4 Things I've Learned from Barry Allen

6:00 AM

Confession time: I love The Flash.

I'm not usually such a big fan of DC related stuff, but when I started watching it (not really sure why, I just wanted to find a new show cause I hadn't watched one in ages) I could not stop. It's so good. I'm almost done with season two right now. In my eyes, the plot has stayed spectacular. Season one was absolutely brilliant, and season two was right on its heels.

But what makes this show so special? I was pondering that as I watched late into the night. Good books keep me up till crazy hours. TV shows rarely do. So what was it about this one?

What is it about The Flash?

At some point in season two, it finally hit me.

I couldn't stop watching the show because I related so much to the main character.

Now, I knew this all along. But something happened in season two (I won't say because #spoilers) that made me realize, I didn't just like Barry. I connected with him. Deeply.

And that's what made all the difference. Liking a character is really good, but when you connect with a character, there's a new level of "hook". You need to keep watching or reading. You need to stay with this story, because this character holds answers for you.

I've learned a lot from the character Barry Allen, but here are four things I'd like to share with you today. 



1. People can be angry and still love you.

One thing about this show is that it models a lot of healthy relationships. None of them are perfect, of course, but Barry has a lot of people he can go to. He has a lot of people that care about him, and they care about him enough to call him out when he's made a mistake.

At the beginning of season two, Barry tries to isolate himself because he feels responsible for some severe things from season one. And his friends honor his wishes and keep away ... for a while. But they soon realize he's not going to forgive himself, so they need to be there for him. Even if it means doing what he doesn't necessarily want.


2. The weight of the world doesn't belong on your shoulders. 

That's another big one. Barry takes the full responsibility of everything that happens that's connected to him. People die? It's his fault. A building is destroyed? All his doing. And he's constantly beating himself up about if only I was better and if only I was faster then, of course, none of this would have happened.


3. Your loved ones are there and you need to talk to them.

Barry is really good about sharing stuff with those who he loves and those who love him. When he gets down or feels ultra responsible, he tries to shoulder it all on himself. But that never lasts very long before he's going to Joe or Iris or Wells, asking for advice.

One of the devil's favorite tactics is to isolate you. He wants to make you feel alone and vulnerable. And if you don't hold onto your friends, if you don't reach out and open yourself up to them, his attack will succeed.

Don't let that be the case.


4. Even though you've messed up, you don't have to despair.

Barry is far from perfect. He makes a lot of mistakes, some of which result in very serious consequences. But there's a turning point in the series when he finally realizes, yes, I messed up. Yes, this was my fault. Yes, I could have done better. But I didn't. I messed things up this time, and there's nothing I can do about it. But I can change the future. I can put all my energy from being upset about this to making an effort towards that never happening again. Then I'll actually make a difference.

I don't know about you guys, but that really hit home with me. Watching him let go of the guilt ... he wasn't blameless, but he was able to let the guilt go. He was able to free himself from that heavy burden, with the help of his friends.

We mess up. We make mistakes. But Jesus has given us the chance to let go of all of that. We can move on. We can move forward.

We just have to let go.


I know this isn't really writing related, but I hope you enjoyed this post all the same! If you want something that is writing related and written by yours truly, go check out my guest post on the lovely Savannah's blog! You should totally check out all she's got going on over there. It's awesome!

Have you ever watched The Flash? What do you think of Barry Allen, and what have you learned from him? Are there any other characters in fiction that you've deeply connected with?

<3

What Do You Do With All Those Ideas?

6:00 AM

Ideas are everywhere.

They permeate the air. They flit about minds, from words people say that kick start something, from slogans or phrases, from pictures or pieces of art. They can come from a funny story someone tells, from a mistake someone makes when trying to say something but hey what if there actually was a school with only two people enrolled? 


Ideas are everywhere. But, sooner or later, the time will come to reach out and take hold of one of those ideas--one very special idea--and sit down with it. It'll take you months, years, to finish up that idea. And it's impossible to live those months and years without getting any new ideas.


Those story ideas ... we need them. They're the future of our works. If I didn't keep the ideas I get, my two WIPs wouldn't exist.

Story ideas can be quite a nuisance, however. Especially if you've been dutifully working on a project for a year or so, and even more so if you're getting tired of it. That shiny new idea that comes along can hardly be resisted.

So what do we do? we can't just shove them away completely. We want to make friends with our ideas so they'll like us when it comes their turn to be written. But we can't neglect our WIP...

We need to find a balance.


I don't know about you, but I used to feel a little guilty when I got a new idea. Especially if it was a super good one.

I guess I felt like I was "cheating" on my WIP? I don't really know. But I didn't want to give it too much love and attention because can't stop working on the WIP! 

But is that really the best approach?

If you've got this new idea, and you're getting tons of the pieces to the story ... if you just shove it all away so you don't forsake your WIP, what happens later? What happens when that WIP is done, and it's time to move on to a new story?

I've opened documents in my idea folder many times and found just one sentence. It seemed brilliant at the time, but since I only took the time to write down one sentence, I often completely forget where I was going with the idea.

So it's useless to me.

I've settled into a groove of things now, and it works fairly well for me. So allow me to share my method (which I've referred to several times) with you all.

I have a file on my computer. It's called, "She's an Author". There are currently 51 files labeled "Idea" in it. I like to number my ideas so I can look back later and see which ones I got first. (That's how I know I got the idea for my current WIP before my last WIP.)

I started doing something recently, too. I have "Character" files. If I get an idea for a really cool charrie but they have no story (that doesn't happen for me very often, but it does sometimes) I'll just give them their own file. (I only have 12 of those types of files right now)

Now, most of those 51 ideas are just a couple sentences long. I thought they were cool in the moment, and so I ran to my computer to write them down.

But there are few, 5-6ish, that tug at me often. Idea 5, 21, and 35 are my top three ideas. These are files that I open maybe once or twice a month to make notes in. These are ideas I think about.

These are ideas that are dangerous.

They tempt me to flutter away from my WIP. They're so cool and fun and new and exciting.

But you know what? Allowing myself to visit those idea folders, to make a map of the world and to write a character's backstory and to write down the vague plotline ... that keeps me going. It helps me write my current WIP when I don't feel like writing because I have more stories to tell. And that's exciting. I want to move on. (I reallyreallyreally want to write idea 35. It's this giant fairytale/epic poem mashup and it's a chaotic mess but IT'S A BEAUTIFUL CHAOTIC MESS AND I WANT TO WRITE IT NOW.)

It's tempting to shove that away, because UGH I JUST WANT TO WRITE IT. But if I shoved away all the ideas, I wouldn't have anything to look forward to.

So the conclusion? You don't have to organize ideas like I do. (I also keep a journal for various story ideas, since I like to handwrite stuff.) But I do encourage that you document your ideas somewhere, and you let yourself visit them every now and then. That will keep you excited for them, and keep you motivated to edit that WIP so you can move on to something new.

How do you organize your ideas? Do you have any stories you're dying to write?

<3

A Different Kind of Beautiful

6:00 AM

So most of you probably know the wonderful Aimee human. She is brilliant and started a new blog HERE. Which you should totally go follow right now.

I was reading through her posts (because my laptop wouldn't let me view her site when she first put it up? Natasha, why) and I found this one. Your first assignment is to go read it, because it is AMAZING. It also inspired a sequel to one of my most popular posts on this blog: a post about the monstrous beast of comparison.




I've never really been the best at confidence. But there are so many lovely bloggers out there that have been sharing confidence-y thoughts lately, and it's been like a blow to the noggin. I'm finally really getting a grasp as to what true confidence is. And some people have different definitions than I might, but here's the Hannah's definition because this is my corner where you will get All My Opinions.


Confidence is when you can walk into a room and not feel better than everyone, but feel happy in yourself knowing that you don't have to be better than anyone. 

This is a quote based on what my youth minister told us when giving a lesson full of quotes. I don't know who said it, but it's so true. If you stop and think about it, what causes us to be insecure in the first place?

Comparison. Looking at other people and realizing that we're not like them in certain ways. And being angry or upset that we're not like them.

We look. And we compare. And then we feel bad about ourselves.

But what if we didn't do that?

What if when we looked at others, we could see them as they are? What if when we looked at others, we were able to see them as God does, see the talents God gave them and admire how amazing they are?

What if we looked at others and appreciated them and their abilities and talents and didn't let it hit us in the gut?

If we can just take a step back from ourselves and stop comparing everything to us, life would be so much more beautiful.

We'd see that we don't have to be like everyone. We don't have to be uber skilled with youtube videos or singing or photography. We have strengths in other areas. It doesn't make that person any less amazing. It just means you're both amazing in your own unique ways.

And I know that sounds a little cliche. You've heard it before. "Everyone's amazing in their own ways." Yeah, yeah.

But guys. It's true. It's so, so true I just wanna SHOVE THE TRUTH IN YOUR FACES. Comparison is the bane of confidence. It's the bane of what God wants us to see ourselves as. And we need to stop doing it. 

"But how do I do that, Hannah? How do I just decide not to compare myself to other people anymore? How do I just look at myself and appreciate myself?"

First off, stop looking at other people for a bit. If you're not in a place where you can handle appreciating others achievements, then don't look at them. Just spend some time reflecting on your heart and mind. Maybe write down some things about yourself that you like and love. Some things you are proud of.

And then I want you to write down some things you don't like. Some things you're not proud of.

Look at those things and ask yourself--why aren't you proud of them? Are they bad? If they are bad (like a sin you struggle with, or a flaw you're trying to grapple) is there a way you can fix it? A way you can mend it or fight it? Examine some of those sneaky things that seem bad. Are they really? The way you laugh too loud--is that really a bad thing you should be embarrassed by? Are you embarrassed when someone else laughs too loud? The way your hair won't be curly or straight and is just a floppy mess--is that really such a bad thing? Is it really such a "mess"?

Often the reason we feel bad about certain aspects of ourselves roots back to comparison. We might not like our moody hair because that girl has perfect spiral curls, or, that girl's hair is so smooth and straight IT'S LIKE WATER AND SO BEAUTIFUL. 

But just because straight hair and curly hair are pretty doesn't mean anything else is ugly. It doesn't mean that those are The Two Types of Pretty Hair and nothing else at all is even close to pretty. And you have to have one or the other or else YOUR HAIR IS UGLY. Nope. Nope, nope, nope. JUST PLEASE. NO. CAN I SAY NO ENOUGH?

I guess that's the overall point I'm trying to make here.

Look at those things you thought were flaws, and then look again. Are they really flaws? Or have you just been conditioned to think they are because there's another way that it could be that would qualify as "pretty"?

I beg you, plead with you, to remember this: just because something else is good, doesn't mean something different can't be good too.

That amazing book you read yesterday? That doesn't make the amazing book so-and-so read horrible, even though they're different books. They are both amazing books.

That poem so-and-so wrote? Beautiful. Just like the poem her friend wrote. They are both beautiful works.

Need I press on? Need I say more?

Step back and look again.

There are more than one types of beautiful.

Do you struggle with comparison? What are some methods you've found to battle it? 

<3

Why Planning Can Sometimes Be a Good Thing

6:00 AM

Let's face it: sometimes, we just don't want to do anything.

We all have a list of responsibilities. Things we must do, whether we like it or not. Get up, work, school. We have all these things that we do, even though we might not feel like it sometimes. But they're our responsibilities. 

What about the rest of it? 


What about the stuff we want to do, but just don't seem to get time for? What about the stuff that we kind of want to do maybe someday, but never actually plan on following through? What about that stuff?


There's a reason people have day planners. There's so much to do and see. We don't want to miss out! We've got to keep track of all these things going on, and still manage to make time for the things we love. Like reading and writing. 

Which leads me to my point. If you don't start writing stuff down, making note of the things you want to accomplish, be it critiquing someones work, reading that book that's been on your TBR for two years, or reaching chapter 20 in your WIP ... all those things will begin to swirl and swarm in the vast expanses of your brain, and soon they'll flutter far out of reach in the bounless folds of your cerebrum.

AKA. WE HAVE NOTEBOOKS FOR A REASON.



Now don't get me wrong. I'm an ENFP. Emphasis on the P. If you don't understand Myers Briggs, let's just say that letter "P" means I am not fond of making detailed plans and schedules. I feel more confined by them than helped.

But lately, with so much to do, I've needed a list. I've needed a blow by blow of all the things I need to get done, becuase if I don't make that blow by blow, if I don't make a list of at least one thing to do on a given day, I won't do anything at all.

And then boom. A day wasted.

Planning out a day, or a week, or a month, is so benficial because it helps you remember what all you need to do.

But it also has other perks. Take blogging for example. Blogging is something I didn't use to plan. I used to just whip out a post every Thursday/Friday night and put it up. I'd ponder it at the beginning of the week, but that was just it. Pondering. I'd toy with it.

Lately, though, I've been a bit more behind. I don't usually write posts until Midnight the night before. Which is totally not what I'm doing right now why would you ask that.

Becuase, like I talked about last week, sometimes inspiration doesn't strike. Sometimes I don't get a post idea during the week, and I'm left with zilp. I have nothing to post about, and I'm left spewing incoherent brain thoughts that I've likely already said in one form or another.

But when you plan, when you think things through, you don't have that problem. Instead, you can just look at a list of post titles and say, "Today I am blogging about this." And then that's that. You write the post for the topic you have. You're not left, helpless and clueless. You have a game plan.

Some might say that squashes all the fun. But here's my little secret.

A plan is not something you have to follow. It's just a fallback for when you don't have any other ideas.

This applies both to planning things like blog posts and book chapters, and it applies to making lists of those little things. If you end up getting time on a given day and you don't know what you're supposed to do, that list can serve as a fallback. You can find something there.


So there you have it. The spontaneous ENFP's method of planning for efficiency. I hope you enjoyed this and got some ideas from it!

I want to point you all in the direction of Scattered Scribbings because Savannah is hosting a giveaway AND  a writing contest in a month long celebration of her blogoversary which is just SO EPIC. Go join the fun!

Now tell me: are you a planner? What's your Myers Briggs type?

<3

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