“A dream left in the dust will stay covered forever unless it is uncovered. Let the air stir the voice within.” -- Crystal Chameleo
A few weeks ago, a mentor of mine recommended that I add writing samples to my website. This addition is necessary so visitors know more about my writing style and hear my voice. She said to pick parts of my manuscript (not done) that will showcase the best of my writing and provide enough to entice readers to want more. Her recommendation was to provide some dialogue and non-dialogue that would showcase my protagonist.
The problem is, I don’t know what to add. It’s overwhelming to me. Maybe this is the case because I haven’t finished the manuscript yet? It’s scary. All in all, I’ve come to the realization that I’ve been hiding and scared to just unleash the writer I want to be. Oh, sure I’ve been saying for months that I’m a writer. That was a big step! To add the word writer on my website was another brave step.
It’s been a process of baby steps for me to come out of the shadows of my full time career. Let me be blunt. It’s so much easier for me to talk about my career and what I do for a daily living. As much as I love managing client loyalty surveys, building relationships, and driving business results – my love is not nearly as deep as it is for the story I’ve been writing. It’s not so much that I see the manuscript as the end all and be all…it’s more than that. It’s exciting to think and dream of another world where a young girl can be more than what she realizes. That’s really what gets my heart racing!
Why? I’m the daughter of a single mother and if it weren’t for her ability to raise me right and believe in myself then I would not be where I am today. Every young girl needs that.
Young girls today are hungry for a heroine they can relate to on an every day basis. They want to imagine going to school with her or, more than likely, BE her.
When I write, I believe that I can be more too. Even though I’m not a young girl in my teens, I too want to be more than what I am today. To escape the day-to-day life of work, family, kids and a pregnancy gives me wings to fly into a world that only exists through my feverishly typing fingers.
It’s freedom to believe.
With my day job, I already have proven to myself that I can be successful. I’ve even stepped out of a role that I spent my early real-life years striving for with what to me now seems desperation to be perfect.
With writing, I know I can’t be perfect because there will always be improvements. There will come a time when I will have to stop revising and have the manuscript done before I query. For the time-being, I just have to be me and write. That’s a freedom I can’t get from 9 to 5. There are limits. Don’t get me wrong, the passion I have for customer service has made my job very enjoyable for over three years. Then my life turned upside down back on October 9th due to a complete blood clot in my deep vein. I could have died along with the unborn baby I carried. I could have lost my leg. Life was more precious and my dreams flashed before me. I didn’t want to die with the regret of not trying to finish my manuscript. That’s why I believe I’m still here. I have finished business.
After that near death experience, I’ve had a recurring thought. A dream left in the dust will stay covered forever unless it is uncovered. Let the air stir the voice within.
What to share with the world on the other hand is what this blog is all about. The fear of putting that content out there means that dream is not just mine any longer. Like a baby in the womb, I get to feel the kicks of the story growing. After the baby is born, like many mothers feel, I have to share it and take all that goes with it. It’s not so much ridicule but rather that now I know that whatever I do is public. Many writers share this feeling I’m sure.
The call? That burning excitement of the unknown and what could happen. What if I take the chance and go for it? What do I really have to lose? Nothing.
Even though I didn’t participate in #NaNoWriMo
, I can relate to having a plan to write X number of words within a certain time. I’ve always been goal oriented. What I had to learn along the way, especially as a former manager of direct reports, is that I can’t let a missed goal become more of a distraction. That thinking has, in the past, caused me to delay any additional positive movement to attain the goals set after the missed goal. The chain reaction would spin me farther down the negative black hole. I’ve had this struggle the last few months due to health reasons but even before that I would miss goals. Either way, I’m still frustrated that my first draft sat around this long with the word count needle nearly stuck in the same position.
When that feeling of hopelessness creeps into our brains (and many of us writers hit this wall now and again), we need to hit the brakes before we head face first into the palms of our hands and give up hope!
During the last 24 hours, many of my writing friends have been bummed with missing their goal (especially some who aimed to complete the #NaNoWriMo
challenge). What we as writers must realize is that even if we missed the goal, we should celebrate any accomplishment. Don’t celebrate to the point that we make excuses though but rather think about how many more words we have because of having the goal in the first place! No matter how small that word count is, it is more than what you would have otherwise. What was the starting word count? Zero. Now what do you have? More than zero I hope. If not, there must be a reason to explore. (For me, October was a near zero because I got that pesky blood clot/ DVT in my left leg.)
Lately, I’ve been diving back into writing my first draft. For example, I had a goal of 1Kaday over Thanksgiving and I got a whopping 2245 words written (sarcasm may not be clear here but it's there). It’s frustrating, but I let the fun of the holiday distract me. I have kids and they are getting older. Whatever the reason, I am accountable for that goal being missed.
I’ve learned that I wish I had a higher number to celebrate. At least I have more than what I had though.
The number one rule is to remember this feeling of guilt and learn from it. If we want to be a writer, we must write. Therefore, I am accountable to my individual goal of being just that – a writer. If I continue down the path and delude myself then I will have to be accountable either way. On the flipside, if I learn from this I can set perhaps a more realistic goal over the time I take off in December.
I am accountable to take action to meet the goal of finishing the first draft. Step by step, word for word. It is all up to me. Given the last few months, I had to move out the timeframe a bit. I refuse to let one missed goal stop me from what the final goal is – my first finished draft.
- Remember, don’t let one missed goal derail you from the overall goal.
- Learn from missed goals.
- Revisit your goal planning to plan realistic, attainable goals.
- Celebrate the goals along the way.
- Keep writing with the long-term, high-level goal in mind. Every milestone counts.
- You are accountable to yourself as a writer (first draft, revised manuscript, or whatever the end goal may be).
Before I get into today’s blog post, I personally want to thank everyone for taking the time to stop by and read my blog starting on Tuesday. I realize this is a new blog and it’s awesome to see in my stats that people are clicking on my site. The feeling from seeing these results has been humbling and motivating. Please feel free to leave comments! Now for what’s on my mind…
On Tuesday, I posted a blog about fighting for the dream and how we have to keep going. I know I wrote that I would blog about my personal experience but something happened after I posted that blog that I feel takes a bit more precedence for today’s post.
Within a few hours of posting Tuesday’s blog, a tweet appeared in my newsfeed with a RIP reference for the rapper @HeavyD.
My first thought was, “No way, he’s gotta be young…what 40’s?” With a certain amount of disbelief, I looked it up to find out that HeavyD had passed away suddenly after being rushed to the hospital. Again, this all happened the same day that I posted my first blog in nearly five months.
Why is that so important to me? Back on October 6th I woke up fine in the morning. That night, my left leg swelled about two times its size and I was rushed to the hospital. That morning I had no idea that would later be diagnosed with a DVT by Saturday. (Again, I’ll post a more detailed blog in the coming days about this.) I went back and read Tuesday’s blog post again I ended my blog about having no guarantees. We need to get going and take action on our dreams! If you find that you easily put off writing then think about how much you want that dream to come true – that feeling of finishing the novel. No matter the quality yet but just getting it done. What a feeling that would be! (I speak from my own experience here.)
What struck me is that is Heavy D died so young at the age of 44 and so suddenly. When he woke up that morning, I’m sure he had a list of things he wanted to do and some dreams he wanted to tackle. Do you? I know I do.
One more thing, if you check out @HeavyD on Twitter you’ll see an amazing last tweet. It is simply, “BE INSPIRED”. What an awesome last tweet. Let’s be inspired by that and get moving. Take action on your dream.
Now I need to go put my own words into action and get writing that novel stuck in my head. How about you?
I wanted this and wanted that. I had a goal to start writing a blog and work on my dream of being a writer. With over 60K words in the WIP Bank I felt I was on my way. Then, life happened. Much to my surprise and husband’s we found out back in June that we were expecting our third child March 2nd! We had come to a point in our lives we felt blessed with our two beautiful children and I started focus on the next phase of my life and a dream to be a writer. I balanced being a full-time job, mom duties, and all the other things that go with daily life. Okay, as balanced as I could be and still go after that dream of writing my novel that is.
What I didn’t expect was a roller coaster ride that would derail my dream of being a writer. Yet I’m a fighter and after a time that spirit came back to the surface and I’ve made the decision to go after that dream. The book in my head is there. The characters are waiting for their lives to be more real and tell me they can’t live their lives until I live mine. It’s the crazy writing thing that writers hear characters in our heads. They bang, scream, and do anything to get our attention. My characters changed after awhile and got sad. They wanted to know their futures. So do I.
During this rough journey the last five months I’ve learned more about life and dreams than I ever would have otherwise. I believe that with all my heart. I plan on writing about the journey but will summarize that I had plenty of time to sit on my laurels and think about exactly what life meant to my future, family, and friends. Trust me I thought about what I really wanted and had thought I wanted.
I wanted to write a blog about writing. In hindsight, iIt was one-dimensional and was not enough of me to give. It took all these troubles to realize that.
After some thought, the urge to write a blog that encompasses more about how I would approach this writing dream in general became my goal. It won’t be just about writing or my career. It will be deeper than that. Most of what I’ll write in the beginning will be about what has happened, how I faced a very troublesome pregnancy, and how I value the life I have and the one inside me. My wish is to share my journey to support people in their dreams and get through the rough times the best I can. There will be some focus on the daily ups and downs of bedrest and two distinct points of time when I ended up on my back in a hospital and told how lucky I was by an ER doctor that I trusted my instincts. Mainly though, I’ll write about how I plan to learn from this experience and how it has changed me as a person and as a writer. For women, I hope that if you have some of the troubles I had that you feel you are not alone. That goes for all the writers reading this as well.
Remember, there are others out there going through tough times. You are not alone.
Remember, there are others out there with dreams. You are not alone.
Remember, it is okay to feel fear of the unknown (medical, writing, career, etc.). You are not alone.
You can feel afraid. It’s okay. How I now get motivated is think about time as a precious gift and that if I let fear overtake me, I’ll have to face regret, not just fear. I’ve chose to face my fear and dive in…go for it. That way at least I know I tried.
For my next blog, I’ll get more into some of the pregnancy struggles I’ve had since June and therefore am providing a high level overview of what I see as the “Big 3” challenges so far.
These three phases of my pregnancy that were challenging to my body, mind, soul and each required bedrest of some kind:
- Morning Sickness which meant morning lasted all day and night
- Walking Pneumonia (bacterial)
- Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) AKA a blood clot in a major vein of my left leg
This journey of life is always in motion. There are no guarantees. As I write this, I know that the baby inside me is at risk. But aren’t we all every second?
Yesterday was one of those days when I sat there in front of a blinking cursor and heard my friend's voice, "You're thinking too much." Diane, a beta reader, told me that a few months ago when I was rambling about how I need to cut out this and redo that in my WIP. She was on to something. I cut but didn't cut as much as planned. After all was said and done, I felt great about what I had cut from the WIP and posted that as a status on my facebook page. Since then, I've heard her voice loud and clear ring through my head causing me a healthy pause at the perfect moments.
What exactly was I doing? For starters, I was thinking how I could make these two chapters spin differently. My protagonist sometimes tends to follow easily and then there are days she fights back. While attempting to write yesterday, I found I wanted to "force" the story my way. It wasn't going so well for me. Meanwhile, my protagonist was getting a bit more assertive that she really wanted to go quite an opposite path.
Something didn't feel right and I knew it. I fought this way for an hour. Writing. Deleting. Writing. The cursor and I weren't getting along either!
What did I do? I walked away. It was one of those days when I needed to get away from the computer and let the story wait. It isn't easy to do that but it was a day of letting go. Let the story come alive again tomorrow. My protagonist could wait. We would meet up tomorrow and collaborate. I would listen. However, I would decide because I know my plot and ending. The ending of my WIP won't change. It's just the daily writing that gets me there to that ending.
Today is a new day to write. Just don't think too much. Let the story be.
What have you done when days like this happen? Do you walk away? Do you have tips or tricks that help you get through it?
My first blog post has been in the back of my mind for a few months at least. I didn't want to mess it up and ramble on about it being my first post.
However, I just have to celebrate that this is real. My domain site is now here for me to fill with whatever I want. That's such an awesome feeling. What makes it more sweet is that I built it on my own! It can be done!
Now don't get me wrong, it's been a long time coming. It's been a learning experience that I'm sure many of us writers find somewhat intimidating. It goes back to how we are as writers. We love creating our characters yet we stumble at the door of showing the world who we are. I recommend asking some key questions I've learned from my career. Who are you? What if someone looked in a window of your life? What would that person see? What do you want them to see?
Take the time, even if you know you should have a website tonight, to make your site the first impression you want to emulate. Patience is worth it. As a writer, I read about literary agents recommending that we don't rush through the manuscript and send it off. Edit first. I recommend taking the same approach with your brand. Your site. Think about who you are, what you stand for, and who you want to be. It may take a bit longer but it will be worth it to think about how you want to be seen by anyone stumbling on your site.
Be yourself. Give. Share. Inspire. You never know what will happen if you don't open the door and see what is there.
Thanks to my Twitter friends. You've been such an inspiration!