*Note: Am participating in the #Write28Days (February) hosted by Anita Ojeda. Click here if you would like to participate.
Just celebrated a birthday last month. My 48th one. I’m finding it difficult to believe that I am almost the big 5-0 when most of the time my mind thinks I’m still in my 20’s.
Where on earth did the time go?
I can clearly remember my parents saying the same thing to me when they were in their 40’s. The sad reality is, my father’s no longer with us. He passed away in 2014. He was only 67.
In my eyes, he was the true steward of God using his carpentry skills (he was so gifted with his hands especially in woodworking, crafting beautiful things) and his time for the church. Those who knew my father always commented on how cheerful he was, all smiles and loved to whistle tunes from the 60’s as he worked.
Now, I’m looking at myself and wondering, what will people remember about me when I am gone from this earth? How have I used my talent/gift and time to reach others?
After a lifetime with disabilities (hearing and vision loss), I still struggle with my self-worth and whether my writing has any value (especially when most of what I write, both poetry and fiction, tend to be dark). It doesn’t help either when my husband and son think of my writing as just a “hobby” or “fantasy writing.” And it also doesn’t help when my husband have discouraged me from ever publishing books since I am on disability benefits (there are other factors for his paranoia other than this one reason) when I have many, many stories and poetry within that I wish to share with the world. So, I have resorted to having my short fiction and poetry published in non-paying zines a few times each year with the remaining items posted on this blog.
Is this me experiencing the dreaded “mid-life crisis?” Is this me being vain as I worried if all that I’ve written will be lost forever once I am no longer here? How will people remember me? Just a woman who is so and so wife and mother?
I have been given this gift (writing) for a reason, and I don’t want to squander it. So, no matter what, I will continue to write what’s on my heart and mind through whatever means I can find in the hope of reaching those who need reaching.
This quote reminds me of spring with the warmer weather and how everything’s blooming. A nice thought to keep with me for the next several days in that we’re expecting more snow, blizzard conditions and yet another arctic blast.
Do you have a quote you really like that reminds you of warmer weather? I’d love to hear it!
You’d think with all the technology we have on hand, as writers, we’d find a way to make a living. But the truth is, technology has made it so that anyone can publish therefore flooding the digital world with stories, poetry, how-tos, comics, etc. it has become nearly impossible to make any kind of a living.
So, how does a writer survive now-a-days?
- Community. Being a part of a community of writers and authors (guilds, groups, tribes, followers, link-ups, etc.) helps you through times when you’re feeling alone and overwhelmed. Plus, through a community, you’ll have access to opportunities to further your career/dream (a community tends to be filled with people from various creative/professional backgrounds).
- Diversify. I’ve noticed that many successful authors these days are also teachers, coaches and mentors, working with those just beginning their journey as writers. Others speak at various conferences, summits, and events spreading their knowledge as well as promoting their published works. For those who dislike public speaking of any kind, there are other opportunities such as writing guest posts for blogs, journals, and magazines with large subscribers, or content writing/freelance writing, etc.
- Exposure. With so many ebooks or print books in the market these days, it’s nearly impossible for any potential reader to find your published novel. You need to find ways to get your name/brand/written work before as many eyes as you can. A few ways to do this: publish shorter works in ezines, journals, and magazines; set up a blog and write regular posts; guest posts on other blogs that have a high number of subscribers; set up interviews with various media outlets (popular blogs, podcasts, book reviewers with their own websites/blogs, etc..)
What about you? Can you think of other ways for a writer to survive in this highly competitive creative industry?
*Note: I’m participating in the #Write28Days (February) hosted by Anita Ojeda. Click here if you would like tp participate.
So, really, how confident are you in yourself as a writer and in your writing abilities?
Personally, I can say without hesitation that I have very little confidence in myself as a writer, and many times this lack of confidence stops me from writing.
How sad is that?
What’s holding me back? What am I really afraid of?
Fear of failure? Of what others think about my stories and poems? Fear of success?
The only answers that keep coming back to me are:
I need to write. I need to tell my story-in my own way. The price is too high NOT to write.
Again, what??? These tell me nothing about what I’m afraid of.
Then, another answer rings through my head:
My writing has to be perfect. If I can’t get it just right with the first try, why bother? I’ll never be good enough anyway.
Oh…yeah…this one cuts deep. I keep going back to trying to be good at that one thing. It’s the search that never ends. It all goes back to my childhood when my (hearing) disability made me feel inferior to other normal kids (because they’d thought me strange because I spoke funny, or heard things incorrectly and they’d laugh at me, or called me “booby” when I acted clueless to what was going on around me, etc.). Or when I learned I was slowly losing my sight at the age of 21 just when I was beginning to get a feel of what I wanted for in a career, and this diagnosis shook my confidence, no, it destroyed it, and I gave up any and all aspirations.
On the other side, people who’ve known me for most if not all of my life would tell me how feisty I was when I was younger, how much harder I worked at something when the others believed I’d never be able to accomplish, and I’d do just that, how the guy who used to call me names found out one day he’d pushed me too far when I shove him against a wall with a hockey stick (he never bothered me again after that), and on and on. My own mother said I was the strongest person she’d ever known, and how I was an inspiration to her.
Now, I look at the mirror and I can’t see that girl anymore.
Where did she go?
But, the real question is:
Will she ever return? Is it possible to become that girl again?
I can’t help but to feel so lost. How did I end up being this lost? But, is that necessarily a bad thing? A quote I read some time ago came back:
“Sometimes the only way to ever find yourself is to get completely lost.” – Kellie Elmore
I feel there is truth to this quote. I also believe that the path to re-discovering myself will be through writing; and in writing, I believe I will regain my confidence.
…you feel like a total reject?
This usually happens when we start comparing ourselves to other writers and authors.
And when we do this, ever notice how the doubts creep in, and suddenly all our writing just stop?
So my question to you is this: What do you do to combat this?
*Note: Am participating in the #Write28Days (February) hosted by Anita Ojeda. Click here if you would like tp participate.
A writer is not just a creator,
she is a builder
of kingdoms and worlds
constructing and putting together
all the pieces that make up the story
to characters, large and small
to bring each setting to
its glorious and colorful
To build, create
is every writer’s hidden power
whether she choose
to give it life, or not
lies in her hands
You know the saying, no one is perfect, right? Yet, so many are trying to be perfect, and failing miserably at it. Including writers.
I don’t think I’ve known very many writers who didn’t give a darn about the quality of their written work. In fact, many of us get so hung up in believing that our writing needs to be perfect before we can send it out into the world. The problem is, this way of thinking is probably the number one reason why nothing gets completed (and in many instances, even started).
Heck, perfectionism is one of the root causes of the so-called “writer’s block.”
What a writer to do?
Here are some reasons why we should accept those flaws as writers.
!. It lowers the stress level. I think Stephen King was on to something when he said:
“As with all other aspects of the narrative art, you will improve with practice, but practice will never make you perfect.”
No matter if you’re an unpublished writer or a prolific, best-selling author, the writing craft is a life-long apprenticeship where there are no masters. Instead of agonizing over your struggles in grasping certain grammatical rules, realize that we all have issues with them. Every. Single. One. Of. Us. You will never get the story “perfectly” written in the first draft. The sooner we accept that, the easier the words will flow.
2. Your flaws are what sets you apart from the others.
“Flaws are what makes people most interesting.” -Minh Tan
Some of the most interesting people in the world have been writers and the first one to come to mind is Ernest Hemingway. Aside from his flamboyant and active lifestyle, he was noted for his writing style. He lived in a time where literary (aka elaborate) writing dominated; but his style ran counter to this. He preferred to write lean descriptions while relying more on dialogue and action to tell the story. Many, at first, viewed this to be a flawed writing style; instead, he gained notoriety and eventually won many awards (including the Nobel). His writing style wasn’t the only reason for his success; it was also the kind of stories, their characters and content, that set him apart from the other writers of the time. Much of this was due to his wartime experiences as well as his battles with mental illness and alcoholism. All of these were responsible for fundamentally shaping his style of writing.
He was an imperfect man who wrote unforgettable stories. So, embrace your flaws and make them your strengths rather than view them as weaknesses. It is our flaws that will set our writing apart from the others, and it is also our flaws which readers can connect and identify with.
3. Your flaws are part of what makes you, well, you!
I love Ann Lamott. She just has a way with words, and putting things into perspective.
Our flaws can make our creative life messy, but they contain some of the juiciest morsels for our stories. And stories are the reflection of who we are as writers. So, stop trying to be perfect and accept your flaws as mere extensions of who you are as a person, and as a writer.
One last quote from Ann Lamott to ponder on:
“Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor, the enemy of the people. It will keep you cramped and insane your whole life Besides, perfectionism will ruin your writing, blocking inventiveness and playfulness and life force (these are words we are allowed to use in California).”
*Note: Am participating in the #Write28Days (February) hosted by Anita Ojeda. Click here if you would like tp participate.
Up here in northeastern North Dakota, I am greeted with this outside the front door:
The actual temp is hovering at about -4 with the wind chill of -20 plus. At this stage, all I’m dreaming about is the beach scene above. I long to feel the warmth of the sun on my face, its heat simmering over the exposed skin. These are the days when I miss living in North Carolina where we were just a few short hours from the Outer Banks. My mother (who’s still living down there) had the nerve to tell me it was a mild 60 degrees there.
Yet, on the other hand, up here, away from the harsh and dangerous and not to mention, hectic lifestyle that went with living in an area with high population (Raleigh/Durham/Cary/Chapel Hill), life is simple, and the people friendlier. Up here in North Dakota is the kind of place where my son can play outside without fearing for his safety, where schools have little issues with gangs and drugs…
Nah, I think I rather endure the frigid and snowy winters.