Good morning readers!
I hope everyone is having a wonderful morning, thus far. This morning when I woke up, I finished reading a book called, ” Writing Down The Bones” by Natalie Goldberg. It’s a book about channeling yourself with your writing, doing writing exercises, and knowing your true voice as a writer. In some areas the book was dry, but I took the time to really read the words instead of it actually being good or bad. Natalie uses many examples of her writing and in her classes that she taught, her students were able to be vulnerable. Of course you have the awkward silence when you are around complete strangers and you have to introduce yourself to everyone. I often get anxiety about any form of public speaking, but hey, I still do it.
What surprised me was…
when Natalie ended the book she stated that she went out for a glass of wine and 2 scoops of coffee ice-cream. She sat to herself and smiled that she completed a novel. The next morning she cried for hours. Then she called her father and said that she was jumping off of the Empire State Building. Her father said, ” Does it have to be that high?” What I liked that this writer was able to tell the readers her emotion based on a big accomplishment.
I wondered to myself, ” Wow. Did she really kill herself?” I don’t know the answer but Natalie did pass away I believe. This book was published in the 80’s and I didn’t see it then, but I do understand why my sorority sister gave it to me as a gift. Like all writers we are so up and down about our craft, life, etc. We want so badly to be secretly accepted that it’s not even funny. We don’t like the limelight, but through our words (if we sell well or our name is in the credits of that film) we are popular. People are able to see our work and actually like it. A writer can still be famous, without being in the limelight. People are loving what you write, not who you are. Paparazzi won’t follow you, your life’s success’s and failure won’t be spread across magazine for the world to read. Your secrets, success’s and failures are all your own. Most people don’t care when you do either one. They just want that next book, article, or screenplay that’s SO good. Then I ask myself, ” Once I have written that best-seller or that award-winning screenplay, what’s next?” To go back to the drawing board and try again, just to be accepted into the elite social pool, yet again, just because of my name?”
Then it hit me. As I reflected on my life in general and as a writer, I realized why I hadn’t been working on my screenplay or novel. You see, I have really awesome days and really bad ones. Only a writer will understand this. I have been writing since I was 15 years old and when I became published in 2008, I was ecstatic! I sold tons of books, people loved it, and I made lots of money. But, then the hype was over. I was being pressured to write more books, which I did. I was expecting the same hype-ness that I had with my first book for my 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8th. I didn’t get it. I didn’t get the sales to go along with anyone more, either. ” Have I lost my mojo?” Why aren’t people dying to buy my work as they were when the first book came out?” I will tell you why, ” You are only as good as your first writing.” It’s like a person trying a drug for the first time, they love the way it makes them feel. They feel free, calm, without a care in the world, they are so happy and feel on top. Once the high wares off, they have to buy more drugs in order to chase that same feeling that they had, the very first time they tried it. They never get that same exact first feeling. Instead, they feel good, but not great, then okay, but not good, then fine, but not ok. This is where an addict and addiction become unbearable. As a writer, we are still chasing that first high, so we write more books to feel as important as we did with our first novel. Shame on us for wanting to feel good about our efforts! How selfish of us, writers!
It hit me…
I haven’t been writing because I have a block up. I’m afraid to both succeed and fail. Now, it doesn’t keep me from trying to succeed. I have 4 completed screenplays that I pitch often to producers, companies, etc. They aren’t being requested and again I’m being rejected. Since I’m having a ton of rejections, I feel, ” Why write new material if the old material is still new and no one will pick it up?” This is my current mindset. Is it right? Absolutely, not. But, it’s real and it’s my feelings. I am entitled to them no matter what anyone else thinks. So, it’s like, ” Oh well, I’m not writing.” The same with my novel that was suppose to be finished over a year ago, my TV pilot that I wrote, and my treatments to some shows that I wrote as well. I had to come to terms with my writing and my self.
Me: I hate writing knowing that I am being rejected by every Tom, Dick, and Harry that I reach out too. But, then as I finished the book this morning, I said to myself, ” Well, I haven’t pitched to Arnold, Billy Bob, or Frank, yet.” As writers we only need that one ” yes” and that’s all it takes. For the last couple of months, I didn’t think my work was worthy of a ” Yes” because no was in the mind of those other people. I’m changing my thought process. I will continue to write and continue to put myself out there, by putting my work out there. All I can keep doing is try. Sure, when I read every rejection I take my pillow and scream into it, maybe even shed a few tears, hey readers, I keep it real. There have been times when I just sobbed because life isn’t going the way I want it too. But, it’s life. There are ups, downs, sideways, and under-neath’s. But, even with all of that I manage to keep writing. Someway. Somehow. If I don’t work on my novel or screenplay, I write this blog, a Facebook post, a journal, a tweet, someone from my new school. All in all, I still write. No one can take that title away from me whether I publish something soon or not. Writing is what I will always do to express myself and tell other people’s stories.
Getting my PhD…
When I got accepted into my PhD program, I was surprised. I was surprised that I got in, but it’s like everything fell into place. I was able to get all of the forms in and even my tax info ( I never know what it is). When I got the acceptance letter, I was so excited. Then my excitement turned to nausea, and then I cried. I cried for several reasons. I can actually achieve such a milestone as to getting accepted, I will be the only one of my immediate family with any degree let alone a PhD. I was also afraid, afraid to fail. But, I won’t fail because I’m determined to succeed. To prepare myself I started reading academic journals, networking with other PhD students, and reading up on dissertation topics. How exciting! I’m living proof that you can do what you put your mind too. That one “yes” of being accepted into this new venture is just the force that I needed. When you are afraid, ask yourself why, channel the fear, and turn it into a positive. Be excited of what’s next to come in your life instead fearing failure.
They say, ” A journey of a thousand miles starts with just one single step!” Take the journey for what it is and when you get to the destination, enjoy it.
Question: Are you afraid to fail or succeed?