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2020 – Finding Our Way Through Challenges

July 2020. I don’t know about you, but to me it feels like this year is just sliding right past us. For many of us, our normal routines halted in March. March melted into April, blew into May, sprung into June, and now we’ve rushed right into summer heat. I cannot say we’ve rushed into summer activities. For many of us, activities came to a grinding halt in March and are only now starting to crawl back to some attempts at normalcy, although we’re such a long way off from “normal” we may not return to that state for months to come.

Some have been able to work from home, and have found that can be much harder than we realized. Physically, mentally and emotionally, adapting to a work from home environment has been a roller coaster of ups and downs which most of us have learned to master.

Some have been furloughed, and have faced the many challenges of navigating the unemployment system. Others have had their jobs terminated. In both cases, the associated fears and uncertainty of their financial well being and ability to return to work or find a new place of employment have eroded bank accounts and a sense of security or confidence.

Most of us have had to cancel travel and vacation plans. In a year of immense disappointments and let downs, some of the hardest hit have been performing musicians and actors who have had their entire livelihoods placed on hold. Trips I had looked forward to have been replaced with accomplishing tasks around my house and phone calls with friends I cannot meet with this year.

You would think, with all that time at home I would have made great progress in my writing projects. I cannot say that’s the case, although I have not been completely stagnant. The coronavirus pandemic has slowed artistic creativity, not just for me but for many of the artists I’ve spoken with as well. The worries and stresses the pandemic has filled so many of our minds with has stifled much of artistic creative energy, and progress has been slow.

That being said, I can report I’ve written approximately 20 poems over the last few months, some random scenes for a future project, and the opening 5 chapters of book 3 of.my Macready’s.Bridge series. My hope is to have book 3 fully drafted by the end of this year, with a release date sometime in 2021.

As the pandemic has started to ease a little across our country, many of you are returning to some form of the lifestyle you’ve enjoyed in the past. Please do so carefully; the virus risks are not fully dissipated.

And for any of you who have dreams you long to pursue, in the creativity realm or otherwise, go for them! Our lives fly by so fast, we never know what’s just around the next bend in the road. Dreams take courage and dedication, but they are always worth pursuing!

Wandering The Word Path

Wandering The Word Path

So, in blog world I’ve discovered I need to change my blog post name .. someone else already has One Writer’s Journey!  Henceforth, we will be Wandering The Word Path.

It’s a lovely path, really. So many treasures wait to be discovered and captured through the magic of words. A hard path at times, it is best traveled in the company of fellow word crafters. In that I am truly blessed, surrounded as I am by a wonderful group of writers and poets. I am thankful for the presence of each of them in my life.

Having now settled on a blog name, I can proceed with today’s topic:  “Don’t Quench The Muse”.

Most of you know a muse is an inspirational force that drives creativity. We don’t always know where it comes from or what ignites it; but we certainly know when the muse is active within us. Whether your form of creativity is writing, painting, music, or some other form of creative expression, when the muse strikes you find yourself suddenly on fire with ideas and creative activity. 

Some of us have also experienced what happens when we say no to a muse, even if only temporarily. Our lives are crazy. We jot ideas down and promise the muse we will get back to them as soon as possible. Weeks or months go by, though, before we can act on our promise. By then our inspiration has grown cold, our muse has gone into hibernation, 

This year I had intended to write book three of the Macready’s Bridge book series I have published. If you’ve read my previous blog or some of my Facebook posts, you know that I am working on a different book this year, that a particular muse has gifted me with a different project and has driven and guided my writing more powerfully than anything I’ve experienced before. 

By the end of February, I had finished the first draft of this new novel. I thought I would set it aside in March and work on book 3 of the series. March was, after all, the month of celebrating St. Patrick and all things Irish, and the Macready’s Bridge stories are set in Ireland. I set the new book aside and tried to focus on my Irish characters.

I couldn’t do it! A week in, I found myself unable to focus on my Irish boys, and very unhappy and frustrated that I wasn’t making progress on the newer writing project.

I knew how active my muse had been in feeding me the first draft of the new book. I was afraid if I didn’t keep following the muse’s lead, he would abandon me and the inspiration and energy driving the book would be lost. My muse would vanish, the inspiration would dry up, and I would be unable to finish this project. I knew I needed to let my Irish boys rest a while longer and stay with the project that is stirring my heart and soul so deeply. I have to see this one through to completion before I can set my hands to anything else.

Creative people can always invent projects, write words, set paint to canvas or paper, and come up with something new. However, a visit from a muse is a special gift. If/when a muse comes your way, do your best to listen and act on what gifts he or she bestows upon you.

As always, keep on following your dreams!

Sinéad

One Writer’s Journey

I admit I am not good at frequent blogging! My intentions are there, but the demands of life and/or writing frequently interfere. This time, though, I intend to be more faithful.

I am starting in on the third draft of my current writing project. I thought you all might like to see what my process is like and enjoy updates on the progress of this book.

If you follow my Sinead Tyrone Author page on Facebook, you already have a little background information on what I’m working on at present. For those who aren’t yet familiar, I am currently writing a novel about a group of musicians in the metal music field who lose a band member and have to find their way forward. The book is about loss, but more importantly about the very strong bond of brotherhood among these musicians, about their intense passion for their craft, and about the power of music in general to move us all.

In addition to writing fiction, I am also a poet. This current project started out with a series of poems. In this book my intention is to include the poems at the back of the novel. The poems make more sense when connected to the story, and the novel is enhanced by the poems.

This project, more than any of my other books, is most definitely propelled by a higher power. The muse inspiring this material is driving me more intensely than I’ve ever been driven before. In fact, since starting the project at the end of December, and having gone through two drafts and forty poems so far, my muse has never once rested or departed. Any writer dreams of having so faithful a muse. I am grateful that the inspiration and drive have never left, and show no signs of waning.

Now the third draft starts.

If you read my “View From My Backyard” page here, you will have a general sense of what my writing process is like. In this book, draft two has set the story line. In draft three my challenge is to go deeper, add more power and detail, and give the readers the most intense experience I can. My heart is so involved in this story I want it to be the very best thing I’ve ever done.

So, journey along with me as the drafting process moves forward! And feel free, at any time, to post comments. I enjoy hearing from you all!

Sinéad

Collecting Beach Glass

For quite a long while I have loved sea glass. Sea shells are nice, but something about the semi-translucent soft colors of glass washed up by the sea fascinated me. I longed to live near the ocean where I could collect these beautiful pieces to my heart’s content. A friend once told me she collected beach glass along the shores of Lake Erie, not too far from where I lived. I was never able to go with her, though, on her occasional trips home, and didn’t know the spot where she went. So I quietly dreamed of someday finding beach glass, and meantime admired and purchased jewelry and pieces from beach glass artists in the area.

Recently, though, another friend showed me where to search for beach glass nearby. Our first foray out yielded several nice pieces.

When you find something you really love doing, it fills a part of you that nothing else quite fills. It’s exhilarating, it’s rewarding. Fulfilling any of the passions you were given when you were created gives you a feeling of completeness. It is never without risk, and you have to step out of your secure zone at times, but it’s always worth doing.

Tonight I decided I would go to the beach spot again, before it got dark. The weekend would be a little breezier, and waves might make glass searching a little harder. I wasn’t dressed for it; but I used rubber bands to hold the legs of my slacks up, and had old shoes in the car, so I took the chance. I had my cell phone with me, I knew how to stay safe, so I ventured out on my own.

My first time out, I wondered if any beach glass collectors would resent that I was encroaching on their territory. Then I realized, the lake, like the sea, always has treasures to reveal. Almost immediately upon setting foot on the shore tonight I found my first piece of aqua blue glass. I gathered a large number of clear glass pieces, a couple of greens, a few more tinted pieces, and a few brown. The lake showed me her treasures, and I collected them gladly, reaping as many rewards as she cared to reveal.

Clear beach glass is common, greens, browns and blues are frequent colors. Then I found it, a lone red piece of beach glass! The odds of finding that color are one in three thousand, one in thirty-five hundred. Seasoned beach glass hunters consider themselves very lucky to find that color. Here I was, a novice, holding a rare red gem in my hands! I have crossed the line from gatherer to serious collector.

We all have passions in life. It takes courage to pursue our passions. Each time I step out for photography, or now beach glass hunting, I take a chance. Each time I pursue a new writing project, I take risks. The rewards are always worth the risks. Take chances! Pursue your passions! The feeling inside when you reach a goal, when you discover your bravery leads to greater fulfillment and joy, is indescribable!

For a look at today’s treasure trove, check out my photo page!

Why We Write

Writing is a hard business. It’s solitary and lonely, as we need a fair bit of silence in order to focus our minds on the words we string together. It can be frustrating, even maddening, as those words at times play hiding games on us. It is a demanding taskmaster, forcing us away at times from the people around us who define, support, and otherwise color our lives. It is a full time job for so many of us already have full time occupations to keep a roof and walls around us and food on our tables.

Why do we put ourselves through such torture, not once, but on a regular basis?

We write because our hearts and minds demand it. We have stories we need to tell, whether in the form of fiction, poetry or prose, or nonfiction, memoirs or journalistic exposes, pieces that illuminate or inspire, not necessarily in a faith way, although it takes a great deal of faith of sorts to keep us on the path we have chosen. Something in life has impacted us and we are compelled to share what we feel.

Every time I participate in an author event I go in with a thought in mind no as to how many books I want to sell. Sometimes I reach my sales goal; sometimes I don’t. Along the way, though, I also always realize another goal: I make excellent contact with readers and with other writers.

Every author I come across is worthwhile and unique, and a pleasure to get to know. This year at the Dublin Ohio Irish Festival I came across three new writers in particular who have completely blown me away. Colin Broderick, Greg McVicker, and John Sexton each brought with them their memoirs of growing up in various parts of Northern Ireland during the 1960s through 1980s, when The Troubles in that region were particularly volatile. They tell stories that are sometimes very painful, always very real and powerful, but told at times with such wit and humor that you will find yourself crying and laughing at the same time.

Their stories are hard. They are vital though, needing to be told, and relayed by three very courageous people with deep hearts and incredible talents. As I read their words I came away with my third gift from this particular outing, that of catching the vision of where my own writing needs to head next, not in the way of telling my life’s story, but in reaching for a higher level with my writing. I believe in my writing as is but, like anything in life, I always strive to improve. Colin, John and Greg have each given me a new standard to reach for in my own writing. The way they frame their words and phrases, the heart and spirit they capture, is of the highest quality. I am both humbled and inspired in reading their books.

Look their books up: That’s That and Orangutan by Colin Broderick, The Big Yank by J.P. Sexton, and Belfast Child by Greg McVicker. And keep an eye on my own novels and poetry books to see where the writing journey leads me next!