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To Live Up to the Spirit That Is In Me

to live up to the spirit that is in meThis image has been the cover to my Pinterest board about life and writing ever since it was created. Some people have boards about life advice, and some people have boards for writing, but for me the two are so interconnected I didn’t want to separate them.

I’ve been thinking about this quote a lot these days. I’ve been looking over my past posts, and particularly drafts of posts chronicling the long journey towards publication. I’ve had a lot of internal ups and downs, and when I’m finally able to make that exciting announcement about a book deal, I want to be able to share with you how I felt in those moments of hope or despair.

These days, however, mostly what I feel is calm. It’s taken a lot of hard work to get to this point, and today I’d like to talk a little bit about that journey.

When I stepped down from Pub Crawl two years ago, I felt lost. I knew I needed out–out from the cycle of talking about writing instead of actually writing, out from the hamster wheel of social media, out from the sense that I was failing, stagnant, unwanted. I didn’t know it then but I’d reached a plateau with my writing, and the only way I knew how to fix it was to go back to my roots. I needed to be alone, to break my habit of watching TV instead of reading, to focus on me and my writing journey instead of constantly comparing myself to others.

Continue reading “To Live Up to the Spirit That Is In Me”

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A Personal Update

In ACORAS news, I finished the rewrite in 8 days and sent it off to CPs, where it is still resting.

In personal news, my grandmother died and I spent last week in my home state of Washington reconnecting with family, close friends, and showing Chris where I grew up and all the people who are important to me.

I am now a grand-orphan, and my parents are both orphans. It’s a weird thing. It was particularly sad since my grandmother lived with my parents here, though she’d spent all her life in Washington. She died with her children and me in the room, holding her hands, but it was so sad to think of how alone we all could get. Removed from our homes, our life-long friends, our life-partners, a majority of our families… and in the end no matter who’s holding your hand, we all take that final journey alone.

I’m okay. It was the end of a long, slow decline, and is relieving in some ways. And although the circumstances were sad, the return to Washington was very fulfilling.

I got to show Chris where I grew up, not just the physical location but the climate, the beauty and wetness, the landmarks that spark childhood memories, and the extended family that features so prominently in all my photo albums.

Chris and I by the fountain at the Pacific Science Center.

He got to meet my BFF and other close friends, and walk beaches I grew up on. We ate local seafood and bought art, and I got to be an independent adult with my high school friends for the first time ever. Crazy.

Me with Bigfoot at Pike Place Market. I believe in Bigfoot. It’s kind of my thing.

The weirdest part was how all this touring and hanging out separated me from my Professional Self, and even my Writing Self. I wasn’t thinking about my day job, or what was happening with ACORAS, or even about Nameless. I was just being myself, with the people I loved and my memories. It was weird because I thought myself inseparable from my Writing Self. Usually on my trips my books are at the forefront of my mind, because traveling tends to set my imagination free and I scribble new scenes fiercely. This time, not so much.

I’m digging back into my normal life but I haven’t fully recovered. I’m back at work, and reading amazing books (Bitterblue, anyone?) has indeed inspired some new scenes now, but… I still don’t feel quite like my ‘normal’ self.

Part of it has been a very introspective experience that made me confront some of the harmful thought patterns I’ve been holding on to for a few years. I am prone to ‘sorrow in the mind’ — jealousy and obsessive thinking. I can forgive but I can’t forget, though honestly there have been some situations I couldn’t forgive, either. But I’m trying. I don’t want to be stuck in these same patterns forever.

I’m practicing thinking love and wishing happiness towards people who have hurt me. Finding control through letting go. I highly recommend this practice if you’re struggling with something like this in your life. I feel so calm and unburdened by the grudges I’ve carried around with me, and also strangely untethered, as if I have defined myself through my struggles, and now am free of those crutches.  Well, I guess there’s really no ‘as if’ about it.

If you want to know my affirmations I’ve listed them here:

  • I wish you happiness in all areas in your life
  • I wish you success in all your endeavors
  • I hope you receive the rewards you deserve (in a totally non-sarcastic way)

And you know what, I wish these at you guys, too. Maybe I’m just shook up by a death that affected me more than I knew, or maybe I’m still jetlagged, or still in the throes of a salt and sugar coma, but still I mean it. I wish you happiness.

(And I also wish you would read Bitterblue. I was all like, ‘yeah, whatever’ about the hype, but I’m telling you: It’s good. It’s gonna go on my ‘Books I Wish I’d Written’ list).

Chalk hearts outside Pike Place Market.

~

If you want, tell me about a time you had to let go of a past hurt and how it affected you. Or tell me about your grandparents, or what it’s like for you to go Home. Do you have any affirmations in your life?

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Reactions to Jealousy Article

Today I posted an article about Jealousy and Fictionpress over at Let The Words Flow, and it’s gotten some interesting reactions.

Firstly, I didn’t think it was that great of an article. When I showed it to sjmaas a few weeks ago when I wrote it, she told me it was the best I had ever written, and that puzzled me.

Surely Sudden Novel Death Syndrome or Failing Better were better written, definitely longer, and more relevant for the daily life of a writer.

But today I’ve gotten tons of long comments detailing readers’ own experiences with Jealousy. And it’s made me think; I’ve been focusing on the quality of the article, its insight, and its brevity, but there was something I was overlooking: Honesty.

My article is very honest. It shows readers the inside emotions of some former FictionPress giants and how we all, large readership or not, felt the same sting of jealousy. And while we don’t pay it much attention in the mainstream, jealousy is a huge factor of our internal lives, because it blends with another emotion a reader was insightful enough to point out: inadequacy.

I feel inadequate. I bet you feel inadequate, too. I have an agent, but no published book. At any moment I’m in danger of getting all rejections for the book I have out on submissions, and it will never be published, and my agent won’t like the other book I pitched to her, and I’m back at square 1. Even if I get published, at any moment the news could come in that no one is buying or reading my books, or reviewers hate them, and I’ll never make comission and no publisher will ever want to work with me again.

Even the Movers and Shakers of the writing world: William Gibson, Neil Gaiman, JK Rowling, Stephen King, Anne Rice, Nora Roberts, etc. must all feel inadequate. I’m sure that some or all of them have felt jealous of another Mover and Shaker.

Jealousy and inadequacy is a universal, and constant issue. I try to be zen about it and accept that I can do things that no one else can, even while others can do things that I’ll never be able to, but I admit it’s hard. Sometimes I feel like I’m covering my ears, shutting my eyes, and screaming my own written words to myself, just to block everyone else out so I can feel good about what I’ve written.

And sometimes there are good days, when I’m the best writer in the world. And then there are bad days when I suck and I’ll never be published and none of my ideas are commercial enough to sell.

In conclusion, I’m glad that those who read the article felt a sense of community and kinship with other writers, some of whom they might have been jealous of in the past. I guess I need to never overlook the honesty and the human element.