On borrowing trouble

Could VS. Should and the Price Of Your Dreams

(pages 11 and 12) EXERCISE: What is the worst thing that could happen if you become a writer (and how likely is that to happen)?

What is the worst thing that could happen if you DON’T become a writer (and how likely is that to happen)?

dreaming dogOh! A variation on my favorite game! I’m serious, it really is my favorite game. Many people consider the second question to be ‘borrowing trouble’ but it’s something I’ve done for a lot of years.

Imagine the worst possible thing that could happen to me. Really pull out the stops and try to envision the worst thing ever that very well could happen in regards to a situation. Then ask myself this: Can I handle it? Can I handle that very possibly the worst thing ever?

If the answer is yes, then I’m golden. Because I know I can deal.

If the answer is no, it’s time to whip out ye ol’ pen and paper and start brainstorming and dreaming. If the worst possible thing that could happen does, what can I do to minimize damage, pull the situation around, make it work in my favor?

Once I have a master plan in the event the worst thing ever happens, then I slip into the yes answer and the yes mode of being in a position where I can handle it. I’m back to being golden again.

That’s the general answer. Now, the specific answer.

What’s the worst thing that could happen if I become a writer? I’m ravaged by reviewers and all the readers ever in the world hate me, hate my books, hate my dog, hate my life, hate how I look. How likely is it to happen?

Well, it’s unlikely that all reviewers and readers everywhere will have that degree of hate, so, if I can handle the smaller degrees of it, I should be okay.

What’s the worst thing that could happen if I don’t become a writer? Then I never finish a book. I never finish a book and put it out there and I move on to other things that I derive equal happiness and joy from. And that’s a likely thing that could happen.

So the key distinction is do I want that to happen? The answer is no. I write because I have stories I want to share. I can’t say the money is good because, let’s be real, it’s not. So there better be something else in there that I can latch onto.

Sharing gives me pleasure. Sharing gives me happiness. Sharing gives me joy. The worst thing that could happen if I don’t become a writer? I have less to share with the world.

That saddens me, which in turn, gives me thrust to pursue it. What do I have to lose? Not a thing.


something something rolling stones

How I Found Myself Here, or Why I Became a Writer

(page 9) EXERCISE: Answer the following question in between 100 and 250 words: I’m taking out the words ‘limit’ because I’m a wordy person. I type, think and get it down until I’m done.

What obstacles have you overcome in your life to get where you are, and what obstacles do you foresee facing as you pursue your dream of writing?

rockThe obstacles that keep me from getting anywhere in my life? Pretty short list. I’m lazy as hell. It applies to everything in my life.

I don’t like doing things, I like having done things.

The trick is to bridge that gap between doing and having done. It’s where I need the biggest kick in the pants.

Oh sure, I know intellectually that my novel won’t write itself. I’ve heard all the rahrah of Ass in Chair. 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration. See, I know that. It doesn’t make getting my ass into my chair any easier. Momentum is a far bigger impediment to my achieving anything than any inspiration.

Once I get my momentum moving, I’m a steamroller. I’m hard to slow down. It’s getting the motion from being at rest. Gravity, inertia…I weigh a ton so the lever to unwedge me needs to be really long.

So the key is, how to overcome this obstacle that is clearly going to impede me? That’s the real crux of the problem and one that I will continue to examine as I move through Mugging the Muse.

And away we go!

I’ve learned this about writing — if you will not put yourself in a position to fail, you cannot succeed. — Holly Lisle, Mugging the Muse 2nd ed.

pen and paper

Since I don’t know how long or how intensive these posts will be, it’s hard to predict how frequently I’ll update. Right now, I’m shooting for once a week, saving up all my work from Mugging the Muse and dumping it into a blog post.

I reserve the right to change my mind if it becomes too much for one day, up to and including more frequent posts. This will be a process in progress.

Right. On to Mugging the Muse. 

So much for starting on Friday, though. We were without power for much of yesterday and so I couldn’t post. I still did the exercise from Mugging the Muse. Pen and paper for the win. Just add seat by the window for light and I was good to go.  Here is the answer, typed up word for word with no editing.

Everyday Courage and the Writer

(page 6) EXERCISE: Answer the following question in between 100 and 250 words:

What scares me the most when I consider writing for a living, and WHY does it scare me?

Oof. She starts off the bat asking the one question where I feel I suffer the most. I’m not sure I can even put it into words.

A lot of it is this flying without a net. I’m all about being safe. Which is what this entire exercise is about. Learning to do what I love and realize that being safe leads to comfort. Being in comfort means I don’t stretch myself.

Definition time. Writing for a living means, to me, making my primary living as a writer. And writing for a living is self-employment. There is no job that allows me to write novels and offers a stable health plan, handles taxes and 401k and the like. I’m responsible for my own taxes, my own social security, my own health plan. There’s that netless situation now.

Because I have no idea what I’m doing! That leads to more fear. What if I do it wrong? What if I fail?

That’s it, isn’t it? Fear. It all comes down to fear. Fear is uncomfortable. Fear is the unknown. Fear is being outside the comfort zone and if I’m nothing else, I’m a creature of comfort. But I can’t reach my goals if I’m comfortable. Extending outside my comfort zone is reaching into the unknown. The unknown is full of fear.

The thing about cycles, though, is that to get anywhere, sometimes you have to step out of the cycle. Step out on faith.

Easier said than done.

Yet, here I am. I’m using Mugging the Muse and my love to let it all hang out to shift me out of comfort. It’s terrifying. My heart is pounding and my mouth is dry. It’s funny because I don’t have another choice. Either I get out of my comfortable complacency or I’ll never achieve my dreams.

Fears at war.

I love it when a plan comes together

ImageAfter a rough couple of months getting my personal life squared away and my professional goals back on track, I am at a place where I can do something I’ve wanted to do for years now.

It’s a very exciting time. Exciting because I’ve managed to pull together the project I want to complete to launch this blog.

I’m not new to writing and I’ve certainly finished things before, although I have not sold yet. I have high hopes this will change if I can stay focused and continue moving forward, even if there doesn’t appear to be any forward movement on the surface.

Hence this blog was born and this project finally gets underway.

In real time, I’m just a no one. An aspiring writer who cut her teeth on fanfiction in an obscure fandom almost a decade ago and for reasons had to put writing away for a time. My life is now coming back in full, and I’m able to forge ahead. Where I didn’t have the tools and the confidence to try this before, I find that being a little older, a little wiser has given me wisdom (I hope) and experience to reach out for my dreams. What I lack in wisdom, experience or even information, I have the tools necessary to find what I need.

See, I’m a How-To book junkie. I love to read how-tos. Not just for writing. None of my hobbies can escape my obsession; from my addiction to how-tos. Not just books, either. Web blogs, creative courses, advertising pdfs used to entice the casual web browser to sign up for their mailing lists…I have read so much that my thumbdrive is groaning beneath the weight of the thousands of kilobytes of information available to the aspiring writer. Politely, we won’t mention my other hobbies….

There comes a time, however, that I need to stop reading and start implementing.

Now is that time.

And since I have all these books and this advice on writing, specifically, I have decided to utilize all the information at my disposal. The first being Holly Lisle’s Mugging the Muse. I’ll use this blog to keep up with my progress through it as I work through her exercises to get thoughts and ideas in order to get my first novel written.

So this  will serve as a record of my journey. For all internetlandia to see, I’m documenting it all. My successes, my failures, my plans, my direction changes, here as a reminder that I want to do this. I want to do this. 

Starting Friday, my work through of Holly Lisle’s Mugging the Muse.

Image  © Evhen | Dreamstime Stock Photos & Stock Free Images

Back in the saddle

Getting set up and then having to slow down for life has a way of destroying momentum. There has to be a better way. Sadly, I’m not the sort who does well with the stresses of family and holidays. It takes far more emotional energy that I have to spare on many days.

This directly affects my writing because writing, for me, is very intense on an emotional level. I don’t get caught up in Golden Word Syndrome, nor do I make the mistake of thinking my writing is “my baby” but when I’m in The Zone of writing, my emotions give me the steam and momentum to get the words down on the page.

With momentum gone, it’s a devil of a time getting it back. I’m hoping I have it. Especially in light of the fact that I’ve spent the past hour trying to get wordpress to even post this.