September 2, 2015

IWSG - on perfectionism and making mistakes

today, i'm letting other people encourage you. first, a quote from Anne Lamott, part of a facebook post she wrote on May 12th. 

Here’s how to break through the perfectionism: make a LOT of mistakes. Fall on your butt more often. Waste more paper, printing out your sh--- first drafts, and maybe send a check to the Sierra Club. Celebrate messes — these are where the goods are. Put something on the calendar that you know you’ll be terrible at, like dance lessons, or a meditation retreat, or boot camp. Find a writing partner, who will help you with your work, by reading it for you, and telling you the truth about it, with respect, to help you make it better and better; for whom you will do the same thing. Find someone who wants to steal his or her life back, too. Now; today. One wild and crazy thing: wears shorts out in public if it is hot, even if your legs are milky white or heavy. Go to a poetry slam. Go to open mike, and read the story you wrote about the hilariously god-awful family reunion, with a trusted friend, even though it could be better, and would hurt Uncle Ed’s feelings if he read it, which he isn’t going to.

Change his name and hair color — he won’t even recognize himself.

At work, you begin to fulfill your artistic destiny. Wow! A reviewer may hate your style, or newspapers may neglect you, or 500 people may tell you that you are bitter, delusional and boring.

Let me ask you this: in the big juicy Zorba scheme of things, who **** cares?

and here's what a few other people had to say...  

The greatest mistake you can make in life is to be continually fearing you will make one. ~Elbert Hubbard, The Note Book, 1927

Never say, "oops."  Always say, "Ah, interesting."  ~Author Unknown

An expert is a man who has made all the mistakes which can be made in a very narrow field. ~Niels Bohr

The man who makes no mistakes does not usually make anything. ~Edward Phelps 

You will do foolish things, but do them with enthusiasm. ~Colette

As long as the world is turning and spinning, we're gonna be dizzy and we're gonna make mistakes. ~Mel Brooks

Results! Why, man, I have gotten a lot of results. I know several thousand things that won't work. ~Thomas A. Edison

for more Insecure Writers Support Group posts, use the link on my sidebar. now go out and make some mistakes!

August 5, 2015

IWSG - Shine...

when you're insecure in your writing, remember this quote from Marianne Williamson:

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be?

You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn't serve the world. There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."

for other posts on writing when you feel insecure, click on the link on my sidebar for the Insecure Writers' Support Group.

July 1, 2015

IWSG - overcoming our fears

today, i'm sharing what others have to say about overcoming our fears about writing...

“You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face…You must do the thing you cannot do.”~ Eleanor Roosevelt ~ (not exactly a writing quote, but appropriate just the same.)

“You are a writer. Right now. With only what you have in your head as it is. You don’t need anything else. You are a writer. You just need to keep writing. Don’t let the Writing Fairy tell you that you aren’t. That you need something more, that you’re pretending to be something you’re not. Hemmingway wasn’t Hemmingway when he started. He was just a guy named Ernest who sat down at his typewriter.” ~ Joseph Devon

“Risk being unliked. Tell the truth as you understand it. If you’re a writer, you have a moral obligation to do this. And it is a revolutionary act–truth is always subversive.” ~ Anne Lamott,Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life

“Successful writers are not the ones who write the best sentences. They are the ones who keep writing. They are the ones who discover what is most important and strangest and most pleasurable in themselves, and keep believing in the value of their work, despite the difficulties.” ~ Bonnie Friedman

“Anyone can become a writer. The trick is staying a writer.” ~ Harlan Ellison

“If you hear a voice within you saying, ‘You are not a painter,’ then by all means paint . . . and that voice will be silenced.” ~ Vincent Van Gogh

“To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong.” ~ Claude M. Bristol

“Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes it is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, ‘I will try again tomorrow.’“ ~ Mary Anne Rademacher-Hershey

“I will go so far as to say that the writer who is not scared is happily unaware of the remote and tantalizing majesty of the medium.” ~ John Steinbeck
“You fail only if you stop writing.” ~ Ray Bradbury

“You must once and for all give up being worried about successes and failures. Don’t let that concern you. It’s your duty to go on working, steadily day by day, quite steadily, to be prepared for mistakes, which are inevitable, and for failures.” ~ Anton Chekhov

“Every day you are afraid. Every day you move through fear to your desk, and as soon as you pick up your pen, or read the sentence left over from the night before, incomplete, needing an adjustment in rhythm—a stronger verb, a slash of color or the taste of bitter herbs—in that moment of solving the problems all fear dissolves. You are writing again.” ~ Sophy Burnham

“You’re not afraid of writing. You’re afraid of failing. We all fail. The courage is in the trying.” ~ From the movie Shadows in the Sun ~
to read what other encouraging posts about our insecurities, go to the Insecure Writers' Support Group blog. 

June 2, 2015

IWSG - on scrapbooking vs writing

reaching back into the annals of my blog, i found this post from 2009, where i ranted about working on my sequel (which, i hate to admit, means i've been working on my sequel for 6 years --- yes that's right, i said SIX years. either i'm very committed to this story or i'm a little nuts. take your pick.)

ahem... back to what i was saying about this post.... i used to be an avid scrapbooker, which goes back to 1996, back when scrapbooking was just starting. and then i found writing in 2005, and became an avid writer and gave up the scrapbooking. (i'm thinking about going back to it soon, but need a craft area and that's whole different rant.)

so, without further ado, or additional chasing of rabbit trails, my post from September of 2009, entitled, "(insert appropriate title here)"

i think i'll go back to doing scrapbook pages.

i can only speak for myself when i say that...

scrapbook pages (sbp's) do not require multiple drafts to get them "just right."

sbp's are always self-published and no one cares. (side note - this was back when self-publishing was a last resort - a lot has changed in 6 years.)

sbp's do not make you want to tear your hair out.

sbp's can be finished in an hour or less.

sbp's do not wake you up in the middle of the night, demanding to have you create one.

sbp's do not argue with you about how they want to be created or where to place a picture.

sbp's do not need timelines or calendars to help you remember where to place something because a quick sketch will do.

sbp's do not require hours of searching for that one piece of information that will make the page perfect or add page depth or realism.

sbp's do not care which point of view you use to get the idea across.

sbp's can be placed wherever you choose to place them and can be rearranged with very little problem.

sbp's do not require the help of a scrapbook critique partner or group.

sbp's can be done in a group setting while you converse with other scrapbookers.

sbp's do not require absolute quiet to complete.

sbp's do not require isbn's, out-sourced cover art, a three-year commitment to, a barcode, multiple proofreaders, special formatting, or the purchase of proof copies.

you will never dream about kissing one of the pictures or embellishments from your scrapbook page.

no one cares about spelling or grammar on a scrapbook page.

people who have never scrapbooked will love your pages and will never tell you how they thought it could have been better if only you had done xyz.

if someone happens to not like your sbp, you won't go into a deep depression over it.

a scrapbooker has no problem calling herself a scrapbooker or paper artist, despite never having a layout published in a scrapbook magazine.

most of the time, scrapbookers are not under a tight deadline.

there are no scrapbook agents or editors out there telling a scrapbooker what to do, or asking how many other scrapbooks there are in the series, or what the scrapbooker is going to do to promote her scrapbook, or if the scrapbooker already has a fan base.

on the other hand...

sbp's do require all kinds of materials that may or may not get used, and you have to transport a lot of equipment if you want to scrapbook with other people, and i am the kind of scrapbooker who agonized over getting a page just right.

so maybe i'll keep writing.

or maybe i'll just surf the web.

pardon my ranting, but i think i have a book to go back to.

(for more IWSG posts, click the picture on my sidebar.)

March 3, 2015

Insecure Writers' Support Group - February Grace and Upon a Time OR where to find inspiration for writing

According to Jack London: “You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.”
While I agree that finding inspiration feels like a fight a lot of the time, we can also find it in places that are staring us right in the face. For this blog post, I’m referring to fairy tales. They’ve become so familiar to us that we may overlook them as sources of inspiration.

Take, for example, the story of Cinderella. Out of curiosity, I wanted to know how many versions of the story have been written. Wikipedia listed too many to count. The one we’ve come to recognize as the classic tale with a pumpkin and fairy godmother came from Charles Perrault in 1697 under the name of Cendrillon.

The amazing thing about writers and our creativity is that if you gave 50 authors the Cinderella story, or any other fairy tale, and asked them to write their version of it, you could end up with a hundred different stories (at least if some of them were like me and had more than one way to make it different).

When my blogging friend February Grace used it for inspiration, she came up with a version I had never imagined myself but now treasure as one of my favorites. To summarize the plot:

A blacksmith’s apprentice who would be a knight. The heir to the throne, at death’s door. One woman who would save them both, if she could… 

Charlotte was number sixty-four in the second group of young, hopeful maidens intended to meet the Prince at a grand ball in his honor. 

That introduction was not to be. 

She returned home to her tiny village—and her visions of a future limited by it—without any warning of the drastic turn her life was about to take. 

Soon she would be fighting against the odds to help keep a gravely wounded stranger alive; and waging war with her own heart, as he stirred feelings in her she’d never known. 

When the stranger’s royal identity is revealed, Charlotte is faced with an entirely different battle: one to keep her family, village, and the injured Prince in her care all safe from a madman set on taking the throne by any means necessary.

When I asked February what had inspired her to write this particular version, she said, “I have always wondered in the back of my mind what happened to the girls who weren't picked at the ball. So that turned into the idea of Charlotte, which turned into UPON A TIME but somewhere in it all it became so much more than her story. It became that of Thomas (the blacksmith’s apprentice), and the Prince, and the trials and physical challenges they would have to overcome.

“The characters became dear to me (as someone who faces physical challenges every day myself) and I can only hope it makes those out there facing all kinds of physical struggles to feel understood, inspired, and less alone.”

To read a brief exerpt, go here.  To see where you can find this beautiful story in e-format and paperback, read my last post. To find inspiration, maybe you can look for it in stories you already know. If you need more encouragement, check out the other posts for The Insecure Writers’ Support Group (posts available March 4th).

March 2, 2015

Blog Blitz - Official Release Day for "Upon a Time"

Upon a Time is a beautifully written re-telling of the fairy tale Cinderella. February takes the familiar story and turns it on its ear with imperfect characters, intrigue, and unexpected twists in the plot.

after reading the Wattpad edition, Bru's version has now become one of my favorites (along with the movie "Ever After," and way before that, the 1965 Rodgers and Hammerstein version with Lesley Ann Warren that i watched every time it was on the tv.)

here's where you can purchase Upon a Time in paperback at Amazon or Barnes and Noble Online, or in e-versions at the Amazon Kindle Store  and the Nook store.

on March 3rd, i'll be putting up the answer to a question i asked February about the book. stay tuned.

January 14, 2015

IWSG - (finally)... on getting stuck

this is a picture of my driveway, taken sometime in the winter of 2011. such a pretty picture. you'd never think that just around the bend to the left would be a place that scared me for a couple of winters.

we don't get a lot of snow at a time here in Butte, MT--maybe 2 - 3 inches on a good day. but some days it can be up to 6 or 8. and there are places in my driveway where we get drifting, so the snow can be 12 inches deep in some spots. and that spot around the corner is one of those.

add to that that we haven't had a snow plow up until just a few days ago and you can see where this is going.

granted, i have an SUV with 4-wheel drive, but that doesn't help when you don't know how to drive in snow because you spent most of your life in Phoenix, AZ.

so even though my husband kept telling me that i had to get up to at least 25 mph to get up my driveway, and not worry about the back end of my car sliding, i never listened to his words of wisdom, despite the fact that he could always get up the driveway.

i always approached the ascent up that particular spot with caution. slow caution. anything to avoid the sliding around. and i got stuck in that spot at least 4 times, maybe more. and since i'm not good at backing down a curved driveway without going into the ditch, and i'm not keen on digging myself out, the car would stay there until my husband got home and then he had the frigid task of getting it up the drive.

last year in March, after we had a really big snow, i decided i'd had enough of getting stuck. i wanted to learn how to get my car up my driveway every single time. i asked my husband for a driving lesson. so, with my husband in the passenger seat and me in the driver seat, i went up and down that driveway, as fast as i could make myself go, at least a dozen times without stopping.

i had the scary adrenaline rush every time (which i don't like). there was slipping. there was sliding. my husband kept saying, "embrace the slide," (which i don't like either.). but i got over my fear of the driveway.

i still have to take a few deep breaths before i floor it to get up the hill. i still get the niggling fear in the back of my mind when i get to that spot that says i'm not going to make it. i still get the adrenaline rush when the back end starts to slide a little, and it lasts all the way into the garage (i even get that rush when my boys make the drive).

but now i can laugh about it. now i can be confident that, barring a really bad snow dump, i can always get up the driveway, whether the snow is deep or the ground is icy.

a few weeks ago, i finally saw the link between my driveway experience and my writing.

time to go gun the engine.