirteen, so that’s his main way of communicating this year. Once in a while he’s up for a whole conversation. I take his grunt as encouragement.

“See how these blades of grass just grab hold and keep on coming back? Kind of reminds me of the devil; just looking for a place to grow under the surface. Nobody noticing. Then ka-boom! He rears to the surface, just like he belongs there.”

Bradaigh sighs and shakes his head. I see a shadow of a smile, so I continued shining a light on my thoughts.

“Sometimes, I get a piece of the cedar by mistake. Sometimes, I start thinking the grass is the young cedar and maybe I’m making a mistake.” We continued on in silence. That’s one of the things I appreciate about Bradaigh; he’s content with silence.

“Doesn’t that look good?” I say. “The cedar almost seems…”

“Happy.” Bradaigh says. “I knew you were going to say that, because you and I…” and he stops.

“You and I, what?”

“Oh, never mind.”

“You and I think alike?” I say to him and I can feel my face lighten, and I swear I can almost feel my eyes dilate.

“Yeah.” Bradaigh looks down and away, but I see the smile slide up one side of his face.

“Yeah.” I say back, and I give his shoulder a miniature punch which we both know substitutes for the hug I will give him full on, later when we’re not in the front yard.

All day, every day, I battle grass. I hate grass. Except for the few patches of ornamental grasses: zebra grass and some sort of deep green grass with bright blue flowers, which I love, but forget the name. Everywhere, I’m pulling grass. Today I wonder why so many people spend a fortune on ways to assure a weed-free, vibrant green, ever-growing lawn of horrid grass. I think the story of my struggle with the cedar and the grass could go along side the one that’s already in the Bible.

Grass is like my persistent struggle against pride. For one thing, I’m fooling myself that I can outwit grass. It will always be there, waiting to peak out from between the branches, just like it belongs there. Sometimes, I can be fooled into thinking it’s a character trait, something I was blessed with, a healthy self-esteem, and confidence, something worth cultivating. Grass invades the most delicate and the most hardy of my flowers. It gets in everywhere, just as pride can invade everything that blooms in me, choking out or covering up what is beautiful. Maybe that’s the way it is for people who are plagued by other deadly sins like greed, avarice, sloth, gluttony. We all need to eat, protect ourselves, rest and eat. Perhaps the deadly sins are deemed so because they can take over our lives. Just like my garden, we are in danger of slipping from multi-colored flowers filling the world with perfume and beauty to nothing but a one-dimensional bed of grass. We need an ever-vigilant gardener, who helps us recognize our sins, which can seem so harmless, as if they are a natural part of us, just waiting to take over. Perhaps that’s why some are considered deadly sins. Still, through grace and forgiveness, I am unburdened. I experience life free of self-interest. I am like my weed-free cedar, I feel energized. Fresh. Clear of clutter. And I am happy.

Linking with dear Ann today