This past weekend I had the opportunity to spend a few days coffee-shop-hopping in Raleigh, NC. The weekend was planned months ago before I knew how much I needed a weekend away to sit, process, think, sing, wander, breathe, and WRITE. I kicked off the weekend with a dear college freshman who did YL in our town. We had dinner, I met her boyfriend, & then we headed off to the Sandra McCracken and All Sons & Daughters Poets + Saints Concert. It was a rich and restorative evening to spring board what was to become a blissful weekend of writing & wandering that I have been craving for quite some time.
My journey of writing has ebbed and flowed over the years. I have always loved to write and my stacks of diaries turned journals from my adolescence is a proof. It wasn’t until my creative writing class my senior year in high school that I realized how much of a gift it would be for the duration of my lifetime. I tend to always have a million thoughts and ideas swirling around in my mind, so putting pen to paper brings a peace only writing can offer in calming my headspace. When we first found out we we pregnant with my oldest eight years ago I started a family & lifestyle blog to document the pregnancy. Over time it became a free form of therapy for me during nap time to use my brain and hands. I started sharing songs, books, and my heart. A couple years ago when I started my counseling practice I made a more professional space that was more focused with a loose filter. I was initially disoriented in a more public space trying to find my bearings in the unfamiliar territory of writing for a wide variety of ears in addition to family and friends. One day I was fumbling around the internet trying to find a place to dig in with other writers in a similar season. Somehow I saw Emily’s post about the Writer’s Barn that she was co-hosting at her sister’s place in south Charlotte with Christa Wells. My friend Reeve had been singing the praises of her dear friend ‘The Nester’ for years and I decided to sign up!
A friend and I traveled down to the barn together and my heart almost exploded when we arrived. Everything was beautiful from the woods we drove through to the barn’s simple elegance nestled under the trees. I was expectant but had no idea how much would shift in my heart as we listened to one of my favorite authors and a new-to-me singer and songwriter share about their unique processes of writing. I found myself looking around at all the earthy and delicate details while we listened to each artist speak, sing, and we even took some time to write ourselves. I knew the Lord had arranged for me to be there that day.
After months of being “stuck” in my writing I felt like new creative life was breathed back into my soul again. This was the jumpstart, in addition to Emily’s book A Million Little Ways, about “uncovering the art we were made to live” which caused my creative juices to flow freely once again. I decided to jump into another year of writing 31 Days in October, this time about our yearning for more on this side of heaven. I was coming out of a few years of internalizing all my feelings and the grueling process of writing about it daily woke me up!
Although my new blog has been sporadic over the past 2.5 years, my personal writing has been consistent. I began the ritual of Morning Pages where you wake up daily and write 2-3 pages without an agenda. I started working out my writing muscles behind closed doors and slowly themes began to emerge. With yet another year of #write31days under my belt, I can honestly say it has over time formed the book I hope to one day write, even if it is for an audience of friends of friends & family. There’s a burn that only keeps growing inside!
So this past weekend I embarked on my more focused project of writing a book proposal. I am not sure what will come of it in the years ahead, but I have at least started a document that is organizing itself into chapters and arranging all the themes that have bubbled up.
So when I packed up to head to Raleigh, I had a list of places to check out, a few people to see, my Artist’s Manifesto (pictured above) written by Emily, and my laptop & notes. Then I found my new favorite coffee shop in Boylan Heights at Yellow Dog Bakery & Co. It isn’t an ideal gluten free friendly bakery for my celiac needs, but the autumn spice latte was the best I have ever tasted, by far. The staff was kind & the atmosphere was peaceful, even in the midst of their Saturday morning rush on the last weekend of October with a local 5K. It also helped that Standard Foods grocery & restaurant is just a few storefronts down, which was delicious. I hope to head back down with my friend Jen, to enjoy dinner since their pimento cheese + local veggies are calling my name everyday. What a cute corner it is!
I camped out in this up and coming neighborhood for most of the morning and wandered it’s streets. I enjoyed both breakfast and lunch (down at Person St. Pharmacy) solo. Since I’ve been working on a more focused project & finishing up the Create + Complete course through the School of Creative Direction, I slacked off on my final week of my write 31 Days of October of Finding Peace in the Chaos. Thank you for following along this month! Even in my sporadic posting and sometimes wordless picture posts, I have enjoyed it. I do hope to go back to fill in the most recent posts with my favorite books, music, & podcasts!
Speaking of podcasts, lastly I must share the home community for writers & creatives alike that I frequent online to find the most inspiration and hope in a corner of kindred spirits. Hope*Writers is an online group led by sisters, Emily P. Freeman (Chatting at the Sky) & Myquillyn Smith (The Nesting Place). It includes rich resources, a private FB group, etc.
Learn more & sign up for Hope*Writers … I can assure you it is worth every penny & more!
If you are interested in the sold out workshop this weekend happening in Charlotte you can also purchase a recording for an inside listen to all the things that will be discussed.