Tag Archives: new york times bestseller

The Pressure

There is so much going on inside my head right now, inside my heart. All I really want to do is run away to the ocean and sit and think. No, strike that, I want to sit and NOT think. It has been four days since I worked on the novel. I am frustrated beyond frustrated with all of these other things that I have to attend to, take care of, address, fix, make work, do. I am distraught that I cannot allow my time to be filled with what makes my heart happy. Heck, I can’t even find a half hour to do what makes me happy. Well. I could find it, but I cannot allow myself to do it because I feel so God-awful GUILTY. Ew, what a hideous word. And completely self-inflicted, this guilt. No one makes me feel this way. I make me feel this way.

I cannot write because I have too much else to do that should take priority, yet I am barely able to pick away at what I’m supposed to be doing because all I can think abut is what I want to be doing. This inability to focus is prolonging each task, stretching it out, stealing my minutes. What a bloody effing copout.

This morning we talked about the pressure I put upon myself. I am the biggest obstacle in my life. I literally cannot get out of my own way – I am tripping over myself, I am standing in front of what I want to do, I am counting squirrels instead of focusing on what I need to do because I cannot do what I want to do because “guilt.” Is this human nature? To be this pissed off all the time over something that is completely within your own control if only you could get your shit together and control it?

Today’s suggestion, today’s word of advice: A systematic approach. Be systematic.

Okay, we’ll try that.

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Like-Minded

Realized something today. Actually, it was about 60 seconds ago, and I simply had to share this brilliant epiphany with you (whoever you are, dear reader).

So, just a bit ago Jack J. Binding, Writer followed my blog. It’s been a bit scary getting “followed” by various writers since I started tagging my blog entries. I’ve had a blog before, but I didn’t share it because I was, apparently, scared out of my ever-loving mind that someone would actually read it. My heavens, they would read it. I would have let my thoughts out for the world to see. I would be bare, vulnerable, PUBLIC. And – holy mother of all things holy and unholy and everything in between – I would be subject to criticism. Writing is precious. It is my baby. I didn’t want anyone telling me I have an ugly baby, alright? Keep it to yourself, thank you very much.

I don’t mean that. But I did. I used to. And okay, maybe I do still mean it just a little bit.

But here is the thing, and thank you Jack J. Binding for unintentionally alerting me to this fact: If I don’t get this all out of my head and into a place where others can read it and yes, actually INVITE readers into my space, I’m just keeping a diary. That act is not, technically, going to help me achieve my grand goal of finishing the novel and becoming a NY Times Bestselling Author.

Confession: A deep and ridiculous fear of criticism has kept me quiet for four decades. FOUR DAMN DECADES. That quiet is kind of lonely, to be truthful. And how terrifying it is to feel that you may not succeed at this one thing that has always mattered more than any other. So you just don’t speak of it. You sit with it, all alone and pondery and moody and broody. Turns out I’m really not alone at all. When you start talking, like-minded folks pipe up – not to make you feel less alone, but to say, “Hey, I see you. Do you see me?” Yes, I see you. I do. Thank you.

I’ve cut-and-pasted a particular paragraph that shouted at me just now, ripped right from the page of this blog post: Planning a Novel and Getting Wrecked

“I came to the conclusion that you have to write for yourself. If you don’t want to read the final product, then sure as shit no other fucker will. Create something you love first of all, everything after that is just a bonus.”

Create something that you love. I mean, it’s simple – but it’s brilliant.

That’s all. I just wanted to share this with you. Whoever you are.

Carry on.

p.s. I continued to read JJB’s post before I posted this just to be sure it didn’t have something horrific attached to it that I might have missed (who knows what I was worried about). Oh good Lord. He used the same “ugly baby” phrase as I did. Either I’m in love or I’ve found my people.

p.p.s. Just kidding about the in love thing, JJB. Don’t fret.
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Coffee Talk

It’s good to have someone to talk to. It can change your perception, simply having the ability to get something out of your head and into the light of day. I don’t know about anyone else, but what goes on inside my brain can be far darker than anything I project into the universe. It’s as though I feel an obligation to shine, and frankly, that’s kind of a shitty way to go through life. You aren’t obligated to smile at the world. But you darn sure better know that you’re responsible for your own happiness.

Part of the darkness that lives inside my brain is an untidy collection of what I have deemed monstrous failures. They aren’t filed neatly in little cabinets along a wall with the accomplishments that I tend to keep out of sight. No, these “failures” are piled on a corner of the desk in a terrifying, towering stack of pure yuckiness. That stack is intimidating. It’s quite tall. And it talks. It drawls creepily, “You won’t succeed. You will not accomplish your goals. Here is the proof.” Then it laughs like this “MUAHAHAHAHAHAHA.”

So this morning during #CoffeeWithPatrick, my perception was shifted. That stack isn’t a pile of failures. Good Lord, NO! It is a manual. It’s proof of the lessons that I’ve learned. It shows I have tried, tried again, and carved a new path with each effort until I have found one that works. I am comfortable with admitting that I have been moderately successful in most everything I have attempted – I haven’t actually FAILED at anything, if I am honest with myself. Sometimes I have said things I wish I hadn’t. Sometimes I have done things I would really like to take back. Sometimes I fall, and then I get back up. If I didn’t, well, maybe that would be something I could accurately label “failure.”

Oh, and that scary voice belonging to the stack? Yeah, I’m the one who gave it that voice. I’m in control over what that pile of memories actually is – a tower of terrifying failures or a collection of things I’ve learned along the path of life. Grab hold of this: I am responsible for my own happiness, and THAT obligation means gathering these things that are hiding in the dark and bringing them out into the light so that I can see that they really aren’t all that scary.

Go have coffee with a friend. Confess what’s lurking in the dark. Look at it from a different angle. And then you can really shine.

Do not dwell on the perceived failures