Wednesday, April 2, 2014

IWSG: It's never enough

If you've never heard of the Insecure Writer's Support Group, you should check out this great community of writers here! Join and share your insecurities and encouragement with others on the same journey. The amazing Alex Cavanaugh started it all.

I get bogged down, find myself stuck inside my own head trying to convince myself I'm not a writer, or that I'm no good at it so I just shouldn't do it... If I was a writer I'd HAVE to write every day and I don't... or at least I convince myself not to... so I must not be a writer, right?

It's so easy to think of all the reasons that I might not be doing enough, or capable enough to follow my dreams, to succeed as a writer or as a freelance editor.

Well, this week, the fabulous Anne Rice wrote ... almost directly to my insecurities via her Facebook page. Thanks Ms. Rice.

I've often said there are no rules for writers. Let me share the WORST AND MOST HARMFUL ADVICE I was ever given by others. 1) Write what you know. 2)You'll have to polish every sentence you write three or four times. 3)Genius is one tenth talent and nine tenths hard work and 4) You're not a real writer if you don't write every day. --- ALL OF THAT WAS HARMFUL TO ME. ALL OF IT. IT HURT AND IT SET ME BACK. ----- So I say again, there are no rules. It's amazing how willing people are to tell you that you aren't a real writer unless you conform to their cliches and their rules. My advice? Reject rules and critics out of hand. Define yourself. Do it your way. Make yourself the writer of your dreams. Protect your voice, your vision, your characters, your story, your imagination, your dreams.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

IWSG: Finding courage in the midst of failure

It's not easy to fail repeatedly. It's not possible to fail repeatedly if you only try once and let your failure keep you from ever trying again.

I'm having a frustrating experience this week. I used to have a hobby aquarium... 4 years ago before all of my life got put on hold and we moved to Connecticut (I call those the Dark Years, that time in Connecticut...). When I had my aquarium(s) I kept angelfish. They were beautiful and so happy in my tanks that I had two mated pairs and produced a LOT of angelfish fry to trade back to my LFS (Local Fish Store). One might say that for a hobbyist, I was an expert.

So now that we've been back in California for 6 months, I decided to fill up my aquarium again. I spent a month preparing, cycling my tank, doing water tests and changes as needed to get things just right. Then I brought home three BEAUTIFUL little angels to live in my tank happily together.

That was Friday. Today is Wednesday and I am down to one. That's right. TWO of those angels have died in the past five days. I'm mystified. The LFS owner is mystified. I'm crushed and disappointed, too... and doubting my skill/experience. How could this happen??

I find that writing is a lot like fish keeping. There's a fragile, almost mystical balance we're all looking for. When it's good, we find that place where our characters thrive, where our agents think we're brilliant, where our novels touch lives and inspire others to write as well. And when it's bad... woe is us! We might as well give it up!

I'm in that bad place right now... both in writing and in fish keeping... and I keep reminding myself that only by making mistakes can I learn and grow... and that even though the disappointment of not getting it right is physically painful and emotionally crushing... trying again and getting it right is worth the effort. In the matter of fish keeping, I've been there before. In the matter of writing, I am trusting the experience of others.

Does anyone else out there feel this way?

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Riding again

I've been riding for the past 6 months... at least twice a week... for the first time in 3 years. I'm still a beginner. I was when I decided it was time for a break. I didn't find a barn or motivate myself to "get out there" and take lessons or do ANYTHING with horses while we lived in Connecticut.

But now we're back in California where my wonderful amazing barn friends are... and something is different about me and the barn than it was 3 years ago. I guess I needed to hit the reset button. I'm not even going to try to analyze it. I'm just grateful for it.

I ride this cute little morgan mare named Rogue. She's not mine. She belongs to the daughter of another of Debbie's students... the daughter has just gone away to med school, and so someone needs to keep Rogue working. What a deal for me!

She's got just the right amount of sass for me, and we seem to get along (as long as I keep her in treats, that is). Plus, she's just so darn cute!

Yesterday we hit a milestone, Rogue and I. We went over a cross-rail! It's been more than 3 years since my last cross-rail. And we had a blast!

It's baby steps toward a goal of confidence and joy in riding... and I'm hoping that I can transfer it over to other areas of my insecurity and anxiety-ridden life. I'm going to beat those monsters yet!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Insecure Writer's Support Group: Die Vampire!

Totally ripping this off of the Bloggess today, but it was just too appropriate(ly inappropriate), not to share with you this morning. "You have a story to tell! Pull your novel out of that sock drawer!... Die Vampire Die!"
Thank you for reading this week's edition of the Insecure Writer's Support Group, a monthly group hosted by the ever amazing and talented Alex Cavanaugh. Anyone can join in any time, so please hop over to his blog and sign up! You won't regret it.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Insecure Writer's Support Group: Trying something new

This is Insecure Writer's Support Group, a monthly group hosted by the ever amazing and talented Alex Cavanaugh. Anyone can join in any time, so please hop over to his blog and sign up! You won't regret it.

It is SOOOO easy to get stuck in a rut, but in your writing and in your life how many times do you fall back to the same old thing because it's safe, comfortable, and you know it well? I have this problem a lot... mostly with my life, a little less so with my writing.

Recently, I've felt like my inspiration for characters and plots has been dragging... that I keep rewriting the same thing and I DON'T LIKE IT! I want to write something new for me, something exciting and motivating, something with zest.

So what I've decided to do is try new things in my real life... new activities that get me out of my house and meeting new people, stretching my comfort zone, and honing some skills that are NOT directly related to writing. I'm hoping that these activities will spark my imagination again.

I signed up for a portrait drawing class, found a knitting circle to attend, and scheduled time to attend a student composers concert, all to give my brain and my social skills some exercise. Um... except I'm so intimidated by trying new things! What if I'm not very good at them? What if the people don't like me? Wouldn't it be so much easier just to try these things from the comfort of my own home?

I'm not letting myself cringe and cower, though. I'm going to dive out there, try something new, and maybe fall flat on my face. Who knows? Who cares, though? My characters will never have any real depth if I don't have the courage to try something and risk failing at it as well.

How good are you at trying something new?

Sunday, December 29, 2013

The new year cometh

The decorations are already down.
I've been going through stuff this year... hard stuff, honestly... and I'm eager to move on. So, I've had my Christmas spirit. We're still drinking out of Christmas mugs until after the new year, but I've already taken down the tree. Bring on 2014 and hopefully some progress on some of my issues. (Ok... stopping for a peaceful breath here).

In other news, and in random order, here are a couple of awesome things that have happened recently:
Sunrise this morning before heading to the wetlands to count
shorebirds, water birds, and various other kinds of birds.

We lit a spiral of candles for the solstice and asked our friends
to each add a light representing a wish they have for the new year.

I have Doctor Who salt and pepper shakers now!
It was a particularly Doctor Christmas this year. Love!
I hope you all have resolutions for the new year, even if it's something generic. We should all start the year looking forward to something, I think. I'll be back in a couple of days to document my own resolutions.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Insecure Writers' Support Group

It's that time again! It's the first Wednesday in March. That means it's time for Insecure Writer's Support Group, hosted by Alex Cavanaugh. Anyone can join, so hop on over to the IWSG page for more information and sign up!

So "the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry," said Robert Burns. I had lofty schemes of finishing a NaNo novel this year, and after the first week I dropped the ball. Well, but that's not exactly true... it's just that a daily word count became less important than some of the other things that November threw at me.

I always feel guilty for setting my writing aside, but then I try to remind myself that a well balanced life is my goal. Because, in all honesty, it is. I want to enjoy my life and feel like the things I pursue are enhancing it, instead of eroding it. Do any of you find that problem with balance?

On that note, I'm off for pastry and time with some out-of-town friends.