Tag Archives: writing

Fear
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For a Few Seconds I Wasn’t Afraid

I’m always afraid of something. Always.

What am I afraid of?

Failure?

Too many questions?

Not being able to explain myself?

Other people’s opinions?

Why does the idea of putting pen to paper leave me a shaking mess?

I am a writer afraid to write my own thoughts about the things that live in my head, the stories that play like a movie in my mind, the epiphanies I have as I’m living my life.

But the words are always there, swimming around, popping up when I’m doing things that require little focus.

For a while I thought the problem was that I only write well when I’m working through something – like when I got divorced a million years ago.

Then I thought it’s because I’m not any good at writing the way the “experts” say I should – teach people something, monetize everything, don’t write for yourself, never use the word “I!”

But, in my humble opinion, that’s my best writing – writing for me, writing to figure myself out. Experience tells me that when  do, other people often relate. We connect in unimaginable ways when we share our own experiences in life.

There are so many online writing rules – and I seem to break them all.

The title is never catchy, click-y, or the thing that brings readers in.

Worrying about images in a blog post is a drag.

I don’t consciously have anything to teach anyone. If you learn something from me, it’s going to be a happy accident.

But there are things I know I do well…

I know I have a distinct viewpoint – but why should anyone care?

My experiences have formed my worldview – but why should anyone care?

And that’s what it comes back to. The mean girl voices in my head whisper the same incessant taunt…

Why would anyone care? Why should they?

Those voices piss me off.

Why am I so fearful of what others think? I don’t pay my bills with the opinions of others. Why do I let it matter?

I’m back to my original question.

What am I so afraid of?

And that’s the real question I’m only just beginning to ask, think about, and attempt to answer.

I’m always afraid.

Not of catastrophe or accidents. I stopped playing the “what if” game years ago: What if I’m in an accident? What if I lose a client? What if something terrible, awful, or horrendous happens? Somewhere, somehow, I learned that I handle the things the Universe throws at me.

But I’m always afraid.

Of being judged. Of being found wanting. Of failing. Of letting others down. Of looking ridiculous or stupid or uneducated or uninformed.

My fears are internal, living in my mind, wreaking havoc in my brain.

Hell, even the fears I have as a mother aren’t because I think my decisions are bad ones. I parent from pure instinct which is fairly reliable. No, my fears often involve what other people will think of my decisions.

Fuck.

All this fear is paralyzing.

I don’t write. I don’t try new things. I don’t put myself out there. I don’t move forward.

Instead, I stand still. I stagnate. I become a dreamer who never acts on anything. I play it safe…always.

So what does this all mean?

It means that I needed a wake up call. I needed to hit a new low. I needed to get angry at myself – not the self-loathing anger that accomplishes nothing, but the white hot fury that burns everything else away.

And I did. It’s not sustainable, but it was enough for me to realize I’m done living in fear.

Of course nothing big and great is accomplished over night, and I still face the hurdles that my internal monologue throws at me all day every day.

But you don’t have to be unafraid every moment of every day.

You only need a few seconds.

I was afraid of a notebook and a pen. I was afraid of writing my own thoughts. But I was also afraid of not writing. I’m still all of those things.

But if you ever read this on a screen instead of attempting to decipher my chicken scratch from a dusty old notebook, you’ll know for a few seconds, I wasn’t afraid.

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300 Prompts
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What’s In My Fridge?

After a short break from the holidays (a much needed and appreciated break), 300 Prompts is back! This week is number 22 (only 278 to go but who’s counting?) – slow and steady, y’all, slow and steady.

Feel free to join in on social media, in the comments, or on your own blog (share the link in the comments!).

This one is a little different, but…okay.

If I looked in your fridge, what would I find?

I’m assuming you (the reader) are the “I” and “your fridge” refers to mine – that’s what I’m going with anyway.

Writing Prompt 22

Okay, open up my fridge and you will find…

Two large bottles of peppermint mocha creamer (there’s some in the freezer, too – I stocked up before the end of the holidays).

Three different types of ground coffee – Maxwell House and 2 Starbucks varieties. Yes, really. (There’s some of that in the freezer, too.)

A big thing of apple juice. A smaller container of Gatorade. Water. Lots of water.

Leftovers (ugh) – some of it might even be edible.

Everything to make a great breakfast – too bad there’s no one here who wants to cook a great breakfast. Cereal again!

Salad stuff – some of which has gone moldy, some hasn’t.

Lots and lots of condiments. A few are used nearly every day (ketchup, I’m looking at you, dude) and others, I’m not sure what to do with them (soy sauce?? I don’t even remember the last time I used that.).

Yogurt is tucked way in the back, soon to be forgotten. So is the sour cream.

There’s some fudge from last month. Old pizza too.

I’ve got a styrofoam container of…I don’t know. When it starts to smell, I’ll probably throw it away.

Half and half, milk, and almond milk all fight for room among the chocolate and caramel syrups, the jelly, and the butter.

Don’t look too closely in the back corners – even I don’t know what’s back there anymore.

Basically, my fridge is full. Most of what’s there is edible. When it gets empty, I buy more stuff or cook more food. And the cycle of life will continue.

 

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Writer Life
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Panic Inspires Creativity #writerlife

Creative-Mood-Calvin-Hobbes

This is probably why most of my writing ideas are sent in on the last day an editor will accept them.

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Writer Life
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What Have I Learned in a Month of Non-Stop Blogging?

Tomorrow (November 30) will mark a month of non-stop blogging here in this little corner of the interwebs. I joined two challenges for this month – both required posting something, anything to the blog every single day in the month of November.

An ode to NaNoWriMo – except instead of writing every single day in November to finish a novel, it’s blogging every single day. Partly to build the habit. Partly to build the audience.

All I’ve done so far is realize I have the worst timing for this kind of stuff. I took on a big writing project that sucked up all my time while the boys had one of the busiest months at school this year (so far) and we prepared for a holiday. I never have been good at boundaries, saying no, or admitting even I have limits. So I committed to doing all of it to the best of my ability – and probably have a few more gray hairs to show for my effort.

Through it all, I made it work. But I’d be lying if I didn’t admit I’m looking forward to a December where I can and will skip days as necessary.  That being said, if (when) I come across a new challenge that stretches the writing limits, I’m sure I’ll agree to do it and make it happen even as I read 35 books to Sean, write 45 articles on plumbing for a client,  make sure three school projects arrive at school in one piece, and throw food at the hungry hordes that surround me a few times a day begging for food. Okay, maybe it wasn’t that bad – it was more like 25 books for Sean.

John would tell me to stop bitching, that I thrive on that kind of pressure. Damn it. The secret is out.

Yeah, as exhausted and stressed as I was all November trying to get everything done, looking back (from the calm of a temporarily quiet house and no major deadlines looming) I can admit I enjoyed it. The constant go-go-go of doing stuff you enjoy is fun for me – even when it means I don’t wear real pants for a week or clean my house for two weeks (new goal: hire a cleaning service!).

So what did I learn from blogging for a solid month?

That I’ll do it again, bitch the entire time, and love every minute of it (in retrospect).

NaBloPoMo November 2015

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Writer Life
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Nonstop

snoopy-writerI did some rough calculations the other day. Between my blog writing, my clients, my published pieces, and other projects I have going on, I write about 40,000 words a month. That’s a long novella – or a short novel. Too bad the novel-writing thing doesn’t buy shoes (yet).

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300 Prompts
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The Lies We Tell Ourselves

Welcome to another 300 Prompt kind of day. This week’s prompt is to name one thing you’ve liked to yourself about and why.

As always, if you want to join in, feel free to use the comment section to share a blog post or your own response to a prompt. Don’t be scared. It’s actually fun – once you get used to peeling back the outer shell and baring your own gooey insides.

The Lies We Tell Ourselves

A lie I’ve told myself…and why. Where to begin?

The hardest thing to ever do is become brutally honest in all things, especially with ourselves. It’s much easier to live in denial, lie to ourselves, and believe what we want to believe instead of what we know to be true. Over the years, I’ve told myself all sorts of lies.

He was The One. (Wrong.)

I’ll do this forever. (Pick whatever “this” might be – run, work in management, eat Brussels sprouts – it’s all the same.)

A lie I told myself that I’m working to overcome is that dreams can’t come true. That you can’t control your own destiny. That you can’t close your eyes, leap into a great unknown, and actually land safely (maybe with a few cuts and bruises, but still alive).

I’m a dreamer from a long way back. I’ve dreamed of other worlds, other realities (my own), other things, other places, other selves I want to be – and I’ve been dreaming this way for as long as I can remember. As a kid, it’s called having an active imagination – at least that’s what we tell ourselves. Once we “grow up,” it’s avoidance of harsh realities, a refusal to be serious, or a way of wishing away our current life – ah, more lies we tell ourselves.

Some of my dreams were unrealistic – become a ballerina or gymnast. A dream without talent or an all-consuming urge to succeed won’t get very far.

Some of my dreams were an attempt to believe the easy way can work. You can only win the lottery if you play the lottery, and I’ve never been fond of 1 in a billion chances that cost me money. But damn, I can imagine all the ways I’d handle winning that kind of cash.

Some of my dreams were secret little nuggets of who I really am deep down as a person – working for myself, steering my own course, bringing my innermost thoughts to life through the written word. Somehow, those dreams felt the most unattainable. It was too scary, too close to reality, too possible – and therefore must be denied.

Those dreams, those secret wants, required faith in myself and faith in something bigger than myself to help me along the way. So I told myself those were unattainable. I lied to myself for more than 20 years. Yes, I knew as a teenager I wanted to be a writer, but I also “knew” (another lie) that it was impossible and impractical.

I tucked away the dream. I lied to myself and said that most dreams never come true because they aren’t meant to. I convinced myself that working a dozen hours a day to help someone else profit was how the world worked, and I should ignore the gnawing, aching, clawing feeling in my chest that this wasn’t what I was meant to do. I’d get over it. Countless people before me had put in their 30 or 40 years and retired, waiting until their later years to do the things that filled their heart with joy. I was no different. I wasn’t special. I just needed to follow the tried and true path.

Ahhh, the lies we tell ourselves.

One day I met the person who believed in my dreams more than I did. He read my words, listened to my fears and hopes, and said, “I’ll help you. You can do this. I believe in you.”

That was the day I stopped lying to myself. I wanted a life I couldn’t even name, and for once I saw the glimmerings of a path to make it possible. I was still terrified, but I was no longer alone. “Take my hand. You’re not alone. We’ll figure it out together.”

He helped me in countless small ways – and none of them had anything to do with the work it takes to achieve your goals. That was my job. He simply cleared the path a little and gave me the space I needed to run.

Once you stop lying to yourself about one thing, it becomes much easier to stop lying about everything else. It doesn’t happen over night, but it is easier.

This, the words you read here and elsewhere, are me. They are the steps on a long path to achieving a dream – a dream that never stops growing, not really. I don’t lie to myself about what I want, what it takes to get it, and whether I can do it or not. I know I can. I don’t need the lies anymore. The truth will set you free, even as it kicks your ass a little.

Prompts are fun, m’kay? Want to see past posts and prompts? Check out the entire series: 300 Prompts.

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Writer Life
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It was Never a Choice

It was Never a Choice

And the years I spent ignoring it were hellish. Too much noise in my head, always thinking, never doing. Now, I think…then I write. Sometimes I write and I think. But no matter what, the noise is a little less and the feeling of moving down the wrong path, doing the wrong things has vanished. I am a writer not by choice but by hard wiring.

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Random Musings, Writer Life
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I Write About Sex – Just Not Here

I Write About Sex - Just Not Here

My mother and aunt are a little horrified.

Former colleagues are uncomfortable – thankfully we no longer attend meetings together so need to avoid eye contact at the coffee station.

Friends, old and new, some who surprised me, in my generation are like, “Yessssssssss.”

All because I write about sex and then share those writings on social media. Not often. Not in intimate detail. Hell, I don’t even use all the words I know (and prefer) for certain acts or body parts.

I went through a bit of a sexual revolution a few years ago. Topics that weren’t discussed at all when I was a child were left up to my imagination, romance novels, and sad fumblings in darkened rooms. Until I hit my 30s and decided I’d rather feel good than feel repressed.

Sex is natural, sometimes beautiful, sometimes hilarious, and with the right person, damn good. But it’s this thing we don’t talk about.

Part of that is understandable. I am a grown woman with two children and a loving, long-term relationship that may or may not end in marriage (but we certainly don’t sleep in separate beds) – and I am incapable of discussing sex with my own mother. It’s this thing we both know about – and had to rediscover in new relationships – but we’re definitely not discussing it. Ever.

Part of it is confusing. Our unwillingness to discuss sex means we demonize sexual activity we don’t understand. We allow people in places of authority to dictate what kind of sex and how much of it is okay. We allow schools to teach our children misinformation about sex because we’re not comfortable discussing it with them.

I made a promise to myself several years ago. A few actually.

  • I will talk to the boys about sex – in an age appropriate way.
  • I won’t shy away from the uncomfortable questions.
  • I will make sure they have condoms and know how to use them. Not sure how I’ll teach that one with a straight face but my babies will not create babies until they’re old enough to take care of them.
  • I will continue to write about it in ways that share the knowledge I’ve accumulated over the years – because I know if I was still a little lost and confused at age 32, so are other people.

Sex is part of life. I don’t see any reason to act like it isn’t. I don’t believe we’re going to hell for enjoying sex. I don’t think people are deviant or damaged for having sexual preferences that differ from the mainstream. I don’t approve of cheating and lying just to get a sexual fix, but I do believe it’s proof of underlying issues in a relationship instead of pure malice (although that exists, too). I believe sexual compatibility is no less important than other types of compatibility between people.

As I find venues that accept my perspective on sex, I’ll continue to write about it.

For DivorcedMoms.com, I’ve found a place that seems to welcome my little bit of sexual knowledge. Enough that one post was even featured on HuffPost Divorce (OMG, holy hell, y’all!).

My Post-Divorce Summer Fling

Rediscovering Sex After Divorce

8 Ways to Spice Things Up in the Bedroom

5 Sex Games Guaranteed to Spice Things Up

Where else will I write about sex? Who knows…there are plenty of opportunities out there.

Why won’t I write about it in this space?

For right now, it’s because I’m still finding my voice. Because my default way to discuss sex is blatant, with no filter. I’m pretty sure that much brutal honesty about sex doesn’t have a place here. I could be wrong.

Until then, know that there’s nothing to be uncomfortable about when it comes to sex and sexuality. As long as everything you do and like involves consenting adults, just have fun and be safe. I have an opinion about sex, education, and sharing our stories. And as I find more places to share my experience (in writing, y’all, get your minds out of the gutter), I’ll share it here, for those who are curious enough to click a link. But I’ll probably leave the sex talk for other venues and the introspective, music-loving, mom stuff for this space.

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Writer Life
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That is the Question

That is the QuestionIt’s not really a question because the answer is “yes.” Very little is sacred for me anymore. But, even so, I don’t blog everything. Just most things. And when I do, it’s with as much sincerity and honesty as I possess. Which can be…awkward.

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A writer is someone for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.

Thomas Mann
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