Tag Archives: Insecure Writers Support Group

Writer Wednesdays on a Monday: Turning Things Around

8 May

It’s like hearing that song on the radio and you just stop because you feeeeeeeeeel the lyric.  You feel George Harrison. You feel Mavis Staples. You feel Springsteen. You feel Hall and Oates. You feel Phil Collins. You feel Chris Stapleton. You feel Juan Gabriel. You feel Ana Gabriel. You feel Katrina and The Waves.

It is in you. You feel like it was written just for you, and you sit there in your car at the stop light listening.

Them words.

You think to yourself, maaaaaaaan. They got this one right. The lyric, combined with the music. They got this one.

Then you go back to your keyboard, inspired, hoping that you can put something like that on the page. You want to make someone laugh, smile, feel your heart through your characters. And sometimes it happens … other times … you fail miserably because you just can’t get it. It’s not there. You thought you had it with all that inspiration jazzing you up, but then you lost it because of a phone call, bad memory, or wasted time. Lack of discipline attacks you on Wednesday after you had the umph to get you through Monday and Tuesday.

Burn.

I hate it when that happens.

So how is it that I try to turn things around? Especially on a Monday?

I try to remember that waking up wasn’t an accident. It was on purpose, for something bigger than just fixing lunches, dropping off kids, and racing through traffic. There has to be more that I leave my kids than memories.

Pieces of me in my writing out there for them to read and get. Whether on my laptop, in my notebooks, posts, or published writings. Something of me is out there for them to see, to get, that I’m on the star map chasing the Milky Way and hoping I land.

So when I feel like dropping it because I’ve dropped the ball as a writer and haven’t found the nooks and crannies of time to write every day, I remember not everybody is on the same ride. I’ve got all kinds of detours and stops on mine. It may take a little longer, but I’ll get there. As long as I don’t give up.

So I don’t.

I get the Andre Agassi in me … ready to make a comeback.

It’s bigger than me. That’s what I think … I can’t walk around six months from now and still be in the same spot, because it’s bigger than me. I’ve got my Zen back and it took me a loooooooooooonnnnnng time to rework my magic with this crazy environment and lack of support, with the failing of my awesome play earlier this year. I thought things would spark after that. It took a while to find my center … a lot of podcasts.

But I found it.

I woke up and remembered … waking up was not an accident. Turn the corner.

Buen Camino my friends.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Writer Wednesdays: The Voice

1 Mar

They’ve got 90 seconds to do it.

There they are sitting with their backs turned, waiting to hear the voice that moves them enough to turn around. Blake, Adam, Alicia, Gwen. Ready to give a somebody a chance. That somebody is there, waiting in line to be discovered. Some people put it out there, giving it all they got, vulnerability, pain, strength, happiness. Emotion. They leave it all out there and they get a chair to turn.

They’ve got 90 seconds to do it.

That’s the writer’s life.

We’ve got about 90 seconds to pull it off … maybe even less. 90 seconds for someone to care enough about a character, a journey, a story, a voice to keep reading, to keep turning the page.  Writer’s don’t have reality TV shows giving them a break, because our life tends to be a reality show with its on plot twists and dramatic downfalls, although if Project Greenlight came back I’d have no problem with that. I often wished we’d get a competition show for writers and wrote about that once. But the writing process is not all that exciting. Pajamas, bad ideas, taking over the Starbucks tables. Don’t know if people would tune in.

But regardless if we’re on air or not, writers do have about 90 seconds to connect with someone, connect enough that they read the next paragraph. 90 seconds for someone to hear our voice.

And the weird thing is, even though I hate reality television, The Voice tends to slip under the radar for me. Watching it often inspires me. It reminds me to cut the BS,to empty the tank, to leave it all on the page. I like the fact that I hear one constant theme throughout the seasons. Emotion. These coaches keep emphasizing emotion. If you feel it when you sing it, odds are people feel it too and the connection is made.

I see this in writing all the time.  If you’re honest enough and feeeeeeel what you’re writing, no BS, whether it’s comedy or drama, if you’re genuine about it, you’ll make a connection. You just have to be vulnerable and strong enough to take that chance. And sometimes chances like this pay off. So, when I’m in a rut, or fallen off my writing schedule and discipline was out the window, when I’m trying to get back on track, I remind myself of The Voice, of stories or movies that connected and ask how did they do that?

Emotion. Honesty. 90 seconds.

 

 

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Writer Wednesdays … Fan Battles, BS-Ometers, and Nooks & Crannies

1 Feb

When you decided to pursue your passion a twist came at the end of it … Along the journey and after all the obstacles, you ended up seeing what was behind the giant curtain.

Through the discovery, some of the mystery disappeared.

How is the doctor different when she’s a patient? How is the lawyer different when she’s a client? How is the teacher different when he’s the student? How is the pitcher different when he is the batter? How is the writer different when she is the reader?

Yup. Perspectives change when you’re on the other side.

As a writer this question has been posed to me before.

Like the doctor, lawyer, pitcher, and teacher, the writer becomes more aware of the approach and of the details. We  give our fellow writer the benefit of the doubt, but don’t walk blindly into the story.

We just pay attention more. We can smell the BS when it surfaces and tries to camouflage itself as substance. I feel like my BS-ometer has gotten better throughout the years. You notice things that others might not, even with the most avid readers, you still have an edge because you’ve been behind the scenes.

But aside from having a finely tuned BS-ometer,  I get into the nitty-gritty of it with characters. I’m in the nooks and crannies. Characters are big for me, whether it’s from a book or on a television show. Characters are what make it happen for me. Story and plot are intriguing, they peak my interest, but characters are what make me stay all the way to the end. I pay attention to how the character mattered to this writer and how they developed. I’m constantly on the look-out for that A-HA! moment and see how the character responds. Is it the way I thought she would?

When the character becomes so amazingly great that it changes me from a writer into a fan, that’s a job well done by the creator. It’s hard for me to watch series finales sometimes because the fan in me battles the writer in me. Sons of Anarchy, Breaking Bad, LOST, 24, The Closer … all of these had me on the edge of my seat for the series finales and as a writer, I battled with the fan inside of me.

The fan roots for the underdog and the happy ending, but sometimes as a writer you just know … you know that can’t happen because it’ll betray the story and the character’s intention.

Being a writer, enhanced the reading and watching experiences for me. I see the strings being pulled and think wow how amazingly awesome that they pulled this off, or when I’m disappointed I think, man there could have been a better way. The fan and writer constantly battle each other when the stories are good.

Some people may think it works against them to know what’s coming, to know how the pieces are being moved. I just think it makes you pay attention more, makes you look at the decisions being made and if you end up becoming a fan … well then, once a fan, always a fan maybe even a die-hard fan.

 

 

Happy Wednesday

 

 

Writer Wednesday’s

7 Dec

I can admit to the fact that change is hard for me. I like my routines, I like the fact that I can count on certain details of my day following a certain agenda. I find comfort in knowing how things are gonna pan out.

However when it comes to motherhood, I sort of have to go with the flow or I’d have a breakdown everyday. I learned to loosen up a bit with expectations. You can’t stick with Plan A all the time, you’ve got to be prepared to kick in Plan B, C, and D at any moment.

That is something that happens with writing all the time. You come up with a genius idea in the middle of the night and realize after further review that this half-baked notion should not see the light day. Other times awesome is just awesome no matter when inspiration strikes.

Writing is one of these things where flexibility matters. Change will happen. Your first draft will not always be awesome, in fact most of the time it isn’t. So rewrites are part of your life. I know about writing changes, I used to work for a newspaper. Edits happen all the time, but the thing is when they happen … It’s a collaborative effort to help improve the story, preserve the voice, and and enhance its best parts, which is why I’ve always embraced the editing process.

Just makes things better.

However I’ve learned that not every change is for the better and that’s when you’ve got to take a stand, especially when you weren’t even aware that it was happening.

I’ve never worked with someone whose taken the liberty of changing my story without letting me know. In fact had they changed it for the better I’d probably thank them for it, but let them know that the manner in which they did it could have been handled better.

However these changes affected the kind of story I wanted to tell. My voice was changed and it was changed without permission. As you all know one of my pieces was selected to be part of a theater festival. I was extremely excited and proud that my work would hit the stage.

However, I find myself at a crossroads … well not really. I thought it was but I know what my gut was telling me to do.  I’m ready to pull out of the festival.

You see, the director that was chosen decided to change my piece and not just a small enhancement, but a pretty big change that for me changes the direction of the story and essence of my characters.

So I was at a crossroads …

But the decision wasn’t hard, I know I would pull out. It was just sad that I would have to do it. I didn’t want to seem like a diva who was storming out of a room, but I knew that this change was something I couldn’t let go. Don’t know if you writers out there know what I’m talking about. Ever feel like the story becomes a story that you wouldn’t have written? That’s where I felt this was going.

So I’m at the crossroads, but not really. There’s a meeting set for Friday to see if a compromise can be reached. If not … then it’s back to page one of a new project and a renewed sense of determination to make something happen.

 

DontGiveUp

🙂

 

So I’ll write on …

 

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IWSG

 

 

 

 

 

 

Writer Wednesdays …

2 Nov

There wasn’t just one, but two reasons …

Telling stories and making people feel.

I was reminded of my two favorite aspects of being a writer just recently. I wasn’t even looking for it, but the reasons came and I was super grateful that they did. Sometimes during writer’s block or a daydreaming marathon, where you only get one sentence on the page, you might lose your way for a minute, especially with the Madness of NanoWriMo in full effect. You get lost as to what your favorite part of being a writer is when the discipline of it all drives you to exhaustion during a word count check for the NanoWriMo marathon of November.

So I was humbled by the words that came my way from a young lady I have yet to meet, but she was kind enough to stop by and let me know what my stories had done for her. Anna over at Anna’s Rambles decided to stop by on a Writer Wednesday to explore some of my Insecure Writer’s Support Group posts and she found a little something I was hoping someone would find.

Hope and encouragement.

Some of my stories had touched her in some way and I was happy to know that my writing had made someone feeeeeeeeeeeeeeeel something so much that they found encouragement and hope to continue writing themselves.

Writers often second guess themselves and are probably their toughest critics, I know I am. So when I get this kind of feedback, it’s very rewarding to know that my instincts were right all along. I don’t write for gold stars or pats on the back, although they are pretty awesome to receive and I welcome them whenever they knock on my door. But I write the stories so that my voice can be heard, so that people can feel, either by relating to, understanding, or realizing that someone else once felt what they felt. They were there, where you are now.

I write so that when I’m long gone, my kids can one day say they knew who I was and they felt my heart because I always put it out on the page. Funny. Sad. Frustrated. Angry. Ecstatic. Heartbroken. Proud. They’ll know me even when I’m gone, because my stories will still be around, on the page, in photo albums, or in their hearts, still connecting to them.

The people down at the Insecure Writer’s Support Group asked what’s the best aspect of being a writer? My response …

Telling stories and making people feel.

Thanks for the reminder, Anna.

Buen Camino.

 

 

 

 

Writer Wednesday’s

5 Oct

So how do you know when it’s over?

Like any relationship … you know, because there’s that tiny quivering feeling in the pit of your stomach letting you in on the secret, letting you know that the end is near.

After weeks of sleepless nights and Costco-sweat-wearing days, there’s a big exhale when I type THE END. It takes me a longgggggggg time to get there and sometimes I wonder if I’ll ever see the finish line.

Doubt. Anxiety. Insecurity. They all creep up on me during the entire process. Never sure if it’s going to be good enough. Never sure if people are going to relate. Never sure if people are going to laugh. Never sure if people are going to keep reading. Never sure whether to send it out. Never sure if it’s going to pay off. Never sure if the daydreaming I’m doing today is gonna pan out in the story tomorrow. Never sure of a lot of things, but once I get past all these inner voices (as well as the outer voices who think I should just get a “real” job) and I get to the end, I know.

I do, because I feeeeeeeeeeeeeel it. Definitely.

There’s closure.

Stuff that’s necessarily missing from my current existence, I find in my made up world. My character, dead or alive, has come full circle. A messy and dramatic one, with multiple post visits to a shrink included, but never the less an adventure that has come to an end. It isn’t to say that another adventure isn’t waiting for them tomorrow, it’s just that the adventure they started with me, the day I was day-dreaming it up has finished.

So I put on a new pair of Costco sweatpants, and dig into my messy life archives and see if there’s another story that’s ready for the page.

Not everybody feels it, not everybody goes through the Costco sweatpants phase, everyone has a different journey. Difficult and emotionally exhausting, but we all get there in the end and high fives are a requirement.

 

 

Writer Wednesdays: You’ve Got to Show Up Like Agassi

1 Jun

The light brown suede couch and the not-so quiet of the night used to be my office. I had no cubicle buddy to share daily struggles of procrastination with, I had no lunch buddy to eat a salad with, I had no chisme girl talk about the dude in the mail room who’s hanging out with the chick from accounting, I had no receptionist transferring my calls, I had no elevator ride up to the 10th floor, I had no White Out or colored post-its in my desk drawer, I had no parking space to fight over, I had no work buddies giving me a pep talk.

I had a light brown suede couch and my inner voice trying to shut down all the real voices who kept telling … why don’t you just get a real job?

I had myself. That’s it. Myself, a feel-good song playlist, and some Ben & Jerry’s.

That was my office.

As writers our offices generally involve suede couches and pajamas. And a lot of doubt.

We get it from ourselves and we get it from people who are supposed to believe in us. Voices are constantly murmuring, resurfacing, and trying to break through that wall we are constantly rebuilding … confidence.

They make this uphill climb an even bigger battle.

But I realized that I have plenty of insecurities … motherhood, career, culinary skills, body images. Doubt always creeps in, but along with all that doubt, I’ve got to have confidence. Any dreamer has got to have more confidence than doubt, on average, otherwise it’s just not gonna happen.

You’ve got to walk on out there like you’re Andre Agassi. He had so much confidence that when he won the coin toss or whatever it is they use to decipher the tennis serve-receive position he was like I’m on defense. Defense! Can you believe that? He was banking on his skills as a defender to win points. He was like give me the best you’ve got, it’s not getting passed me. I’ve got you.

 

That was him. Agassi was so confident in his game, so confident, that he let them serve. He gave them what people thought was the advantage. But no … it wasn’t. Not with Agassi, defense was his advantage, he could pick up whatever they dished out and break them.

And as dreamers that’s what we’ve got to do. You’ve got doubt, insecurities. Sure. We do. We got people who magnify them, too, people who aren’t cheerleaders in the stands but constant hecklers in your life, jabbing you at any chance they get.

But you can’t fall down that way. Even if you don’t have a desk, an assistant, a corner office, or a fax machine. Even if your office has a tan suede couch and you show up in your Costco sweatpants …

You’ve got to show up like Agassi on the court and be like … I got this.

 

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IWSG: I Didn’t Think Sushi Would Be Inspirational

4 May

Always … look ahead and above yourself.

Always try … to improve on yourself.  Always strive to elevate your craft.

That’s what he taught me.

–Yoshikazu Ono (Jiro’s Son)

 

I never thought I’d find inspiration through Sushi … to continue the writing journey, to see room for improvement, to keep striving and walking on the yellow-brick road … never saw it coming.

It’s fish, right?

Jiro would probably say … you don’t get it … if you just see fish … you don’t get it.

And he’d be right.

This story is not for you.

I have a different vision of it and of the chefs who take the time to create this art.

Always try …

jiro-dreams-of-sushi-dvd-cover-32

It’s a story that caught my eye … been in my Netflix queue for some time now … but I pressed play and gained a new perspective. It’s good as a writer to refresh your perspective even after an accomplishment. It’s good not to settle too long on a stepping stone, remembering those gold stars. Looking ahead on what else you can create, what you can improve upon is on deck.

Here’s this 80-something year-old man, whom I’ll probably never meet, and his 50-something year old son, teaching me something about craft, about striving, about persistence, about trying to be better than you were last time.

Commitment to passion.

I didn’t think Sushi would inspire.

Jiro Dreams of Sushi was the documentary that kept the inspirational spark burning. It touched a little on failure, but didn’t say things were epic fails, just said apprentices would keep trying until they got it right. Keep trying to master your craft.

That’s the thing about writing, sometimes it may feel like a failure because you can’t get the story right, or it wasn’t received well, but you can’t look at it that way, just have to keep trying. Even when things go great and the story is published or the play is produced, you’ve got to keep trying. The effort to improve continues. Always try …

It stuck with me … that simple message.

As a writer there have been many times when things didn’t look great from a creative or financial perspective, and I’d voluntarily or involuntarily place myself on hiatus. But after watching Jiro’s story and that of his sons, I think those self-imposed breaks will no longer take place.

I’ll just have to keep trying, trying to do better, because cultivating your passion takes undeniable effort and continued pursuit. Even when you’re insecure at times, like all writers and artists are from time to time, passion should outweigh insecurity in the end.

Always try … I’ll keep Jiro and Yoshikazu in mind.

 

 

 

 

I’m Still Part of The Justice League, Just Need a Pat on The Back

7 Jan

Every Wednesday they meet …

They give a little umph for when you’re not really feeling it. I mean I’d like to think I’m pretty secure myself, but there are days when I-don’t-think-it’s-gonna-happen creeps in, there are days when doubt sneaks onto my 10-page start.

Out there in the unknown through comments, links, and blog hops IWSG is ready to give you that extra boost.

The Insecure Writers Support Group.

I missed the meeting. The week caught up with me and I fell asleep. Exhausted Parent Syndrome. It’s a chronic problem. But sometimes I prescribe myself some 5-hour energy and I’m back in the mix. But even though I missed the 24-hour window I’m sure my writer insecurity can still qualify to speak on the matter.

Some of you know that I finished writing my book in Decemebr of 2014 and I spent 2015 editing the crap out of it. After the multiple rewrites, and falling in and out of love with my characters I’ve come to the end. The last 27 pages of my final rewrite … That’s what I’ve got.

And so it hits me, I’m gonna have to let someone take a look at it. I’m going to have to ask a couple of buddies from my newspaper days to give it a look and tell me what they think. And the thing is I respect them as writers so much that the thought of them checking it out fills my insecurity bucket. I mean if I don’t know you the fact that you don’t like my book, or story, or play doesn’t make that killer impact. But when it’s a buddy, a close friend, a comadre that puts the funny feeling in my chest, the kind that finds me making my debut appearance at the IWSG. And I’d like to thank my buddy T.B. Markinson for letting me in on the secret meetings.

Hi … My name is The Guat, and I’m insecure … Sometimes.

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IWSG

Yup.

The feeling comes and goes, it doesn’t always stay with me. When I’m in the middle of a story, typing away in the nitty-gritty of it, I’m Superman. I’m Batman. I’m Wonder Woman. I’m the entire freakin’ Justice League rolled up in one. But I find that when I get close to finishing a project that’s when it kicks in. It’s getting ready to leave my hands, my control. And that freaks my freak.

Although I’ve got to say ever since I started this blogging journey, I’ve gotten better. This Word Press community has definitely helped empty the insecurity bucket and given me even more confidence in letting go.

But when it comes to a 200-page book, or a one-act play for my friend’s theatre group, the insecurity still trickles in, because there’s so much of me in there.

And when I hear the …. Duuuuude that was good story.

A smile creeps in, and so does relief.

But I get it, I don’t necessarily need the “duuuuuude that was a good story,” compliment because I feel good about the story, but it’s always nice to be reassured.

I’m in reassurance mode.

And that’s why I’m at IWSG.

Do you guys need ISWG?

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