I don’t give myself enough credit. I dwell on the failures rather than the successes. When my books didn’t sell I assumed it was poorly written, maybe it wasn’t that bad, maybe it was as simple as my inability to market via social media. Or maybe it was a lack of confidence in myself and my work. Without thinking it was any good, was I really going to sell it or myself?
When you’re shy and an introvert, it’s hard to bring attention to yourself anyway, and if you lack confidence, it’s even that much harder. Do you really want the attention and what if the book really sucks, can you in good consciousness sell it?
When I finished my book the first time around, I really believed in it. And when the second book was published I was far more confident in that one having learned something about writing and editing. But I received three bad reviews in a row. They were so bad that I couldn’t speak for a week. Every time I did, I’d burst into tears. The honest truth is I was set to quit. Throw it all away. If it wasn’t for two people who encouraged me to continue because they believed I had something there, I would have.
The reviews for She Wulf nearly destroyed me and what little confidence I had in myself was gone. I tried to put it aside and work on the third book, move the stories forward and hope that those who were fans, would continue to like the series. I started three different books and couldn’t focus on which would be the next in the series. I took time off, I rethought what it was that I wanted to do. And when it came down to it, I knew I wanted to write. I still believed in the characters and I didn’t know what else I would do with myself.
I made changes. I completely re-wrote The Day of First Sun. I can’t wait to share it because out of all the versions, this is most definitely the book that I want to release and that I’m proud of and confident in. I restructured the series and I’m still having trouble with the second book because I want it to be fun and exciting and what I had written, was that. But it will be.
After changing my social media, I was discussing with my team my frustration at the entire process. I told her some of my future projects and we talked. And she said to me, “You have a lot to say and you should say it.”
As I work on the final edition of The Day of First Sun, as I write the first draft of Black Market, I’m working on my voice. Finding it and sharing it. And in the process of sharing my experience, my ups and downs, my lack of confidence, I learned a few things about myself. I’m capable of great things and I have a great support system around me who believe in me. When they tell me, so I realize that I have something valuable to say and to share and if it inspires others or helps them through something, than it is all worth it.
I claim to be a shy introvert. I hate being center of attention, I have a hard time coming up with things to say. But I’m really good at observing and I have an understanding of what people are thinking and what they’re going to do. I’m not weird, I can’t be fixed, I am who I am. So how did I end up with a job in which I have to sell? It’s one of those things that just sort of fall into your lap and you have to either continue moving forward or melt into a puddle of nerves.
Handling groups of people, speaking in front of even the smallest group sometimes leaves me anxious. It depends on the importance of what I have to say, the relevance to the conversation that determines how uncomfortable I’m going to be. The reason for me is, I have an inability to think quickly enough to move a conversation forward. That makes me a much more effective writer, because I can take my time to craft my message, think it through and re-edit until my fingers read. I’m a much better writer. Go figure. Which leads me to prefer sending emails to making phone calls. So why in the world would I accept a position that requires me to sell, to talk to strangers on the phone and ask them to join our newest program?
Because I realized that if I were to move forward as a writer, I needed to interact with people I don’t know. To learn to be comfortable in situations that leave me anxious, you need to throw yourself at them rather than run from them. For me that is all about making phone calls. I’m the type of person who feels like I should always have a reason to contact someone by phone. And if there’s no reason, I make no call. And yes that means I very rarely call someone just to chat. Though if they call me just to talk, I’m open and a little chatty. Approach me fine, but don’t make me approach you. Yeah, it might be the whole fear of reject or maybe it’s just the fear of I don’t know what to say. But whatever the reason, placing myself in uncomfortable situations is my way of becoming stronger. Getting familiar with something rather than run from it should then increase the size of my comfort zone.
That’s why I took a job that seems so out of my ability and skill level. You can’t change your basic personality, but you can learn to work around the traits that hinder your success, you can adapt and quite possibly grow out of some of the more difficult ones to live with. I may never dump the shyness, I may always be terrified by the sheer act of calling strangers to sell a product, but maybe not. Maybe with practice, I’ll get comfortable and my zone will be wider. And maybe then I can sell myself and my books and live the dream I keep dreaming.
Sometimes I think I send my daughters mixed messages. As parents we desperately try to convince our children to accept themselves as they are, to be proud of their tiny quirks or the shapes their bodies. In theory I agree with that. I want my children to view themselves with respect and be proud of who they are and what they are able to accomplish. But I think that message is a little short-sighted in some ways. Of course I don’t want my daughters to feel they are fat and become anorexic, but I also don’t want them to settle. I don’t want them to accept grades they receive because they’re good enough. I don’t want good to limit them. What I mean is this, I want them to think beyond good and reach for something beyond their reach.
It’s about passion, finding that one thing that gives them purpose and not accepting failure or half a job as good enough. For me that were several three star and worst reviews. They made me think long and hard about trying to be a writer. Self doubt set in and I thought that maybe I wasn’t good enough. Maybe it was time to quit and simply enjoy my life and new job. I could learn to accept this revelation and start living my life again if I were willing to accept that as the end.
What I want for my daughters is this, the desire to want something, the discipline to obtain it and the knowledge to know when to adjust and even stop if it truly is something that can’t be obtained. I desire for my daughters to look at my struggles as I try to reach my dream and use it as inspiration to make it through their difficulties.
For my youngest, it’s the desire to play basketball as a starter. She isn’t and has obstacles in front of her that make it difficult to get there. For her I want her to keep practicing, to make the most of her limited playing time and to remember her goals. And for my oldest I want her to practice talking to others, to get out in the world and meet people and gain comfort in social situations so that she can live her life not in fear but in joy.
I can have them both accept their lives as they are and have them adjust to their personal circumstances or I can push them just a little to keep at their dreams. It doesn’t always happen the way we want it to and some times we have to accept that it won’t ever happen. That’s life, but if we accept the bad reviews as certainty and give in to them we most certainly won’t get farther or closer to our desires.
My biggest regret is that I put my dreams away and let life happen, rolling with the punches rather than fighting and pushing forward. Had I always remembered what that dream was and worked toward it everyday, even if I only wrote one paragraph a day, this goal might not be so frustratingly difficult to obtain.
Accepting ourselves is good and pushing ourselves beyond what we accept can even be better.
I’ve been blocked for days. I’m editing a book and writing a second. I had hoped to be done with the second book by now, the problem is, that book wasn’t going well. I scrapped it again because it’s just not coming out the way I wanted it to and now I’ve been unmotivated and even when I sit down to write, the words aren’t coming. I’m mentally exhausted. In the last year since releasing She Wulf, I’ve been on an up and down roller coaster of emotion and self-doubt. I haven’t been able to focus on which book should be the second in the series. Where do I go from here?
Just for fun I looked up writer’s block on You Tube. I didn’t watch the entire video, I simply have no patience for it, but what I did get from it is this, give yourself permission to write garbage. It’s the idea that the way to break through the block is to simply write. Books don’t get written if words aren’t put to paper.
Who hasn’t put too much pressure on themselves as they attempt to fulfill their dreams. I’m feeling that pressure. I’m overly critical and have developed a fear of losing my hold on my dream. To keep that hold, I work every day. I write something everyday, I work on Twitter, and Facebook at the expense of my children and my relationships and myself. I’ve lost my balance and now I’m blocked.
When we feel paralyzed by fear or uncertainty, the key to pulling ourselves out of our funk is to create junk, jump into a problem with both feet without analyzing it or over thinking it. Just do it. I think I’ve heard that somewhere before. The most important plan is to just write it, just do it, stop thinking about it. Stop letting the block become the obstacle that derails you.
I experienced that recently in my day job. Taking a job that involves me calling people on the phone and selling sponsorships. Who was I thinking I was when I said yes to that? I couldn’t change what I did, I wasn’t able to control the nature of my job and I forced myself to stop thinking about the fear. I realized that working outside of my comfort zone would benefit me regardless of what I was doing in my life. So after twirling in my chair, I made my phone calls. It wasn’t perfect, I wasn’t perfect but I did it.
By not dwelling on the past and swimming in the despair opened me up to new opportunities. Whether it be a job or an unexpected story line, controlling the fear gives you a new approach to the problem. So if you write something awful, that shouldn’t be seen by anyone else, that’s okay. That’s what the edit is for. At least the story is moving forward and you gain word count. Say to hell with the writer’s block. You’re better than that.
The voice I carry is quiet and I struggle so hard to be heard.
My dreams are so big, but I’m tired from the chase.
I live with a broken heart because when she died, a piece of me died.
I work hard for what seems like only mediocrity.
As I run in place, I look around and see I’ve come no farther than where I started.
This nightmare that I can’t wake up from, is this daily battle I wage with myself.
There’s no peace in the dark because that’s when thoughts fill my head.
Self doubt paralyzes me with fear and as time speeds up uncontrollably, I feel that dream escape my grasp.
I live my life outside my zone of comfort, never settling in because there’s something else I wish to have and if I accept and settle I may never reach it.
I know I can leave the chaos, make the whirling tide of emotions subside, if I simply say I quit and go shopping instead. Because I really need another sweater.
But then, what would I be? I would be…
See, chasing something is a journey worth taking.
And I choose to spill no more tears. Because that isn’t me anymore.
This is me. A tiny spark that can’t be extinguished.
Eventually I’ll believe it. That this is me.
But there never seems to be enough time
To do the things you want to do
Once you find them – Jim Croce
When I was younger I didn’t think about time. There was just waking up and playing or waking up and doing, but I never really thought about the future except to know two things; I wanted to travel and I wanted to write.
When you’re young time is infinite, tomorrow will always come, there’s always time. And one day when you wake up you realize that time has gone, slipped through my fingers and I can’t get it back and for me it leads to panic. I’m feeling the pressure now to accomplish something, to honor the dreams of my seven-year old self, the one when I decided that I wanted to write for a living.
There’s only two things I regret in my life, one of them is that I didn’t use all of that time before having children to practice writing. To learn how to construct a story and how to edit. I wrote one children’s story in all that time and maybe started a chapter or two but nothing much came from any of it.
I find myself entering my 46th year and I wonder what I used to do when I had the freedom to do whatever I wanted, with no real responsibilities, except work. What did I do when I could travel any time of the year, what did I do when I could sleep in, read a book or write a novel. Did I take advantage of time as it was laid out in front of me?
I’m having a mid-life crisis. Not in that joking haha kinda way. Because the older I get the faster time moves as if sand is running through an hourglass. I panic and I get scared that I’ve wasted that time and I won’t accomplish what I want. I wonder if I’m gonna drop just before the finish line.
It’s so much pressure on myself maybe unrealistically to achieve something more than just the norm. Maybe I can successfully race against time and win. Or maybe I’ll relearn how to love the writing so the journey becomes the thing.
I had this brilliant idea for a book and I wrote the first draft. But then my book She Wulf came knocking on my door. Instead of finished what was then known as Heavenly Gifts, I put it aside to write this new story. After restructuring my book series this year, and re-writing The Day of First Sun, I decided the new second book in the series would be the original story I had intended on writing and I decided it was time.
I started from scratch, re-writing this brilliant idea, examining what happens when good intentions go horribly wrong, when everything must be in moderation or else. I still love the idea, but the book, again, doesn’t want to be written. It keeps fighting back. And as much as I keep pushing forward, it insists on telling me, it’s just not right.
First the story started out like a fish and grew eight legs to eventually become an octopus. I scaled way back, took one direction and moved forward. The problem for me now is that the book is a boring procedural mess of a book that I can’t even keep enthusiastic about. Mind you I still love the idea behind the book, but the book once again has denied me. It’s just not right.
So again, I put the book away, still not finished. I still don’t have a viable ending. All I have is a great premise and a head full of ideas. I have my characters lives in my head and I’m anxious to get them out of there. So I took from the book some scenes that go together and I’m using them to write a completely different book. They are now my new outline. All I need to do is fill it in.
I’m still shooting for a second book when I release the new version of The Day of First Sun. It’s pushing it but it’s coming. So here’s to the third time being the charm. I may finally find that second book.
We all have them. The place we feel the most comfortable. We’re familiar with our environment, our friends and family. Even with all the problems they might possess, it’s the devil we know and regardless of what’s happening, we can maneuver and get through it. It’s when we’re faced head on with something new, well not even new rather an experience, a place, a person so unfamiliar that we clam up, hide in a ball or under a blanket and refuse to come out because doing that thing, meeting that person or going to that place is so overwhelming all we can do is shut down.
I have a feel experiences like that where I rearrange my schedule or find something else to do to avoid it, or pass on jobs that could potential be wonderful, all because the fear of the unknown is holding me back. I did it with a career in interior design, sometimes I do it if I’m driving to Chicago and once I lied and said I’m no longer interested in that job.
It’s not taking advantage of all that life has to offer, not experiencing things that fall into your lap because you lack self-confidence. It’s being an introvert and knowing your limitations and not trying something so radical because you can’t see yourself doing that.
I took my job because it was sorta handed to me. I mean, I had to interview and I had a great interview. But I also had a really good temporary job experience that gave me confidence and I realized through that, that I can do pretty much whatever is put in front of me. I’m a pretty good employee and in the case of the temp job, I went above and beyond because I knew I needed a good recommendation when it was time to move on.
And being that it was I interviewed for a job in a field and a company type like no other I had worked for. (I’ve spent a lot of time in tech companies and in large banks). I’ve handled whatever was thrown my way and I’ve been successful. Though they were all merely a way to make money while I worked on what I really wanted to do, I always would do my best.
Knowing the temp job was ending, I interviewed for a job in the cosmetic industry at a trade association for small cosmetic manufacturers. I like makeup, clothes and shoes it seemed like a great opportunity. But as I learned about the job, part of my brain said, run, while the other part said, you need to learn to do more than write. Talking on the phone and meeting people, you could use that experience.
When I interviewed I made it known that selling, it’s not my strongest ability, it’s really not one at all. I also let my boss know that I’m confident that I can do whatever is thrown my way. I had a temp job to prove that. But in a way, I feel as though I’m a liar and a fraud, because, talking on the phone isn’t my strongest ability. I do it awkwardly because as a writer, what I can do, is craft a sentence. I can string two or more together to complete a thought. I can edit and I let what I say stew and churn in my brain until I say what I really want to. I’m a much better writer than I am a talker out loud.
I’ve been surveying members of this organization because part of my job is to update the database. It’s fairly straight forward but it’s tough because there are a lot of questions to go through. It’s stilted and awkward as I try to ask all of the questions. Now why didn’t I email these members first you ask? I did. These are the one’s who haven’t responded. And though I’ve made contact with a few, it’s hard to get in touch with people and many simply don’t call back.
It’s stressful for me to pick up the phone and ask company specific questions. I stall, I finish up other work, I check my email for the second, third and fourth time. I wring my hands until I finally make the call. In the end it feels foolish that the phone causes me so much stress. It’s really not as bad as I think it is when I finally check one off the list. I move on because the second part of my job is even more tricky. I get to call members and try to convince them to buy sponsorships with our company. But that’s for another day.
My point is I’m out of my comfort zone. A carefully crafted zone that I know, whether it’s good or bad, at least I know what to expect. Sometimes I wonder why I chose to say yes to a job whose skills I am simply uncomfortable doing and other times, I push the anxiety way down deep and realize at some point in time I have to act like a grown up, handle my discomfort and move on to something more. I mean after all, maybe I will get lucky and my book will sell and as a result I’ll be asked to do several interviews.
It’s all about communicating and finding the place best suited for you and sometimes it’s about letting go and finding your way to something better.