Featured Writer on Wellness: Charity Bradford

Filed in Writers on Wellness by on November 6, 2014 • views: 1311

Charity

My age creeps up every year, gosh dang it!

My biggest problems are eye fatigue and what I call the iron neck. I hold all my tension in my neck and shoulders and sometimes can’t even turn my head.

The best way to deal with this is the doorway exercise. Stand in front of a door, feet comfortable (not together or wide). Put one hand on each side of the doorjamb, level with your head.

Your elbows will be bent and level with your shoulders. Lean forward to stretch the back of your shoulder blades. Feels wonderful! You can also move your hands up higher for a slightly different stretch.

Weight gain is next. I’ve managed it much better in the past, and found my writing improved when I got more exercise.

The Elusive Morning Run

Until recently, I made sure I went for a run first thing in the morning. The exercise was the catalyst for many smaller choices that helped me all day.

After a run, I’d always stretch and eat better all day. My blood would be pumping and my brain would work better.

Now, I’m subbing and that call comes every morning. Exercise doesn’t happen, and sadly the writing has slowed as well. I really miss my miles.

I’m trying to adjust my way of thinking. Somehow I have to start exercising at night. There is a great short circuit room at my local gym that I really like. It’s weight machines, abs, and bikes.

You work at each station for one minute and a timer beeps, then you have 20 seconds to get to the next station. You can do the entire routine in 20 minutes. Everyone has twenty minutes!

Self-Doubt and Lack of Support Can Do a Writer In

Self-doubt and lack of support have almost done me in several times.

As writers we always doubt, especially those of us that are perfectionists. I can look at my writing and know it’s not on the same level as some of the authors I love and respect.

However, I hope that with enough perseverance and hard work, I can get there. Unfortunately, I’ve also had to deal with the lack of support from my family. They just don’t understand and see this only as an expensive “hobby.”

Put On Your Own Oxygen Mask First

I try to take it one day at a time. I’ve had to learn how to share my thoughts and feelings with those closest to me—tell them why I need to write.

Writing fills a very important need for me, and without it, I feel cranky, frustrated and eventually angry at everyone around me. Now that my family understands I’m a nicer person when I get to kill things on paper, they are more supportive.  (grin)

Actually getting some form of exercise helps too, as does alone time. There is never enough alone time in my life. That’s when I can decompress and focus on my characters and what needs to happen with them.

My newest mantra is: Put on your own oxygen mask before helping others. Writing is my oxygen. If I don’t do it for myself, every day, then I am useless to those around me.

The Darkest Moment: Being Kicked When You’re Down

My darkest moment occurred in December of 2012.

We moved from a place I dearly loved. My first novel was in the final stages of formatting to be published in February 2013. After the final run-through with my editor, I loved my story more than ever. We added more character building and filled in several gaps.

Then I received my final copy. Eight thousand words had been cut. (That’s A LOT.) I was filled with self-doubt and wondering why in the world my publisher said “yes” if I was such a horrible writer.

On top of it all, I was very confused. The story I loved in the final draft had become choppy and confusing in areas because of what was cut.

I was ready to go to battle for my story, to make sure all the little things that were important for the rest of the series were put back in.

That’s when someone I loved dearly dropped the “I hate your writing” bomb. Talk about being kicked while down! I have never felt so alone in my life.

There was no fight left in me. In the end I walked away, left things as they were and hoped it would be better with the sequel.

The saddest part is I still haven’t recovered.I didn’t write for a year. Last fall I finally tried to set things aside and dig back in. I wrote a completely new novel that I LOVE, but could only draft my sequel.

It may be stupid, but I feel like I let my characters down.

I Just Want to Share a Great Story

Determined to be normal, I’ve “stopped” writing many times. I’d like to be a better mother, wife, daughter, and friend, but as I mentioned before, writing is my oxygen.

Reading was my escape from reality as a child, and through my teen and early motherhood years. I loved visiting new worlds and living daring lives from the safety of my couch.

My imagination has always been “out there.” The next logical step was putting my crazy dreams and stories on paper.

These characters come whisper in my mind: “Come, get to know me.”

“Play.”

“Save me.”

“Help me find myself.”

And I can’t help myself. I learn things about them and wonder, how did they get here? What would happen if…? Exploring the possibilities is like a drug.

As for my goals, all I want to do is share a great story that will take my readers somewhere they’ve never been. I’d love to elicit some emotion from them—fear, anger, sadness, joy. Anything at all!

Advice for a Young Writer: Be Patient

One of my favorite things about being a writer is when people ask for advice. In public I’m a very optimistic person. I believe you can do anything you set your mind on, especially if you’re prepared for the challenges.

Each person will find different challenges. For me, the biggest one is patience. Everything takes longer than you want it to.

There are times when first drafts come quickly, but revisions can drag. Other times the draft is like sucking blood from your veins one drop at a time, and then the revisions drag.

If you’re lucky enough to have great critique partners you have to respect their time and wait. You wait to hear back from queries, editors, publishers, etc. You wait for someone you don’t know to read your book and give an honest review.

Things happen slowly, and after all the waiting your life doesn’t really change. Be prepared for that, too. Getting published doesn’t change who you are. It doesn’t guarantee happiness.

It’s like Regina Sirois said at LDStorymakers Midwest Writer’s Conference 2013: “You can’t live at the top of Everest. At some point, you have to come down and live your life.”

* * *

Charity Bradford lives in Northwest Arkansas, and loves to dance, camp, hike, bake and eat. She loves to eat so much that she started running after her fourth child was born. She has now run five-and-a-half marathons and multiple 5ks. She also enjoys cake decorating.

For more information on her and her work, please see her website and blog, or connect with her on Twitter and Pinterest.


The Magic WakesThe Magic Wakes: Since childhood, scientist Talia Zaryn has been haunted by visions of an alien attack on her planet Sendek. Each time it ends abruptly with Talia’s death in the capital city Joharadin.

As Talia’s nightmares occur with increasing frequency, they reveal the imminent invasion of a half-dragon, half-human race called Dragumon, bent on annihilation of her world. When she is unexpectedly transferred to Joharadin, she is convinced that the conflict, and her own death, is at hand.

Now, in order to save her planet, Talia must awaken the powers within her and rely at last on the magic that is her true inheritance. Available from WiDo Publishing and on Amazon.

Stellar CloudThe Stellar Cloud: A soldier struggles with the emptiness left behind by amnesia until he learns he is more than the world would have him remember.

The earth is desolate, and only one ship of humans remains. An assassin plays god, dealing out justice and mercy as he sees fit.

Explore the outer reaches of the imagination through these and other short stories. Available on Amazon.

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Comments (8)

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  1. Your publisher cut 8000 words you didn’t know were going to be cut? Wow. I can’t imagine that happening.
    Sorry you can’t exercise in the morning. Exercise right after school. I hit the gym after work and exercise away all my frustrations before going home. (My wife appreciates that.)

    • I bet she does appreciate that! Yeah, it hurt and I feel it changed the story in ways I didn’t like. One day I’ll get over it. 🙂 Until then I’m righting for myself again.

  2. Chere Hagopian says:

    Wow, I’m so sorry that you went through that “darkest moment” period. They say that all writers have to just get used to rejection of our work, because not everyone is going to like everything. But I know from personal experience how truly gut-wrenching it is to have work you love criticized.

    I get “iron neck” too, and I love the door stretch! I learned it from a physical therapist I once worked for.

  3. Elizabeth says:

    Charity,

    Thanks for your honesty. I think you’re very brave, and I can’t wait for FADE INTO ME.

    xo,

    Elizabeth

  4. Thanks for having me!

    • Colleen says:

      Thank YOU, Charity. So many great thoughts here! My favorite is your comment on the oxygen mask. Such a good analogy. :O)