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It can be easy as a writer, especially an unpublished writer, to get down, get discouraged, and generally Eeyore like.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. ๐Ÿ™‚

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! ๐Ÿ˜‰

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. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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. ๐Ÿ™‚

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. ๐Ÿ™‚

Are You A Control Freak? How to move past the Illusion of Control

I am a control freak. It’s why I don’t like getting drunk, I follow the rules, and I expect others to as well. It’s why I love order and discipline in the world, even while I’d rather sometimes that it was my rules everyone followed. And it is why I have my very own “bwahahahaha” evil villain laugh on the off-chance I become supreme ruler of the world: I’m prepared.

But, I am also a writer and someone who loves the sometimes random, unexpected places creativity can take us. It’s why I love dying silk and hand-painting wool, because despite what our desires may have been, we sometimes get something else entirely, and it is still beautiful, perhaps more so because it is unexpected, unplanned. It’s this same creativity and freedom that I love in my writing (sometimes), when the characters and the plot take you somewhere you hadn’t planned on, but it’s so much better.

That, of course, is the catch: how much do you get to control, and how much should you even try?

The simple answer is that control is a complete illusion. I can control nothing but myself and my own reactions, and sometimes even those seem to have a life of my own. To attempt to control anyone else –ย  their reactions, their emotions, their actions – this is an illusion that’s going to make us all miserable.

How does this apply to our art? Well, sometimes when we create something, we get caught up in the idea of wanting to convey something so precisely, so perfectly – like the scent of a flower, or the feel of a place – that we want to hammer that exact reaction and emotion we have into our readers or outside viewers. This, of course, is an impossibility, and the sooner we let it go, the better.

Yet again, this comes back to our creation of reality. What I see as a peach rose touched with the blush of pink on the tips of the petals may to someone else appear more orange, or more pink, or perhaps they don’t see the beauty of roses at all because it reminds them of an aunt who they always despised. The laugh we hear in our heads, the way some things constrict our chest with fear, these are out of our own experiences, our own memories, our own selves: no one else will ever, nor can ever, experience or see them quite the same.

So where does that leave a control freak like me, and perhaps you?

Recognize the limits of your control, and let the rest go (yes, even if it’s really, really hard). Describe how it felt to you, how it sounds to you, and be as specific and clear as you can be without going overboard, and let it be, knowing that everyone else will understand it, hear it, feel it in their own way. Give them the freedom to do so, rather than trying to force anything onto them: after all, would you want to be controlled by someone else, be subjected to the discomfort of confinement? Of course not.

Practice your “bwahahahaha’s,” control the exact degree of temperature in your house, and the way the tablecloth lays on the tablecloth, but as to controlling people, just let it go. Everyone has a unique and precious perspective, and even a control freak wouldn’t want to squash that, would they?

So, are you a control freak? What areas of your life must you exact control, and in which do you value freedom and randomness? Do comment below.

Thanks for reading, and have a great week.

Is Resistance to Change Standing in Your Way?

I’ve been thinking about the idea that we are all responsible for our own experience and creation of reality again. (For a previous blog outlining the principles, please see: It’s All in the Perspective.) It led me to start considering how, for the most part, we all fear change to lesser or greater degrees. And the fact is, change is hard. It’s much easier to stick with something you’re familiar with, to what you know is tried and true, to follow the same path you’ve already broken that’s so familiar you could keep walking with your eyes closed.

The catch is, resisting change for too long creates stagnation. The same way the water in a bucket sitting on the deck all summer will eventually get green and slimy, so too do our minds and lives when we continue to resist change – especially when it means saying goodbye to opportunity.

I’ve always thought it was a silly idea that anyone could be afraid of success, until you realize that promotion can actually be very bad for your health in terms of the stress it creates in your life (here’s a link from the Daily Mail UK: “Promotion at work can increase stress and be bad for your health” – or try searching “job promotion” and “stress” for lots of others). Because while promotion is generally seen as a great thing (probably more money, high status position, progress in your career, etc), it also means leaping off of the path you’ve known and been familiar with for so long, out of your current position, and venturing somewhere you haven’t been before. You may wonder if you actually deserve the promotion, if you really wanted it, if you can handle it, if it’s worth it, etc, etc.

Here’s where creating your own reality becomes really important: It’s up to YOU to decide if promotion or any change is a good or bad thing.

Sounds simple, huh, when you’re not sweating over imminent potential change and all it’s ramifications? If you haven’t considered it before – or if you’d much rather brood and stay gloomy and Eeyore like – than it will be exceptionally hard. However, if you look at it and realize that what you have before you is an opportunity, than things start to look brighter.

I will use – particularly as it’s foremost in my mind right now – my husband’s situation. He’s received what is essentially a promotion, but it means he’ll be leaving a job he does very well and has done for 9+ years for something similar in the same company, but which not only has he never done, but which is a new expansion for the company. The company vehicle will be gone, and he faces having to go in to negotiate for some time of pay adjustment, including what the equivalency will be for a new vehicle. The stress of starting this new position, having to buy an new car, leaving what he’s familiar with, he’s about ready to toss the whole thing.

But, it’s all in the perspective.

Instead, he has the opportunity to do something new – which is what he’s been looking for, so he will no longer be bored in his current position. He gets to buy a new car. There’s a good chance of more money. He’s helping to create a new position, which means he doesn’t have to fill anyone else’s shoes. This is a stepping stone for further advancement, and an opportunity for the company to see how he works and the quality of his work up close, since he’s usually in the field.

All right. Long story short, my point is this: change is hard – I’ll be the first to admit I’m usually quite resistant to it, and massive change takes time to adjust to – it’s taken me over a year to finally be used to the idea that I’m a mom. BUT, as humans we need change in our lives, and change is the only way we’ll ever be able to keep moving forward to reach our dreams.

So remember: it’s all in the perspective. Change can be a fantastic opportunity and a stepping stone to further success, so long as you recognize it as such. Look for the positive side, and try not to get bogged down in the fear and uncertainty that is, quite frankly, easier. Every change is an opportunity to grow, to change, and to make sure you don’t go stagnant with slime growing over you. ๐Ÿ™‚

Have a great week, and thanks for reading.