On the eve of NaNoWriMo, I come with cool announcements. At the pressing of the universe, I am setting up a mailing list in December. Why? The time has come dearest ones. It truly has.
December 2019 is the foretaste of all things [officially] JBHarris in 2020 going forward. So, here is what you can expect:
1.) More Writing. This is is gimmie. The clip that I am on, I need the space. If you follow the email list, you will be abreast of all updates, new work and release information.
2.) Collaboration Info. As you all know I do not write in a vacuum. There are other writers I work with, and want to work with me. So, since you love me like you do, the best thing I could do is to let you see behind the scenes stuff! It’s already lit.
3.) Professional Stuff. There are things that I am working on now that I can’t go into now, but I will next year. I will be freelancing and creating, of course. But there are other professional opportunities that are coming, being given, and that are being thrust upon me. Being apart of the mailing list will keep you abreast of everything.
I know that you’re thinking about what I’m going to name this Email list, and what I’ll call this emerging tribe of you beautiful people that follow me. Well, since I am a fan of Cersei Lannister, the Mother of Dragons. And the blog is I Breathe Fire., I’m toying with two of them:
Option 1: Email list: The Desk of JBHarris
Option 2: Email List: The Pen of JBHarris
Followers: Raconteurs. Google it. That or Dragons. Not sure yet. But watch this space, dearest ones. You ain’t seen nothing yet.
Let’s talk about why you stare at the pages or screens.
This is done for two reasons:
1.) You don’t know what to say.
2.) You are scared of what you might say.
As a writer, some things are inevitable. Criticism and second guessing and deconstruction are some of them. Yet, write anyway. Good writing, bold writing is a little scary. You are pulling something out of the creative ether and bringing it to reality–that alone is scary.
But do it any way.
Don’t allow a screen or a blank page to stop what you want to create. You are your first audience.
There is a bravery that comes with just being you. Of owning all of who you are, all you have been through, and all you will become.
Being you–and no one else–is hard.
Impostor syndrome is defined as “a psychological pattern in which an individual doubts their accomplishments and has a persistent internalized fear of being exposed as a “fraud”. Despite external evidence of their competence, those experiencing this phenomenon remain convinced that they are frauds, and do not deserve all they have achieved. Individuals with impostorism incorrectly attribute their success to luck, or as a result of deceiving others into thinking they are more intelligent than they perceive themselves to be. While early research focused on the prevalence among high-achieving women, impostor syndrome has been recognized to affect both men and women equally (Wikipedia).”
As a writer, as a creative person, you will have these moments or cycles of not feeling ‘good enough’ or ‘worthy enough’ to do write as you want or like you want.
It’s scary. I, too, in the early part of deciding to pursue a career as a writer, thought about this. I had these patterns. I wanted to be success to accompany this decision. But in that, in doing the other writing-teaching that I do? I had no confidence in it! What does that mean? It meant that I thought having a degree validated what I was doing. And without it, I felt like I didn’t deserve any type of success that could come with it.
It was my husband that reminded me the degree didn’t define my talent, or determine its course. The talent determined everything! The vessel that houses the talent determines its journey!
When he said that to me, my anxiety settled. I could do more, and do more confidently as I did more speaking, writing or teaching.
You determine your success; it is not determined by other people. The accolades are not a substitute for self-worth or self-esteem. Writing is a hobby/career where you are judged by people who don’t know you or have any concept of what you desire to create long-term.
However, I implore you, create anyway. It is the work that is needed in the world–your work is needed in the world! As you create, as you build, as you make space, celebrate the wins. Don’t just make To-Do Lists, and tick off what you complete.
Own the title you give yourself–you’re working so hard for it.
This acronym is something which I think applies to writers. Moreover, this acronym can be constructed this way as well.
FEAR: False Energy Against Reality.
For writers, with writing, FEAR in both forms are eventual enemies of any creative person. However, there are three ways to combat these.
1.) Writing schedule. There is a portion of work, of writing work, which is demanding. It is rigorous. It is disciplined. When the Grand Dame Octavia Butler said, sometimes as a writer, you would rather clean toilets than write (this is true, but I digress). But having a set time, a schedule, will help you organize your thoughts and help you through the tough times of your works in progress.
*Note: I know life is hard, and scheduled time to write can be a dream. But you, as the writer, you have to make time. Even if it’s ten minutes a day. Or for that week. At least write the idea down, don’t lose it!
YOU MAY NOT GET IT BACK!
2.) Frequent reading. Writers are readers. It is in the pace and peace of reading that can prepare you to write. Or to continue to write. Reading allows the mind freedom to wander, to know, to question. Reading gives connections, fuels imagination and allows growth and space to write–in another voice, vantage point or genre.
If you can’t write, read.
3.) Step away from the work when needed. Sometimes the writing is hard. Sometimes the words don’t come, or come as you want. But what I want you to know if that if you need to walk away from the work, you can. You should. Sometimes, the best thing to do is to take a break and regroup!
The regrouping can be a quick as a walk outside, a drive around your block or a binging on your streaming service of choice. Having your mind occupying another space or place, can relax you–even help you to examine what hang up you have about what you’re working on. Never dismiss the rest you need as a writer. It doesn’t deter from your talent to rest.
Writing is like traveling through a forest. There is a trail, and you must find it. The great thing is, the comforting thing is, as a writer you can make one. Or another. You are never trapped.
You have all these lovely, deviant, dark, horrifying, sexy, funny ideas in you head. Yet…you doubt if you can write them down.
Where did all that faith go?
Where did all that passion fall to?
Where is your motivation?
First, don’t panic.
Second, ignore it.
You heard what I said. Ignore the doubt. You do this by writing anyway. This is the mystery of writing! You have to be willing to be two things:
Okay with being uncomfortable
As a writer, you need to be okay with being uncomfortable. One of my writing/snark heroes is the incredible Luvvie Ajai. She was hesitant in embracing the title of writer as well. It can be heavy; there are certain connotations that come along with it. There are demands, expectations, joys unprecedented–but doubts that you may have never known.
So, when I ask you the question, what are you afraid of? I have asked myself the same thing. With every new project. With every Work In Progress. On every blog post. On every thing I write.
Herein lies the rub: not every writer has the same doubts. Or will have the same way of dispelling them. However, the doubt as I said earlier this month, keeps you humble. It keeps you working at your craft. It keeps you learning–it is never to paralyze you.
Don’t let the doubt paralyze you.
What is in you head, can be pushed through your hands.