Embracing Conflict

I have been writing since shortly after my Dad passed away (five or six months now). As someone who has explored the many facets of my creativity, I find myself getting caught up with the same pitfalls in each medium.

What I have to say has no value and is not good enough compared to what others have to say.

I am great at starting a project, not so good at finishing.

Putting my work out there feels exposing and raw.  

I dislike conflict, and it reflects in my writing.

I wanted to take a moment to explore number four before I got into working on one of my many projects today.

I have always swayed between wanting to stay in the shadows and wanting to be heard. I think everyone wants their voices heard. However, if no one hears me, no one can judge me. I like things to be simple, with little conflict. I want to live in a world where everyone respects each other and has grace for rough spots. I love affirmation.

Today, as I was taking my husband to his work shuttle, I was driving down the road at the speed limit, and some big truck speeds in behind me and gets right up on my ass. My first instinct is to be super annoyed and angry. I comment on what he (not even sure it was a he) was compensating. When the road breaks into two lanes, the big truck pulls out and zips forward, passing me on the right. About 1000 feet later, we are both stopped at a red light. I hang back a bit because I do not want to be window to window. He can zip ahead of me if that floats his boat, and I’ll move on with my day.  

My husband, on the other hand, rolls down the window and tells me to pull forward, so our windows align (I don’t.) He is much more confrontational. I run down the list of reasons why the truck man was a jerk: He could be late for work, Maybe he is distracted, perhaps his dog died. My husband, on the other hand, thinks he is probably just an asshole.

This interaction illustrates where I struggle most in building a story. Conflict is where we grow, and it is what teaches us lessons. It doesn’t have to be angry or messy, but often it is. People understand conflict. They recognize it in themselves, and when seeing conflict in a piece of art, or story, sometimes they grow with it.  

I want my writing to bring introspection to my readers. I want my audience to read something and be able to see the conflict in themselves. (I also want to be exciting and intriguing). I have set a goal to try to introduce conflict into every chapter one way or another. As a dancer, I learned repetition, muscle memory, and practice improves our weaknesses. So I am hoping that translates to my writing as well.   

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