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Using A Compass When Writing and Life Challenges You

When life hands you lemons make lemonade.

compass and map
Use your compass

I’m sure we’ve all heard that old cliche.  Like most people I never understood that concept; I understood that we all have challenges in our lives, and that we should be positive, and learn from them.  Challenges are a guide, a compass directing us toward building a life we want.  This applies to writing, but it also applies to life.

I want to become a better writer, but I also want to become a better person.  The idea is great in theory. It’s like a journey: you have a destination and a plan, and off you go.  It’s all “in theory”.  

I had no map to becoming a better writer, so I needed a compass.

I doubt anyone wants challenges, but they makes us who we are, and in turn, make either better or worse.  For some people, challenges make them better, and I hope mine have done that as well.

Rebecca A Emrich
Rebecca A Emrich

I wanted my compass to always direct me to the “North” so that my journey was not a complicated.  I felt I needed some challenges but nothing extreme.  Life, has other plans, and I am grateful for that.  I’ve got a few more lemons than I would want, but it makes the lemonade all the better.  One challenge is the ability to learn about the people I know the best.  It is learning about who will stand beside you, and who won’t.  This hit home very quickly in January.

I can ask what happened to my compass if there are challenges?  For one thing, I’ve learned that my friends are more likely to support me and also show me my mistakes long before most of my family will, especially close family.  

I’m not suggesting that my family doesn’t love me, but I understand that most of them have lost a lot of respect and care for me since I’ve committed to changing my goals and views in life.  That smile on my face is not because of them, but because of knowing that I am a person who needs to “grow up.”

jumping for joy
jump for joy- you are a writer

I’ve always wanted to be a writer, and I understood the need to have growth, but I didn’t want the sort of growth I earned in the last few years.  Standing strong and going forward is a lot harder when you have doubt and fears.  I could say I was improving as a writer, but unfortunately I was not.  I had lost my compass.

I let myself believe that I shouldn’t hear the negative things, but these negatives always have a bit of truth to them.  It’s a part of using my own life in my own writing.  I’m busy with life, I am busy with work, and I am busy writing.
Am I too busy to take a look at my compass to see if I am going the right way?  If I was asked a few months ago, I would have said, no I’m doing just fine thank you.  No matter what anyone said, I was firm in my belief that everything is just fine.
And I was wrong.  My writing was in a rut, I was in a rut, and I was not willing to go the extra mile to see where I could go to get out of my rut.  I wasn’t putting myself on the line, taking the leap over the edge to make me better.  I was certainly not looking at my compass.  I was walking, no running south when I wanted to head NORTH.  I wasn’t even going to consider heading east or west.  That was my problem.  My writing challenges were taking my journey east or west, but I wasn’t willing to go that way.

Writing a blog should be able to change your life- and it did, but I wasn’t helping myself the way I could have with my writing.

I wasn’t using the compass I was given.  I was letting things slide.  I had to change.  I had to set up some goals that might help.  Looking back on my past, I found my answers, yes I published a book, and yes I’ve written a blog, and yes I have a job.  That means absolutely nothing, because it’s in the past, and I’ve not looked at the past the way I should.

My compass was telling me that I was looking for support in the wrong places, in this case my family, when I should have been looking for it in me.  My compass was telling me that I failed in a lot of ways, but that I could start again, only if I took that jump.

Challenges should not be easy.  If this is the one thing I’ve learned it’s that challenges, and fear make for a great combination and they showed me where I am going wrong, and how to right myself again.
The challenge goes beyond writing.  However, my challenges now dare me to build my writing in a better way.  Was I ready before? No.
Am I ready now? Yes.

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