The Journey to Publication, Writing

DIY Tiara, or Just a Confidence Boost?

It can be easy as a writer, especially an unpublished writer, to get down, get discouraged, and generally Eeyore like. Yesterday, I wondered if wearing a tiara while preparing breakfast and getting things packed for the day, improved my outlook. I was dressed as a princess (for preschool story time, I swear!), but did I feel all that entitled or more pleased?

Then later on, I realized what it was I really needed. I needed to feel like I wasn’t completely inept and clueless. 🙂

So here’s the deal: we spend a lot of time alone, with our writing, typing away at a keyboard. And when we send out work out into the world (as we must if we want anyone else to ever see it), it’s inevitable we’re going to get rejections. Some will hurt a lot, others will be relatively kind. And yes, we know that not everyone will like our work, that the business is subjective. We have to. Still, there’s something dauntingly depressing as all those rejections start to add up. We can start to mistake the fact that our work just isn’t ready, or that it wasn’t the right match for that particular publisher / agent / reader with the notion that either we or our writing are hopeless, worthless, or crap.

Sometimes, all we need is just a little affirmation that we’re not clueless, and that maybe, as we crawl blindly along a path we understand but can’t see, we ARE traveling the right path, we are doing the right things, making the right decisions. And when the path seems especially dark or hopeless, we need to find small affirmations for ourselves that suddenly seem to light everything up.

For me, it was realizing not only do I know what a career trajectory is, I actually have one! 😉

Sometimes, it’s an encouraging note added by an agent or an editor. Or the words of your critique partners or beta readers who see something worthy in your writing, especially on the days you can’t. It can be the lightening rod when you figure out that story you love and see it all plotted and laid out in your mind. And sometimes, it’s just going out and having a bit of fun, because seriously, without fun, life kind of sucks. 😉

Take heart, move forward, and if you need to, wear that plastic tiara proudly if that’s what makes you feel better. Because you will get to where you want to go, you will achieve your goals if you keep pushing, keep improving, and never, EVER give up. 🙂

Your turn: what helps pulls you back from the darkness and gives you that boost and cheer?

Thanks for reading, and have a great week. And Happy Halloween out there, whether you wear tiaras, fangs, or anything in between. 🙂

The Paranormal

Do you Believe? Normal vs Paranormal

Do you believe in magic and the paranormal?

Do you believe the ghost stories you’ve heard are true? Do you search for fairies? What about monsters? Do you believe in witches and sorcerers? Do you believe in powers like telepathy, prophecy, and others? Do you believe there is some other explanation for some events that science can never approach? Do you believe a kernel of truth lies at the heart of myth and legend?

Well, do you?

It’s a funny thing that when I’ve met “true believers,” they’re often labelled as flakes, a bit naive at best for not simply accepting the mundane, secular world we live in dominated by science and technology. Children are allowed to exercise their imagination and believe in all that the world has to offer, all it could offer. But when we enter adulthood we are expected to set aside these beliefs and naivety and understand that is it science, logic, and the mundane that provide our answers. Then you have those who throw themselves towards the other end, the self-proclaimed skeptics who don’t believe in anything, and will be sure to tell you so (doth the lady protest too much?).

I would like to believe, but I’m not sure if I do or not. While I have faith in other beliefs, I do not believe fairies inhabit my garden (if they did, I’d hope my gardens looked a heck of a lot better, and would a bit of weeding kill them?).

Surely where there is smoke there is at least a bit of kindling. How else do we have strangely similar legends of creatures like vampires and werewolves across great distances, on almost every continent, in every language? They have different names, but the similarities are there. Can coincidence correctly explain all of these myths? What truths lie beneath?

Do I believe that every ghost story I’ve ever heard is true? That every myth I read is based on complete and utter certainty, cold-hard fact? Certainly not – but then, I have a hearty skepticism whenever anyone purports to know the one and only “truth.”

And yet …

Shortly after my paternal grandmother passed away, and our family was gathered at her home for the funeral, there were a few rather odd things that happened. Each and every one of us grand-children won a stuffed animal at one of those claw-game things. Then there was the brick found in the washing machine (though seriously, I have no idea how that would be connected; it was just weird).

And then there are the places I have traveled, where the hairs on the back of my neck have whispered that I was not alone. There are rooms in houses I did not want to be alone in, and could never explain why. I have felt the weight of an animal against my feet while I sleep, but I look to find no animal there. I have heard footsteps on a basement floor in the concrete hallway outside my bedroom door. And the half-dim of an almost burned out light bulb always makes me shudder – it’s the lighting of my nightmares, when I finally open the door to investigate those footsteps.

Do I believe? Perhaps. Or perhaps I merely want to, and at times need to. Is it only the yearning for something more, something outside what we can see and define with our limited means?

What about you? Do you believe in magic and the paranormal? Are you a believer? Or, are you a skeptic?

Thanks for reading, and hope you have a magical week. 😉 Oh, and if you liked the post, why not sign up to follow the blog? Have a good one.

The Journey to Publication

Crisis and Catharsis: Or, Just Keep Writing, You’re On Your Way

It’s been a heck of a wonky-week. I’ve been reading new craft books, and testing out a new potential CP. CP looks terrific, but both the books and the CP delievered the news (unintentionally, both of them) that what I was taking for subtly is just lack of clarity. Oh, and the plotting isn’t working either because apparently I’ve been doing it all wrong (that I figured out myself after the craft book).

In the end, what this means is that I’ll be able to improve my writing on both a micro and macro level. What it means right now is that I feel pretty down on myself. I mean, really, how didn’t I see this before? What was I thinking? How could I have been so stupid? I must be the worst writer, ever.

Those questions, though, are useless. As they are whenever the evil-voice inside our heads starts beating us up. Because this is just a test, just another step on our journey. And the kind of things we say to ourselves – we would never say such terrible things to another loving being, so why the heck do we put up with saying them to ourselves?

Since it was the crisis portion of plotting I finally realized I was mishandling, it also occurred to me that it was what I was facing in my writing-life, too. But the crisis isn’t the end of everything; just the end of one thing. A mini-apocalypse, if you will, out of which you emerge stronger and changed, headed towards the climax. Because my life (and yours) is not a novel, it means there will be more than one crisis that we’ll face throughout our lives. It will hit us, whack us down like a two-by-four to the face, and it’s our job to shake it off, stand up, and keep on going. Because there’s something better ahead. Because the crisis is just one signpost on a much longer road. The view is blurry ahead, but if we keep putting one foot in front of the other, we’ll get there.

And don’t worry – the bruises will heal.

Take care, happy writing, and hopefully you duck before the two-by-four gets you. Thanks for reading.