face the fear & write what scares you

More often than not, we find ourselves facing something that scares us. And I don’t mean something that’s “spooky” or “gives us the chills”– I mean scares us.

Passing-out-poop-in-our-pants-regurgitate-kind-of-fear.

It can be so different for everyone, but I think there’s something to be said about that fear in writers. Writers can stop writing something because they fear what others might think, or fear the rejection, or fear the work that must go into the project. With some writers, this just gives them the spooks. But with many, it scares them.

Run-from-the-movie-theatre-fear.

I am not a person who likes to be scared. I consider myself of average courage. There are times when I imagine my Mama-Bear instincts can kick in, and if you’re on the other side of that you better watch out. But over all, I am not one of the fiercest of my kind.

However, I am fierce where it counts the most to me: I’m protective of and fight for those I love, I stand for the beliefs that are nearest and dearest to my heart, and I fight for the dreams that matter the most to me.

This is my definition of brave. This is my brave.

I know my limits, and I’ve come to realize that I don’t have to push certain limits. I don’t have to try to sit through a scary movie to prove myself. I know that if I do, I will have endless nightmares and become paranoid for who knows how long. I don’t have to do that.

I don’t have to ride a roller coaster to prove to someone that I’ve done it before and, nope, I still don’t like them. I don’t understand the point. I don’t need that sort of “rush.” I don’t have to do that.

I don’t have to stick it out with toxic relationships. I don’t have to worry about people who have brought me down time and time again because they don’t care about me, truly. I don’t have to do that.

Whether those are limits, boundaries, or both– those are only three examples.

But the fear I referred to earlier– the fear of writing something extraordinary only to see it critiqued as awful, or to “fail” with it somehow– that’s a fear I have to chase. If I didn’t, I would never have become a writer.

My first book took me almost ten years to write. And that’s the first novel I TRULY finished. Then when I sat down to work on it again, it changed completely. All those years of work basically went down the drain.

I. Was. Terrified.

The last thing I wanted to do is fail.

In fact, I’m one of those people that is scared of failing. Sometimes I don’t do things because I don’t know how and don’t want to look stupid in front of others. Yep, I’m one of those. I’m not entirely proud of it, and I’m always working on it, but it’s who I’ve always been.

Writing this book, though… I couldn’t not face it. It had to be written. If I walked away from it then, after working on it for ten years, when I was even closer to making it its best– that WOULD have been failure.

I’m not trying to call you a failure at all, dear reader. What I’m trying to say, is there is always going to be a project, a manuscript, a contest, a step in the writing/querying/editing/publishing process that scares the living daylights out of you. The only way you’re going to succeed, though, is if you push through.

Maybe you’ll “fail” in the way you fear the most. Maybe your book won’t be a success. Maybe the agent will say no. Maybe the editor will cut that favorite chapter. Maybe the publisher will reject it.

But, as Claire says in Elizabethtown:

So you failed. Alright you really failed. You failed. You failed. You failed. You failed. You failed. You failed. You failed. You failed. You failed. You failed. You failed. You failed. You think I care about that? I do understand. You wanna be really great? Then have the courage to fail big and stick around. Make them wonder why you’re still smiling.

Writing is all about having courage. Courage to say what you really want to say. Courage to take the time to get those words out of your system. Courage to go through editing. Courage to let others read what you’ve written. Courage to self-publish. Courage to query. Courage to be published.

Courage. Be courageous and face your fear, whatever it is, and write through it.

Write what scares you.

And I don’t mean scares you like Stephen King (unless that’s your style, of course) or scares you like whatever scary movie made you cry like a baby (is that just me?)–I mean scares you because it could be something REALLY great. It could be your beautiful fiasco.

That FEAR could end up leading you to achieve your DREAM.

So go face it.

 

trackback thursday: the end of the revolutionary war

1024px-surrender_of_lord_cornwallis

Surrender of Lord Cornwallis by John Trumbull, 1820

On October 19, 1781, the British General Lord Cornwallis surrendered to General George Washington in Yorktown, Virginia.

The Siege of Yorktown, otherwise known as the Battle of Yorktown, was a decisive win for the continental troops, assisted by the French (commanded by Comte de Rochambeau). The beginnings of this win began as early as 1780, when the first French soldiers landed in Rhode Island. The French and American armies then united north of New York City during the summer of 1781.

I could go into all the battle history, but ultimately that would get super long and detailed and I might lose some of you (myself included).

So, let’s cut to the chase, shall we?

As The British band played The World Turned Upside Down (because they weren’t bitter or anything), they marched out in formation and surrounded to the Americans. How many were there? I’m glad you asked– more than 7,000 British and Hessian troops.

The war between Britain and its American colonies was ended. Now we no longer shout, “God save the queen!” since we pretty much can’t shout “God save” anything without someone else shouting, “OFF WITH HIS HEAD!”

See what I did there?

Anyway.

The final peace treaty was signed in Paris on September 3, 1783. Yep– about two years later. Talk about beating around the bush to give us our FREEDOM.

I’m sure they had their reasons.

‘Merica.

how to face BIG changes

big-changesFollow-Up to Having an Open Mind to BIG Changes

When going through my first true round of edits, I was not the ideal writer. The manuscript was very near and dear to my heart, and I did not want to face the fact that it required a lot of work to make it the best it could be. Thankfully, my editor (the wonderful Katelyn) stuck it out with me, along with my fabulous critique partner (read more here) and neither of them took any of my tantrums personally.

Now, after completing my first round of edits with my agent on a manuscript, and anxiously awaiting more for another project, I feel I have grown immensely.

It doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt when I have to cut a favorite scene. It doesn’t mean I agree with every suggestion or cut. It just means that I have learned to face the big changes with the end result in mind.

But oh how it took some learning.

You may recall I previously shared about having an open mind to big changes, in fact that post started out quite a bit like this one. Even if you have an open mind, though, how do you go about doing the big changes?  After all, they aren’t easy. You might be cutting out some love between two characters to make opening the door to a later romance easier. You might be combining characters into one because all the characters start getting confusing to your readers.

Or you might have to change the story of your book entirely because of plot holes or a more exciting direction edits took you.

Whatever the case, having an open mind doesn’t make it easy. Easier, maybe. But not easy.

READ IT

The easiest way to start your changes is to reread your manuscript with those changes/edits at hand.  Make notes where you know you’ll need to change things, but it read it through FIRST, especially if it’s been a while since you’ve done so. If you read your words with new changes in mind, it will (hopefully) open your mind to them more and spark some inspiration. It will also (hopefully) make the changes easier.

WRITE IT OUT

Now write it out…. Whether you want to actually write it or walk it out, you need to sit down and come up with a sort of new timeline of events thanks to the new change.

You might need to rearrange some chapters, or find every part those characters are in so you can cut or combine them, or cut some of the love tension and make it a completely different feel. Whatever the case, make notes while you’re reading and then get down to business. Don’t do the two unilaterally. Read, then write. Even if this is a challenge for you, it’s going to make it better/easier in the end.

TAKE YOUR TIME

(Unless you’re on a tight deadline)

You don’t want to rush big changes. They are, after all, BIG. You want to take your time and find all the places where you need to fix your manuscript so the changes work. If you’re not scrapping your project and rewriting the whole thing, you’re bound to miss a beat if you rush.

DO NOT RUSH.

Your editor, agent, publisher, friends, family—they’ll wait for you. The exception to this, of course, is if you’re professional other has given you a deadline—then stick to that deadline. But take deep breaths and don’t let the stress sink in.

 

Your manuscript is amazing. The changes will be amazing. But above all, YOU are amazing.

 

trackback thursday: the jazz singer

the-jazz-singer-movie-poster-1927-1020143206In October 1927, The Jazz Singer was released in New York– breaking the sound barrier in movies as the first “talkie” film.

Vaudeville crooner Al Jolson starred as a Jewish cantor’s son who goes against his family’s traditions to make it in show business.  The usual plea for, “there’s no business like show business!”

The first successful sound feature heralded the end of silent films. It received an Oscar nod for Best Adapted Screenplay and features a collection of oldies (“My Mammy,” “Toot, Toot, Tootsie Goodbye”).

The Jazz Singer was recently selected as one of the top 100 American films of all time by the prestigious American Film Institute. And it has been inducted into the Library of Congress National Film Registry.

 

Have you ever seen this film? Truthfully, I haven’t! I learned about it in a few classes that I have on my transcripts, but I think it’s about time I see it. It’s available on Amazon and Vudu (from what I’ve looked into). Let me know if you watch, and let me know what you think!