Tag Archives: writer

Finding the “Write” Place

Am I going to lecture you on setting? I could. However, I find more important than finding the proper setting for your story, is finding the proper setting for you as a writer. So here are some important factors to consider when picking a location for writing.

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Example 1: Natural setting with table and chairs

1. How easily distracted are you? This is a key element of choosing a writing setting. If you’re someone who is chatty, maybe limit your contact with people, if you’re someone who finds noises irritating, maybe keep headphones for less distracting music, or try finding a more tranquil environment. It’s all about you as a person.

2. The Internet Question For some writers, the internet is a trap, something that will pull them away from their creativity into countless hours of Youtube or pointless games or too much time scrolling through Facebook, Twitter, or who knows what other social media site. However, for others they can avoid such and keep their internet for use of research or other handy writer tools. If you’re the former, I recommend doing research ahead of time and then going somewhere outside of a wifi network if possible to write.

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Example 2: Natural setting, lounging

3. Comfort vs. Focus In one of my first writing classes I was told that as a writer you should be comfortable while writing. And I often find this method is useful, but sometimes it lacks the disciplined feeling that I need to really get work done. So it’s always a toss up. Write on my bed and feel comfy and relaxed, or write at a desk or table sitting upright, feeling more focused and ready to go. Both can yield results, it just depends what I’m looking for.

Example 3: The organized desk setting

Example 3: The organized desk setting

4. Brainstorm Shortfalls A few months ago I was setting in to finish my novel and posted a photo of my writer’s den on Facebook. I thought I had everything I needed: coffee, tissues, granola bars. However, my close friend commented reminding me of one crucial element I’d forgotten: chocolate! All jokes aside, keep in mind what you might need for writing for a long time. Be it food or drinks or money to purchase those if need be. Sunscreen for sunny days outdoors, or a jacket if it gets chilly. Brainstorm what you’ll need so you have no excuses once in place to leave.

Writing den fixed up with chocolate to keep me going!

Example 4: Writing den fixed up with chocolate to keep me going!

5. Inspirational Material Maybe you feel inspired sitting on the beach. Maybe it’s out in a grassy park. Maybe you like that coffee shop environment or even just a restaurant setting with people around you, energy to feed off of throughout. This goes hand in hand with my next suggestion

6. Define the Mood Maybe what you need is to get into the mood of what you’re writing. Put yourself into a place where you feel ready to write about something like this. Serene and tranquil- go enjoy that quiet park. Action packed and tense- Busy cafe or bench in the middle of downtown. Try to pull these into your considerations. Change it up, don’t write in the same place if it makes you write the same way every time.

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Example 5: Natural setting, minimal comfort

7. Your Personal Soundtrack Maybe you need music to focus. Again, pick something that fits what you’re looking for in your work. Maybe intense film score, or a pop song for that angsty breakup scene. Maybe you want to get some nature noises to listen to if you’re stuck inside and need to attain some of the nature scene you’re looking for. Or maybe quiet is what you’re looking for. In which case, find a place that gives you that.

The main thing is to limit your possible distractions, put yourself in the mood to write, and find the best place to inspire your creativity! Keep these factors in mind if you can. The right place can be crucial to giving you the results you want.

Where and when do you write? What factors do you think are most important?

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Reality in Fiction, AKA Don’t Anger the Writer

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So I’m working on a novel for my senior project. And it’s about a college freshman who goes to school in Idaho and her weird roommate she lives with, and the problems that go on in their strange relationship. For a true synopsis see my What’s in the Cup page that includes my fiction works summarized for your perusal. However, in writing about a college student, I’ve had multiple people ask me if it’s a true story.

No.

I had a wonderful freshman roommate. We’re still friends and we even lived together a second year and would have lived together this year if housing had worked out better. Sure, I include a few elements of inspiration I found from other parts of life. I mean the roommate first meeting, a few random quirks about living with a different person, and the roommate bonding experience have little bits of truth to them. But the majority of the plot is fiction.

Real life circumstances can be great inspiration. They provide a level of realness to the text, probably help show your real feelings and passions as well. It’s usually not the happy times that really inspire me though. No, it’s the ones where I’m upset or hurt. And sometimes I include those. And other times I don’t. However, I feel like life inspiration requires balance.

A few months back I was working on a fiction piece specifically inspired by real life feelings and circumstances. Sure, it had a lot of fiction thrown in, but it had enough basis in reality that one could easily track what had inspired it. I wanted an outlet for the crazy emotions of the moment. I felt dedicating a book to unrequited love and the pain of that might be meaningful as I wrote about in When a Writer Falls in Love.

However, the circumstances surprised me. I felt overwhelmed by putting all of my life on a page. I worried what people would think of me, became too concerned about how my protagonist would be received, and hit writer’s block at a certain point on realizing some of the story I felt was important was obviously meaningless. My emotional connection to the work was simply too much to deal with.

Similarly, my roommates of last year asked me to write a book loosely based on us. I came up with a crime novel, hoping that would remove some of the reality of the story, but still it was hard to write about real people. I was concerned they wouldn’t like how they were portrayed, sometimes felt I didn’t understand their motivations and actions the same way I do with characters of my own creation. I still do hope to continue working on that one some day, it’s a fun story really, but there are challenges included regardless.

Sometimes I find my writing subconsciously absorbs what I’m dealing with in my life, whether I want it to or not. Writing last year I was dealing with friendship issues and I suddenly found this randomly interspersed:

“The options before her battled fiercely. In the end what did it really come down to? People came and went in everyone’s life. Living as long as she did she knew that this was simply a reality. Friends moved on. Family changed or died or left. And often one was left seeking newness in their life. Her heart, however, was in utter rebellion with this logic. Wendy. Her name was being called by every fiber of Melanie’s being. Smart interesting funny clever Wendy. Did she abandon that for nothing? Or did she cleave instead an infectious tumor beginning to turn malignant? There was no true telling. Would removing this woman from her life remove a part of her very soul? Or could she survive, thrive, come to new life as a result?”

I stare at that looking back. Hold on, did I just write about choosing my own health over friendship? Did I just put myself in one of my character’s shoes? Did the brutal death later represent that coming to an end, my own frustration with all that had happened?

I don’t tend to try to write other characters as people I know. Sometimes it happens. However, I can’t deny there is something therapeutic in letting off steam at people who frustrate me, at situations that are distressing. So, if anyone who ever pisses me off reads my works and wonders “hmm is that me she’s writing about as a villain/brutal murder/pathetic character?” Probably, but you’ll never hear those words from my mouth.  You can simply live knowing that if you make me angry, you’ll likely face the consequences in my fiction.

So yes, writing can emulate life. Sometimes that’s purposefully, using experience to create a greater sense of emotion in writing. Other times, it comes out subconsciously, especially in negative emotions. And sometimes I simply have to separate fiction and reality, because they become too overwhelming together. It largely depends. Nonetheless, it’s interesting to see how the two cross over.

Fellow writers, how much do you include real life experiences in your writing? Any other writers relate in how they react to people who have hurt or angered them? Any other remarks to make? Any of my friends suddenly scared?

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On with the Show- Fiction attempts

This is an exercise I wrote a few weeks ago playing with point of view for my fiction class. While I’m not sure the transitions between character’s minds works, it’s something I thought I’d share with you for this week. So without further ado, enjoy!

On with the Show

John wondered what was the appropriate thing to do in this situation. He shifted a bit from his spot watching his wife. Brenda stood just a few too many feet away from him for things to appear normal, but he bit his tongue on the issue. Her eyes kept darting back towards the hallway, shoulders stiff, head turning a tad too quickly a few times too many. He wondered vaguely why she hadn’t just left him in for the night. Wouldn’t that have been nice? Flipping to a random news channel and leaving it on for background noise, petting the cat a bit, grabbing a beer and kicking his feet up without fear of Brenda slapping at his toes with one of her magazines. Well, that was too much to hope for he supposed. He subtly adjusted his beret so Brenda wouldn’t see his facial expression.

Carol was late. Brenda glanced at her watch for the fifth time since they’d walked into the building. She shifted her purse and the plastic Target bag holding the bouquet she’d made John go out and buy. Her fingers tugged at the blooms, checking for withering ones. She huffed yet again. John had bought a handful of marigolds. Men were so oblivious sometimes. When she’d said bouquet she’d expected him to do better than to pick out a flower representing grief. He might as well just stick basil in it for good measure. After all, a hateful plant would do him justice. She glanced over to eye his baggy blue shirt with distaste. Why on earth did he choose clothes so ill-suited to his gangly frame? Sometimes it felt like she was really seeing him for the first time, like someone had flipped on a light switch in a dim room. She was about to remark that his beret was crooked, when the soft clip clop of heels distracted her, pulling her attention back to the tightly bundled figure of Carol. Sighing, Brenda fixed a little smile to her mouth without worrying if it matched her eyes.

“Sorry I’m late,” Carol said with a little huff both in an effort to catch her breath and to dispel the cold air from her lungs. She offered a feeble smile to the couple, catching just a whiff of the anxiety between them. Then again, she couldn’t imagine how difficult this had to be. She glanced at the large bouquet bagged in Brenda’s hand, then the little orange gift bag John was clutching, knuckles going white. Well, best to come well stocked to a starring daughter’s opening night. Especially if you also bore news of divorce. Carol shook off the thought and glanced at her friend more warmly. “Well, shall we go in?”

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Mourning as a Writer

I’ve been writing a new novel lately, hopefully one I’ll get some blog posts out of at some point. But the thing is it reflects a lot on death…and I guess that’s just made me reflect a lot on it too, but also on related issues, like grieving and moving on.

My dog died recently. I initially wasn’t going to mention this, but I feel like it’s relevant. The creature I’d loved for thirteen good long years was suddenly gone, and I’m still at a loss sometimes to explain what I feel. And it’s been tough. In many ways this school year has very much seemed to be one filled with loss, loss I’m still trying to figure out how to deal with as hopelessly as most others who’ve come before me. His death hit me harder than I’d expected, though in loving him for so long, I’m not sure why I’d expect to be so unaffected.

But this was not the only loss I’ve suffered recently. A few months ago I laid to rest one of my favorite novel series I’d been working on, the one that included the first four novels I’d ever written, the one I’d been working on for probably five or six years now. It was unfortunately co-authored, and the other writer wanted to move on to more “mature” things, newer things, fresher things… I suppose in life we change and our writing changes with us. And for a time I thought I was ok with that, thinking moving on to new things wouldn’t be too hard.

I muddled along on my own, then gradually just realized it wasn’t working anymore. Maybe it was like the passion was cut in two without her. Or maybe I simply grew up too, and in time I began to realize there comes a time we grow too old and have to put aside things of the past. Sometimes I feel like the children in Narnia being told they’ve outgrown their beloved kingdom. And regardless, after she left, my characters, my world, my novels seemed to whither and die away. And for a time it seemed like part of me died with them. Maybe it did.

I poured the better part of my young adult life into those books. I had those characters at my sides as I dealt with those awkward teen years, when I cried about not having a date to prom, when I felt alone, when my parents just didn’t understand. They were some kind of a therapy and comfort as I dealt with anxiety, depression, confusion about life and boys and angsty teenage problems.

I buried them all in a swift flash of fury, smacked my hands onto the keyboard to create a little half-sheet apocalypse of my magical world that undid all I’d created. ” The chaos of untold proportion took over, the already potent disease spreading insanity in its wake. ” To give some idea of what happened. Sometimes that’s just how things are for me. A flash of rage and before I realize it I’ve destroyed what I love. Funny how anger is one of those stages of grieving when it seems so utterly different from sorrow.

It has been a few months now. But still sometimes it feels like fire has swept the fields of my imagination. Life is attempting to poke through bits of scorched earth, but it doesn’t have the same strength that it once did. It feels feeble, crippled. My characters feel like half-life’s, something not quite fully created. They speak perhaps a touch on the page, but I do not love them as I used to love. They feel like mere creations rather than friends. I do not sense them with me in those moments I need bravery or inspiration or a little more strength to make it one more day. And sometimes I fear it will be forever, that I will now forever have this sense of loneliness no author should, that I will never again be able to create with the same youthful passion and vibrancy I once did.

But that is the way life works. We grow up. We move on. Things of the past become less important. Goals and ideals and values shift and change like the ever moving tides. People and animals and characters we care about die, leave us, forget about us, move on. There is no control over these. They are simply patterns of life that dictate how we live.

Still, I’ve recognized by now that I’m in mourning, both for my beloved dog, for these stories I once loved, for the parts of myself I that may not be relevant anymore, for the things I’ve lost this year.

Somehow, someway, we move on. Past grief, past pain, past anger. It’s never easy. These feelings may never completely go away. But we find new people to love, we get new pets to share our time with, we write new stories either on the page or in life. Mourning can’t be underestimated. But it is crippling at times. And I only hope I’ll continue to heal, to grow, to move past these darker times towards brighter ones ahead, hopefully filled with better and fresher writing.

This year, more than any other before, I’ve considered throwing in the towel on my life-long dream of writing. I’ve considered giving it up and moving on to new things. For now, this remains something I cling to in spite of the troubles I’ve had. But who knows? Maybe some day writing will leave me too. Nothing is certain I suppose. The sun sets each and every day, sorrows happen, we simply have to hope it will rise again, and that good things too will come once more.

How do you grieve? What things or people or other elements of life have you mourned? What have been the best ways you’ve moved past hard life events? Anyone feel like writing a therapeutic response blog, if so please do.

PS: If I seem pathetic whining over a dog and some writing I no longer have, I apologize. My intention is not to make my spoiled life sound ridiculously hard, but rather to interconnect the human experience of loss and moving on, something I hope others can relate to as well in whatever means they can.

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Past vs. Present

So, I’ve been pondering more about the actual craft of writing thanks to taking a fiction writing class recently. And I’m sure I have many important things to say, but today in class I was startled to accidentally listen in on a conversation in class (I know I’m terrible).

“I’m so bad at writing in past tense,” one person says (see what I did here!).

“Well, from what I’ve heard you should mostly try to write in present anyways,” the other in the group says. “So it’s good you’re already writing that way. Everything I’ve heard says that’s how you should write.”

I had to stop myself from interjecting myself into the conversation, giving away the fact that I was eaves dropping. And besides, I didn’t want to look like a snob. But I was very confused by what these non-English majors were saying. You are supposed to write in present tense? What on earth? Where had they learned that?

I am not usually a fan of present tense. It was one of my main complaints with The Hunger Games. I’ve always felt it’s a bit awkward and clunky and the few times I’ve started writing in present tense, I invariably end up switching back to past by the end. It’s like a magic trick of mine. Ta-da! Past tense again.

The thing is, most narratives are written in past tense. It’s tradition. In fact, until more recently past was all people wrote in. Present is a recent development. Classic books: Great Gatsby– Past tense, Wuthering Heights– past tense, Frankenstein- past tense, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn– past tense. Just a few I have on hand to check. I’m not sure how these two were so misinformed, or maybe I just missed parts of the conversation and they were referring to something else. But nonetheless, there is a tradition of past tense.

That’s not to say you can’t write in present tense. Well-known books have used this technique, such as The Hunger Games, All Quiet on the Western Front, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, The Handmaid’s Tale, Room to name a few.

In fact some of these books I like quite a bit, so it’s interesting to me to realize I didn’t notice the style in some of these books, and yet in others it felt strange.

As with all writing styles and choices, there are advantages to either. Present tense sometimes helps to give a sense of being in the moment, it’s easier to write with showing rather than telling. I know one of my best pieces on here “Closing the Door” was helped along by my use of present tense. But past tense sometimes creates more narrative flow, it’s common place. If you look at fairy tales or other traditional narrative forms that’s usually the tense that’s used. If you’re going to kill off characters present tense might be better though because otherwise you wonder who’s narrating (at least in first person). They’re telling their tale from beyond the grave? What?

I honestly can’t even process all the reasons why you should choose one over the other, but it’s certainly a big question. Which do you prefer as a writer? What do you see as advantages or disadvantages? Are there stories you liked in present tense vs. past tense? Goodreads has a nice list of present tense books here, but be wary because I noticed there are a few mistakes (like David Copperfield). Always good to hear other’s thoughts on the matter. Just had to share my own on this conversation I overheard.

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I Do Not

Decided to give a snippet of fiction after all the other stuff I’ve been posting lately. I’m taking a fiction writing class right now and we had an exercise the other day supposed to help us work on point of view. We were supposed to describe an incident at a wedding from a variety of different viewpoints (a first person peripheral, third person objective, third person limited). Feel free to do this exercise on your own practicing POV, or just using the prompt to get you started on a story or poem. It can be entertaining actually. If you do write one and want to post it, feel free to link back to my blog. I’ll share any response I get. Anyhow, this was my favorite so I’m sharing it here:

I Do Not

Every little girl is supposed to have big and exciting dreams about her wedding. But after being a part of my cousin Allison’s, I’m not so sure I ever want to get married at all.

Before this summer I’d only ever seen weddings in movies. You know, like when Cinderella gets her shoe on and then she’s in the same dress but it’s white with a veil and she rushes off and loses her shoe again. It’s like the same ending to every princess movie ever. Except Frozen, cause mom says it’s progresso-ive.

I mean most of it was ok I guess. Allison got a ring and she cried. And she asked me to be her flower girl and cried. And she got a dress and cried some more. For being a happy occasion she sure didn’t seem very happy, but mom always shushed me when I tried to ask what was wrong.

Allison walked out looking like a white glitter store had exploded. And she and Gerald did the whole long saying promises about stuff like being sick and being healthy and all that cause apparently sometimes when you’re sick people stop wanting to be married so they have to promise to be married anyways. And they did the gross kiss stuff and everybody clapped for some reason.

But it was during the after part- the inception- that everything went really bad. I had wandered over to try to sneak more dessert while my mom was distracted talking to Aunt Judy. And that’s when I saw it. A man in a tux had his hand on Allison’s arm, holding it tighter than you hold a baseball bat. And Allison’s face had gone all tomato soup colored like mine does when I say something I’m not supposed to.

They were yelling at each other, but I wasn’t sure what exactly they were talking about. Mom always says my leaves-dropping is a bad habit.

“You’re not right for him!” he snapped.

Allison shot him a look. “I don’t know what you want but you leave us alone you hear!”

My forehead crinkled up as I concentrated on listening. I grabbed some more cake, but even as I stuffed big pieces in my mouth I was more focused on what was going on with Allison.

Of course, right around that time Gerald suddenly seemed to appear out of nowhere. Guess he had to swoop in like Superman to save her from the bad man. Except, instead of going all hero on the bad guy, he started yelling at Allison instead and then some at the other guy who was called Ron. And the guy Ron kept saying the word love over and over again to Gerald and Allison started freaking out real bad, especially when Ron said that they’d apparently been sleeping together for years. I didn’t really understand what everyone was so angry about. I have sleepovers all the time and nobody gets mad, but everybody seemed all upset, especially Allison who went from tomato soup to stop sign red, and Gerald started stammering that he could explain.

Either way there was a lot of yelling and people started noticing something wasn’t quite right and soon there was more commotion and hollering. It’s funny cause mom always tells me that I’m not supposed to yell and I’m a big girl so I can talk in a normal voice, but for some reason all the adults got into their yelling and didn’t seem to notice that they were breaking the rules. And next thing I knew Allison was slapping Gerald, and then the guy Ron was punching at Allison, and suddenly he and Gerald were wrestling on the ground like me and daddy always used to do. And Allison was screaming and crying some more, but I wasn’t sure what that meant since she’d been crying all along.

Mom took me home sometime after that. And all I know now is that Allison and Gerald don’t see each other anymore, which is weird since they just got married. So I guess those vows things aren’t really that important after all. And I saw Gerald once at the mall having lunch with Ron, so I guess they still get to be friends and have sleepovers. But mom says I can’t talk about it, and all Allison says when I see her is that men are bass tards, which I still don’t understand and mom gets mad at me whenever I repeat it.

So that’s why I never ever want to get married. But mom says I might change my mind later. I think she’s got it all wrong.

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One Hundred Down- Hundreds to Go

This, as you may, or may not believe it, is my hundredth blog post. Miraculous right? It just makes me think back to little sophomore me starting this out as a school assignment all those years ago (alright two, but seriously who’s counting?)

I suppose in this post I just wanted to reflect some on the never-ending nature of being a writer. It’s a fantastic life. But it’s tiring sometimes. Because it reminds me a lot of having a yard infested with mushrooms…or dandelions…the moment I get one part of the job done, ten more things pop up. As a nanny it seems even more like the joy of parenthood, cleaning and then having ten more things get dirty in the next hour.

Life is like that in some ways, circular in nature. But that doesn’t make it any less exhausting.

The day I finished my first novel I was overjoyed. There was such a level of excitement, unparalleled by most of my other achievements. I was unable to stop scanning through the pages, pausing and reading favorite parts a second or third time However, I soon realized it wasn’t even close to over.

After writing comes even harder processes like editing, revising, query letters, rejection letters, and finally maybe if you’re lucky…the beautiful nature of publication.

Three years down the road and I’m still not published. I still haven’t even begun typing up letters or working back through old pieces with much energy. I have four more completed works to add to my collection, but not one shred of evidence that I’ve truly accomplished anything, at least in the traditional writer sense.

I suppose the one thing that has given me comfort recently was reading about Jane Austen.

I’m not really a lover of Jane overall. She writes beautifully, yes, but I find myself often bored reading through monotonous dinners and lengthy dances. And while I recognize Austen’s irony and wit, I fail to get the same joy many young women do over the most esteemed Mr. Darcy. However, my one small piece of true infatuation with Austen is this: she wrote her books young and she didn’t publish them for many more years down the road, and not without ridiculous amounts of revision.

It can be hard as an author to get done with one task and then have to proceed to working on another. And while I’d set my sights on trying to edit and then move to query letter stages with my last novel, I have been swept up in a senior project of writing a novella over the course of the semester which has hindered my editing abilities. But that hasn’t made me lose hope.

Life is tricky. We do things only to have more work thrust in front of us. We regularly find that the job takes more than one step, and even when finished there’s another job finished. But that doesn’t mean we should give up. It simply means we push forward with more vigor, with more hopes of continuing to improve and learn and grow.

So as I finish the mark of this hundredth post and look forward towards the more to come, I look with joy rather than dread. For there is plenty more time to come, to write, to edit, to submit, to face rejection, and to carry on in the face of hard work.

For more on author’s publishing period see: http://www.shortlist.com/entertainment/books/what-age-did-well-known-authors-publish-their-most-famous-works

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Facing Fears for the New Year

Racing heart, sweating palms, mouth starting to dry up as I lick my lips hopelessly trying to translate lacking moisture. It never seems to get any easier.

I’ve been told it’s foolish. People scoff at me when they find out, raise their eyebrows, chuckle as though wondering if it’s really a joke. It’s not everyday you meet someone who’s terrified of driving…

Fear is an unexplainable strange entity that few have ever been able to give voice to over centuries of pondering. No matter how irrational and odd it seems, there still remains something there, something that can inhibit people’s most basic abilities. Like mine with getting in a car and going a few blocks. It may seem foolish, but it’s there. Especially so with the fact I’m still figuring out how to drive stick.

My parents gave me a manual transmission car for Christmas. I’m grateful, to be sure. But nonetheless, it has been an adventure I’ve taken it up with a great deal of panic and a large number of tears and one too many meltdowns over stalling. Now, you have to understand I bawled the first day of my driver’s ed class, so this is nothing new for me. Every time I get into a supposedly terrifying situation I break down without real explanation. And most everyone looks at me like I’m acting ridiculous. What’s the big deal? People drive everyday!

Anxiety is a nasty beast to be sure, and one I’m still trying to conquer. And coming up to school in my new cute little car, I had trouble facing it without feeling my limbs start tensing up and my heart start acting like it wants to run a marathon. And as I struggled my first day in town to get it over the smallest little hump, I found myself losing hope. That is until my father spoke reason to my emotion ridden brain.

“You do this every single time,” my father said with a sigh. “I remember you crying and telling us you couldn’t go to college the first day you were here. And look at you now, you’re a senior…about to graduate. You have good grades, you’ve been very successful.”

And what he said was true as I recalled back to my tearful first orientation day at my college. And as I thought about it began to dawn on me my patterns of behavior. All throughout my life there have been hills I’ve had to take. And at the bottom of each one I’ve always been terrified, always been uncertain, always managed to stall a few times trying to get up them and sometimes panicked and decided I couldn’t do it. I thought back to my anxiety starting high school, or trying not to cry sitting on a plane going to France by myself, or bawling in the car on the way to volley ball camp because it just seemed too hard.

Life is full of hills. And for some reason I just can’t get it in my mind that it’s the same process for each one, no matter how high or steep or difficult they seem at first. I just need to keep calm and focus my attention on giving the engine enough gas to make it, pull off the clutch slowly without panicking and jerking off midway through.

The same applies to my life as a writer. In many ways when it comes to my writing I’m still that terrified little beginning driver. I have my car, I have my learned skills. But even with all this practice, sometimes it just seems like too much. Hence why I’ve backed down hills like editing my work, or submitting to publishers, or sharing with more people.

But what good is a car if you never drive it? And that has been my constant thought these last few weeks. It does no good to me, or to the car, or to anyone else for that matter. I’m hoping this last semester will be a good time to change that. And I’m starting big.

I’m writing a novella for my senior capstone class. Which means I’ll be sharing with my professors, and classmates, and I’ll have to pull myself out of my little shell and actually be vulnerable. And sure I’m scared, as I always am. But sometimes it’s necessary to face your fears. Again and again in life looking back I’ve wondered why I was so terrified of random moments. And sure, some of those fears never go away…like driving (although it’s somewhat easier), or traveling abroad, or even moving on to a new stage in life (like graduation *shudder*), but at the same time looking back I know now I can order food at a restaurant without getting too nervous (seriously, I was a really awkward kid), I can take my essays in for editing without being too afraid of the criticism, I can make myself do new forms of writing like journalism, or go eat at the cafeteria by myself and be just fine.

And just like I celebrated conquering the little hill near my house, I celebrate the small successes and look forward to conquering the bigger ones as well. So I encourage others to do as well. No matter how timid or shy or scared or anxious or anything else you are, never be afraid to take risks. After all, you miss every publishing opportunity you don’t try for (because hey, the soccer goal metaphor works for us too right?).

What are you afraid of (as a writer, or in life in general)? How have you conquered your fears? It’s a crazy semester but I’m hoping to be back on here from time to time, hopefully updating as I work through my process of actually putting a novella out in the open.

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