Category Archives: words

How to BE a Writer

Being creative is a gift we all have. Finding out what that means is part of the journey. Writer, artist, chef, painter, designer, teacher, engineer… there is a bit of creativity in everything we do. Even doctors have to be creative sometimes, in order to get to positive outcomes.

Typically, though, we think of “being creative” in association with artists. Artists run the gamut from visual arts to music to writing, with a whole lot in between. Recently, I was speaking with a client who loves to write, but was getting hung up on her writing. It’s not her day job, but it’s part of her work, and she had a specific story to tell that simply wasn’t going anywhere.

Sigh… I can relate.

It was then that it occurred to me that she wasn’t hung up on the writing, she was hung up on “being a writer.” Because when we claim something that feels big, we also have a tendency to put it on a pedestal. Subsequently, it is no longer a passion-fueled hobby or daily endeavor, but something that is now just-out-of-reach. It’s something to either a) strive for, or b) uphold. Yikes! Where’s the fun and creativity in that?

Alas, our creativity then has a tendency to go by the wayside, because we’re striving to be a label instead of simple being creative.

In my own experience, the best words I’ve ever written came when I wasn’t trying to write. They were simply there, and I captured them, much like catching fireflies on a summer evening. However, when I’ve forced myself to sit down and “be a writer” – boy is that sometimes a struggle. More often than not, it results in my stepping away and abandoning whatever it is that I started.

You see, I’ve learned that being creative – being an artist – is more about being yourself, than anything else. Just being.

Being present.
Being open.
Being honest.
Being raw.
Being real.
Being free.
Being true.
Being.

What I’ve learned is that when I try to be something, I’m actually limiting myself.

So, as I said to my client the other day:

When you’re trying to be a “writer,” you limit your writing. Storytelling is not about being something; storytelling is about being.

It’s All About You (even when it isn’t)

If you think something you read online is about you, it probably is – even if it isn’t.

Let me explain.

Over the weekend, I posted some words about truth and wisdom. Then this morning, I shared how incongruent it is to preach light (or truth) and spread anything fear-based. And then I got some push back. A few people were courageous enough (I truly respect their courage for actually asking) to reach out and ask me if what I had written was about them.

The short answer was “no.”

But the long answer is… “probably.”

Because if you read something online that someone else wrote, and you get a twinge in your gut or mind that it might be about you, even if it’s not… then it probably is – because you are feeling something. You are feeling the message in the words, and it’s prompting you to call your own actions into question. So, even if it wasn’t written with you in mind – if you’re feeling it, then yes, it’s about you. 

More importantly, it’s within you, and has nothing to do with the other person (like me, or anyone else writing and sharing stuff). They’re simply the mirror or message that you need in that moment. For both the positive empowering stuff, and the twinge-y kind of stuff that gives us pause and makes us angry, resentful, or curious to ask the question.

The bottom line is simple: We’re all on a journey of our own making, and yet, we’re also walking this path together. It’s a duality of truth that feels contradictory, and is anything but. So, if someone shares something that prompts something in you, it’s an opportunity… a gift. It’s a chance for you to modify your path slightly, as we journey together. Cool, huh?

Three Days (a writer’s journey)

In three days, I wrote close to 38,000 words.

In three days, I navigated the white water of words pouring forth at a pace that was near manic.

In three days, I became exhausted (and it didn’t help that I wasn’t sleeping well for reasons unrelated).

In three days, my writer’s boat capsized, and I felt I was drowning in the jumbled web of words that spilled out over 72 hours.

It took three days for me to release the pressure of the book that had built up inside me over months. The dam had burst, and after three days, the water shifted from a torrent to a lull.

I found myself looking around, unsure of what to do and where to begin anew. I considered tossing it all aside, walking away, shutting down. I questioned my worth, and the worth of my work and words. And then I reached out to a friend.

In three days, I manically wrote (for better and worse), and then I stopped. In three minutes my friend helped to refocus the most important element of any writing, of my writing: truth.

It took three days for me to run, fall, scrape my knee, and stand up again. And it took a friend to help treat the wound, so that I could walk forward.

I now have three days left of my writing escape at my friends’ house, and in three days I will write from a place of calm, of confidence, and of focused truth.

The word count doesn’t matter. It’s a false trophy in the writing world. What matters is the words themselves… and the energy behind them.

Every writing is a journey of discovery, even when you’re writing about something you know intimately. Because every piece of writing is a creation. It’s the process of giving birth to something that will have a life of its own. A long life, if you’re lucky.

I went through three days of labor, only to find that the true birthing will be in nurturing this new work into creation, slowly, calmly, and peacefully… for however many days to come

It’s never boring, being a writer. At least there’s that. 🙂

My NEW Book of Poetry is HERE!

Infinite In My Heart coverAs a writer, I am always transforming thoughts into words, whether it’s the inspirational wisdom I share regularly in InspireBytes™ or the self-help guidance and teachings that I put into full-length books. (What now..? will be out in November… stay tuned!)

While you may be familiar with my prose (it’s been almost a decade with InspireBytes, so I hope so!), I recently compiled an assortment of poetry that I have written over the years into my first book of poems, lovingly titled: Infinite In My Heart: Poems of Love, Loss, and Hope.

From the back cover:

Who among us hasn’t experienced Love? or Loss? or the great Hope that accompanies every new and wondrous relationship? 

In ‘Infinite In My Heart: Poems of Love, Loss, and Hope’ – her first book of poetry – Martina E. Faulkner has created an emotional journey of reflection. Over the course of several years, she poured her thoughts into poems that stir the soul at the most basic level. Martina’s words share what it means to be human: to love, to lose, and most of all, to return to hope… again and again.

I’m excited to share this work with you. It’s due to be released on May 6th, but you can pre-order the Kindle version now by clicking here, or simply wait until May 6th to order the paperback.

As always, thank you for your continued support and interest in my work – I appreciate it immensely. Enjoy!!

 

 

It doesn’t get easier…

I’ve been writing about my experience with an aging/ailing parent lately. I think I’ve hit a point at which I can no longer contain all of the emotions, thoughts, and words within me reasonably. So, I’m writing. Partially to help myself and create some room (because room allows for healing), and partially because I know I am not alone in this experience… and maybe my words can help someone else who feels alone, as I have.

A few days ago, my first article on all this was published on The Manifest Station (you can read it here), and it prompted an outpouring of love and support from friends and strangers alike. (Though, we’re all friends, aren’t we? If we’re reaching out and connecting?) I thought the one article was enough. It wasn’t.

Two days after it came out, I was back to see my father, and it felt just as raw and as difficult as it always does, though it’s a spectrum, of course. This time it was particularly raw. Perhaps because I “broke the seal” or perhaps because he was in a particularly melancholy mood himself… it doesn’t matter. It was the day that it was. And that’s how it is and how it will continue. So, I wrote again. I share it now here:

=========================

8 April 2018

Note to self: It doesn’t get easier.

I’m just leaving after visiting my dad at his care home. It was our shortest visit yet, as he was more tired than usual. He fell asleep at the table just after finishing his lunch. He just was ‘done’ today, and managed a “this sucks” in his broken words, from his broken body. And I agreed. And all I could think was to say “I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.” Because I am. I’m sorry for him, for myself, for us, and for anyone who has to live a half-life trapped in a chair, in their body, in their brain… aware of their confinement. It just sucks.

And it doesn’t get easier. Or better.

So, I offer love – no longer hope – in the form of his favorite sandwich and a cookie. Followed by a hug and holding his hand. For just a little while longer.

And then I leave, and for a few days try to forget. Until I go back and remember, all over again, just how much this sucks and that it doesn’t get easier.

It Doesn't Get Easier image

My Favorite Phrases for Daily Life

I like a good turn of phrase, and I keep my favorites front and center on a sticky note on my computer. Years ago, when I visited Graceland, I saw that Elvis did the same with his favorite phrase (TCB – Taking Care of Business).

Two of my favorite reminder-phrases have been on my sticky note for months, but last night I heard a third and immediately added it to the list – and I LOVE it! My sticky note is now like a perfect trifecta of phrases.

“Keep buggering on.” (courtesy of #Grantchester) Because, at the end of the day, you simply have to keep buggering on, and if you do, things are sure to change, eventually. Thankfully.

The other two comprise a #Buddhist philosophy and a quote by #llcoolj – both of which are gentle reminders of the mystery of life. What could be more perfect?!? 🙏🏻👍🏻

And when in doubt, now we can just keep buggering on… 💃🏼

Words. Words – words – words…

Why are the words we use so important?

Do you remember being a child and knowing that there were were words you were forbidden to use? Mostly, as a child they were swear words, but there were also a few other words in my childhood that were classified as ‘unacceptable.’

As I grew older, my awareness of language and the acceptability of certain words grew with me. Certainly, as the advent of “political correctness” gained ground even more words were added to the list of unacceptable language… though, admittedly, cussing was more tolerated when I became an adult. In fact, I’d suggest it was almost expected, like a right of passage. But I digress.

The question remains: Why are words so important?

Beyond the obvious, such as not using offensive terminology, I have come to understand through study and experience that words are of utmost importance, because they carry energy. Words, just like everything else in life, have energy.

You’ve probably heard that “intention” and “tone” are what matter behind people’s words, and that’s true. But the words themselves also matter. Because words are the tools that build our life. They are the vehicles of our experience, our reality. In other words:

Your thoughts become your reality on the backs of your words.

Words matter. They are the building blocks of every type of manifesting and creative force in the Universe. Thoughts are integral to the process as they are often the catalyst for change, but it’s words that bring it to life.

 

When the mighty fall… do their words fall with them?

What happens when our “inspirers” fall? Do their words fall with them?

I was thinking about this recently when I was trying to remember a quote that had inspired me. It was Albert Einstein’s definition of insanity.

“The definition of insanity is doing something over and over again and expecting a different result.”

I wrongly attributed it to Bill Cosby, because he had once said something that felt similar, yet different. (Interestingly, Einstein may not have said it either, as this brief article explains.) The Cosby quote was:

“I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody.”

See? Similar, but different. Well, in my mind anyway. I love both of those quotes. I also love Kevin Spacey’s quote about what it means to help others when you’ve had success.

“If you’re lucky enough to do well, it’s your responsibility to send the elevator back down.”

And this is where I got stuck as I meandered down the rabbit hole of inspirational words. Both Kevin Spacey and Bill Cosby have fallen from grace. I wouldn’t label either one as a mentor or leader, or even an inspirer, anymore. And yet…

And yet, at some point in time, they were. They were inspired by simple truths and in so being, they shared that inspiration in their words to inspire others. Does their fall mean their words fall with them? Are their words less inspiring, because of their actions? 

I’m not sure I know the answer to this – or rather, I’m not sure there is only one answer to this. I think many people will think and feel differently about it – and that’s 100% correct. Why? Because inspiration is highly individualized. While there is a lot of overlap, there is also a lot of individuation. For example, someone shared something with me recently that they found to be “life-changing” and they couldn’t understand why I didn’t. I didn’t because it wasn’t meant for me. It was meant for them to hear in that particular moment in that particular way on their journey. Inspiration.

My friend, Tom, once shared the best words of wisdom with me, because they were exactly what I needed at that time. He said, “There’s nothing ‘new’ in what people are saying, in what you’re saying, it’s all been said before for millennia. What’s new about you, is how you’re saying it. You say it in your own way, which is inspiring to those who need to hear it… that way.” I have paraphrased him, of course, because it was many years ago. But it was perfect. It was perfect, because it was exactly what I needed to hear. I have since shared those words with others, and it has both fallen flat and empowered. So, yes, inspiration is unique to everybody.

But, I also think inspiration, at its core, is brought forth from something outside ourselves. As such, if it’s palpable, it probably outlives its human source eventually… as it should.

Nobody truly owns the inspiration they’ve been gifted to share, even with all the intellectual property laws we have. As Tom said, there’s nothing truly new in the field of inspiration – only new ways of saying it. So even though it would be nice to say “those are my words,” the truth is more accurately stated: I was gifted with those words to share, to inspire, and to help. So, it was my responsibility and my opportunity to speak them, the way that I did, to meet that end in that moment.

Which brings me back to Cosby and Spacey. If we can separate out the words – the inspiration – from the human, we might be able to answer the question “When the mighty fall, do their inspired words fall with them?” with a simple: No, not if they inspire you.

Covers, Doubt, and a Perfectly-Timed Text

Have you ever experienced self-doubt? I think most of us have at one time or another. I know I have. Most recently, I have experienced it with greater frequency than normal.

As you may know, I’m about to publish my first book. This is something you only get to do once in a lifetime. There is only one “first” of anything. So, I’ve been working really hard to get it as close to perfect as possible – knowing, of course, that there is no “perfect.” Well, almost…

Last week I received an unexpected, yet perfectly-timed, text that simply said: “Dude. This book is awesome!”

The text was from a friend who received an advance copy of my book. Only a couple of hours into receiving it, and already she was texting to tell me that it was awesome. She went on to say that I must already know that. But did I?

Here’s what I have learned throughout this publishing process: self-doubt will always (always) show up. Why? Because it has to. It has to in order for me to question myself and question my work. I need to do that to be able to stand up, stand for it, and move forward knowing in my heart that what I’ve done – what I’ve created – is, in fact, awesome.

For a while, I was feeling shame over my self-doubt. Feeling like it was yet another obstacle I had to overcome. But it’s simply not the case. Maybe at one point in my life it was, but now I see it as an ally. I see it as an opportunity for me to go deeper into the embrace. I see it as a chance to rise higher, stand taller, and empower myself further. In other words, I see it as a gift.

So, with that said, and having self-doubted my way through countless tweaks to the cover for my new book – I can honestly say that I am THRILLED, EXCITED, and PROUD to share it with you now. Here it is:

What If - coverI can’t wait to share the whole book with you in 8 short weeks!

Are you looking forward to reading it? Learning about this powerful approach I’ve created to change your life? I truly can’t wait to share it with you – and I look forward to you sharing it with your family and friends.

To get the party started, join me and invite them to do the same. Follow me on Facebook and Twitter!

The Two C’s That Make the Holidays Stressful

One of the reasons we have so many arguments and disagreements with family during the holidays is because we engage in the practice of Competing and Comparing. Here’s what I’m talking about…

There’s a difference between saying,

“I make my potatoes differently,” and “I make my potatoes differently.”

See?…. No?

Yeah, it’s not obvious is it, not without tone and inflection – which is to say, not without intention. It’s the exact same phrase, nothing more than an observation perhaps, but the intention changes everything. But…

A passing observation is rarely passing if it’s speckled with comparison and competition.

If an external value system is placed on the item in question (potatoes), then comparison is immediately included in the intention (“different” becomes “better”). Comparison is better or worse. Once we have attached a value to it, it opens the door for competition, which internalizes the comparison. (aka: I’m better because my potatoes are better.) Whoa! And therein lies the problem, because it can be said or received either way. We don’t control how others receive our statements, of course, but we can certainly control how we say them.

So, how do you navigate the holiday season with less stress, arguing and disagreement? Raise your awareness to Comparison and Competition, and choose something different.

Sub-text, second-level dialogue, and assumptions are all fodder for Comparison and Competition. Once we engage in either we create opportunity for disagreement and argument, hurt feelings and frustration. So, it’s easy to see why the holidays can be fraught with strife for so many as families gather together to celebrate. Keeping the two C’s in check can lead to more enjoyable holidays together now and in the future.

Finally, when in doubt, it’s best to choose gratitude. Regardless of how the potatoes are made, a simple “Thank you for making the potatoes” goes a lot further than any passing observation ever could (even if Aunt Bernie’s potato recipe is awesome). There’s little room for disagreement when gratitude is shared.