Monthly Archives: August 2013

How to Not Apologize for Being Me

00 GIRL-BLOWING-BUBBLES

 

Yesterday I posted this on Facebook:

“I won’t hide or change who I am to serve the whims of someone else. I won’t lie to hide someone else’s untruths, but I also won’t tell everyone everything just because they think they deserve to know. This is my life. I try to live it with kindness, directness, love, and wholly unapologetic. Though I’m not always good at it, I’m working hard to become better, the very best version of myself. And that’s good enough for me.”

Let’s break this bubble down.

 

Permission, perception, acceptance, extreme diplomacy, compromise to a fault, insecurity, fear, apologizing for who I am and what I want.

 

I’ve lived the better part of 40 years in a state of…

“Is it okay with you that I want to be happy? Does it make you uncomfortable when I do <insert dream, goal, passion>? Are you proud of me now? Do you still like me?”

Pathetic. Yeah, I’ll call like it is.

My point is I’ve lived my life hyper-anxiety ridden because I worried about everyone else’s happiness, lifting everyone else up, compromising my ideals and, sometimes, morals to be accepted and loved. I desperately wanted permission from other people to live my life. I wanted respect. I wanted some insane form of puppy dog approval from my masters as if that was the litmus by which I’d find ultimate happiness.

Where did it get me?

Twice divorced mother of four with few people I could count on and no money in the bank to pay for a pack of gum, not to mention important things like say rent… or power… or maybe food.

It also put me in the deepest, darkest bitch of a hole. One so deep I’d actually considered checking out. Dude, I was making plans. Like who would take care of my kid and how to divide up my crap plans. Like measuring how much damage it would do to my kids versus how much damage I was doing to them by being their mother plans.

We’re talking serious freaking abyss of nothingness with no foreseeable way out, save one, and me posed at the ready to take ticket to somewhere better than here. Because, in that moment, anywhere was better than here.

What stopped me? One word, the quietest sound I’d ever heard, not even a whisper. 

No.

For the first time in my life I said it.

No.

 

Then I said it again, a loud hush of hot breath following closely behind.

No.

 

And finally I yelled it out loud into the emptiness of that crushing black place until I heard it echoing back.

 

Next I said another word.

Yes…

to my happiness.

Yes…

 

to giving myself permission to follow my dreams.

Yes…

 

to saying no to all the people who have an opinion about how I should live my life.

 

Here’s the thing, everyone has an opinion about how to live, but that perspective only applies to their life, not anyone else’s. That’s their truth, and I respect the choices they make for their universe. Why? By definition it’s their world, and I don’t have to pay their bills, or raise their kids, or wear their shoes. So, how the hell can I possibly know what’s right or wrong for them? I can’t.

The flip-side.

They can’t possibly know what’s right or wrong for mine. More than that, they don’t have permission to because this is my life. And this is its new doctrine:

 

  1. Don’t ask permission to be happy, but don’t walk all over other people to live my happiness.
  2. Expect respect, but also give it. The caveat is not allowing people in my life who disrespect me via their words and actions.
  3. Be kind always.
  4. Have compassion for those struggling, but don’t take on their struggles as my own. This is a particularly difficult thing for me because I want to save the world *dons Super Woman cape*, but I now recognize I can’t do anything for anyone unless I’m doing it for myself first.
  5. Say no more than I say yes because I’m not every woman and it’s not all in me
  6. Give myself permission instead of asking everyone else.
  7. Opinion isn’t fact.
  8. Stop being afraid of what other people think and do it anyway. (See #1 and #3)
  9. Accept responsibility for allowing people to behave poorly and disrespect me, then move on and stop allowing it.
  10. Always strive to be the very best version of myself.

 

Short and sweet, a list of personal commandments to live my life. These are my truths, born from years of experience, birthed from the joy and pain of four decades. I have no answers moving forward. The outline for my future is a cartoon sketch, which is bound to hold just as much laughter as tears. None of this will be easy, but all of it will be worth it.

And therein lies my ultimate truth.

Only I can craft my happiness and purpose.

Be certain it will involve lots of bubble blowing. 🙂

The questions I leave for you: What does your happiness look like? Are you living it? 

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Categories: belief, certainty, Choice, heart, lettng go, life, love, mistakes, moving forward, pain, relationships, self reflection, the fear that binds us, the next step, the universes we create, what once was | Tags: | 7 Comments

Coaching Philosophy & Empowering Writers

0empowerement-meditation

—to give ability to; enable or permit.

“Wait, no one needs to give me permission to write my book. They’re not in my head. How could they possibly know what it’s supposed to look like?”—what every writer should be saying.

But we don’t. Instead, we spend hours asking every person we know, scouring every blog post and agent site, and second guessing every word we write.  We think we don’t know jack about creating a story and the things we write are total crap because we don’t know jack.  *waves and smiles at the actual guy named Jack who might be reading this post*

This thinking is—

FLAWED.

 

As a writing coach, I hear more reasons why people can’t write than why they can or should write. So, my job, my sole mission is to empower them to take back their power and words. Given the definition, it feels more like enabling, but the truth is most people feel like they need permission to tell their story in their voice until they gain confidence and footing. We’re human; we need an atta boy… or kick in the ass.

My job involves more physics than anything—

A Writer in Motion Tends to Stay in Motion.

 

Meaning if I can help you find the tools to begin writing while quieting the internal and external voices, then you’ll keep writing until you realize the truth:

You never really needed my permission in the first place.

Not the best philosophy for repeat business, but I’m not a crutch. I’m a tool. *giggles quietly because I’m also a three year old at heart*

How do I perform this magical act of getting writers to write?

Well, I break coaching down into a few simple steps… because, like most writers, I have a short attention span:

  1. Accountability—a chapter a week, then two chapters, and finally two+. The reality is most people require an outside force—editors, publishers, coaches, readers—that expect them to finish by a certain date. Sure, one out of ten might be self-motivated, but the rest of us (including me) need deadlines.
  2. Enabling—this is where I give you permission to write your story, your way. We talk about the scope of your world and the characters. We get inside your process to make it stronger, then we work on the first timid steps on the path to your career as an author, which leads to the final step…
  3. Structure—the simplest and most comprehensive way to plot out a novel. It’s not the Holy Grail of plotting. It isn’t even the only plot structure in existence, but it’s a place to start until you find one that works for you. And even better, you can use it for a wide range of work from short stories to novels to entire series. Each have an arc, I explain in non-industry, everyday terms.

The biggest mistake we make as authors is to assume anyone—other authors, editors, coaches—know more about our story than we do. While they can provide insight into structure, grammar, flow, and character/story development, they can’t and shouldn’t decide whether a character is motivated by love or hate or guilt, whether magic is innate or comes from an object, whether a fire or flood or death is appropriate, or anything else that may or may not happen in your story. That’s content, and that’s yours.

Why?

Your Story,

Your Story,

Your Story.

 

By definition, that means only one person can determine the content. YOU. Not your writers’ group, not your friends, not your coach, not your editor. They can tell you what they’d like to see in your story. They can even tell you if it’s coming across the way you intend it to come across. But always remember, everyone has a perspective, everyone has an opinion. Neither are gospel, both will more often than not reflect individual taste, and on rare occasions some might spark ideas that will add to your plot, but the third should be mulled over very carefully. If it doesn’t fit, then don’t be afraid to throw it out.

The truth is you’re gonna second guess yourself, even after you publish. The only choice is to do it anyway. Give it the best you can, make the next one even better, then actually take a moment to be proud of the fact that you did it in the first place.

***

Need a hand? Go here ~~> http://rebeccatdickson.com/write-raw/ and tell Becky you want me.  ; )

Categories: writing, writing is play, Writing Process | Tags: , , | 7 Comments

YOU are the story. Write now.

The story goes that some U.S. Patent official resigned years ago because everything already exists. His alleged reasoning was since every idea has already been generated, no one needed a patent office.

Though this rumor still exists – and I giggle at the thought – it reminds me of something a college professor told me.

“Only eight story lines exist in the history of the world. No story is ever unique. Therefore, nothing new is ever created. We’re simply…

(Read the entire post at http://rebeccatdickson.com/2013/08/08/you-are-the-story-write-now/)
Categories: belief, the fear that binds us, writing, Writing Process | Tags: , | Leave a comment

The Magic of Writing

0 images

 

 

 

Children amaze me. Not just their eternal sense of wonder, but their keen insight into worlds we adults no longer see.

Bug is planning her first series. She’s twelve-years-old. That’s right, not even a teenager and she’s begun to plan out something many adults struggle with daily.

She said to me tonight, “All writers are magicians. We all just have different magic tricks.”

The conversation came about as most do — the two of us planning out mom and Bug activities. She began by suggesting brainstorming session where we help each other through ‘stuck’ parts of our plots. (Yeah, I love this kid.)

I told her, “If you make the world real for your characters, then it will be real for your readers. ”

“Like magic,” she said. “I love writing because we can build entire worlds and make people think they’re real. Like my Warrior Cat books. I believe in Warrior Cat clans because the writers did such a good job with the details. They explained everything like it was real. So it is.”

Out of the mouth of munchkins.

We often forget the power we have as writers. Think about it, we create universes. And done well, people can live in them for a brief time. Done exceptionally well, people find hope and wisdom in the lives of fictional characters and worlds.

But we didn’t come by this knowledge through chance. These are hopes and dreams we carry with us. Wisdom we’ve learned by beating our heads against enough walls until we finally broke through to some sort of truth. Our personal truth.

We only hedge to write what we’ve learned because of fear. Fear of judgement, fear we can’t say it like we’ve learned it, fear someone will stand up and say, “You’re full of crap.”

Kids don’t have this fear because it’s a learned behavior. They don’t yet recognize the voices saying it can’t really happen, something like that can’t possibly exist. Nope, they still wait by the windowsill, looking for Peter Pan to whisk them away. They still believe in a tribe of cats, healing the sick with ancient natural recipes.

They still believe.

Somewhere along the line we adults stop believing in magic. Not all, but most. We got caught up in bills and responsibilities and reality. Yuckers. The magic inside us, the one still seeing fairies dance on toadstools, dissipates or disappears, leaving us neck-deep in what must be real. Because fairy tales are childish things, not fit for grown-ups like us.

This is the death sentence of grown-up reality.

We as writers must step back into childhood, into the magic of other worlds we create in our heads. Though responsibilities linger, we must remember stories are crafted for play, crafted by the magic within us. It’s the only way to make them real for our readers. If we can’t believe that these universes exist, how can we then possibly expect our readers to live in them?

We can’t. More accurately, we don’t have the right to ask anyone to buy into worlds we ourselves don’t completely and totally play in. Otherwise, we run the risk of being hypocrites. Really, think about it, asking someone to accept something we don’t. Just doesn’t sit right, does it?

Pen and paper, keyboard and screen, we are magicians. If only for moment, we conjure through words — our slight of hand the plot twists and stories secrets of characters and worlds. We must be able to step away from our inner perfectionist and all the industry jargon that chokes away the play in our writing.

We must believe fairy tales are real. It’s the only way to absolutely convince our readers that our pens are wands and our universes are playgrounds for their minds.

 

Categories: belief, children, innocence, magic, the universes we create, writing, writing is play | Tags: | 3 Comments

The Shared Intimacy of Books

0 Angels of light

 

 

Angels of Light.

That’s my name for family, friends, and readers alike. Each and every one of you made my modest release of Ring Binder a smashingly successful EVENT.

A conversation with another author reminded me why I write. Sure, there’s the part where characters drive me crazy if I’m away from my keyboard too long, but it’s so much more.

These universes inside my head allow me to reach out to you. Yes, YOU. They’re conversation starters, ice breakers that tear away barriers. Suddenly, we have something to talk about that’s both safe and connective. There’s an inherent intimacy shared when we talk about stories and the process of writing. Those things, once taboo,  now become acceptable conversational content when prefaced with a fictional character or plot. Even the topic of sex feels more acceptable.

Now I go deeper. Into things most readers may not see when they get to the end of Ring Binder. Each character has a quality (or flaw)  I’m attempting to work through in my life. They are as follows.

 

Shanley – the gentle hand that attempts to guide, sometimes too much.
Mr. Bradley – in love with someone who can never truly love him back the way he wants.
Their paths change in Ring Binder because mine has now changed as well. I’ve found balance with those two issues. At least, to the best of my ability.
Allison – everyone telling her that she’s destined for greatness, but no one asking if that’s what she wants.
Nickolas – can be noble, but that truly only applies to those he loves.
Samuel –  whose wisdom applies to everyone, but himself because he’s unable or unwilling to listen to advice the Universe is sending to him, not to the people around him.
Matthew – bubbly and always has a smile, but what people miss is the chaos living beneath. And in the next book, he’ll be ready to show it.
Julian – trying so desperately to act and sound like his mentor. Totally unable to be his own person. By the end of the series, that will change too.
Kynan – did something wrong under the pretense of protecting others. He’ll carry that sin on his soul until death.
This is the intimacy I share with you, my Angels of Light. The parts of me that stay hidden beneath my shell for fear of rejection and judgement. So, I write them, weave them into my stories to bare the softest flesh, my most vulnerable truths.
I don’t write for fame and fortune. I write because it allows me to connect with you. And I’ve found when I’m honestly baring my soul to you the most amazing thing happens. We both find out we’re not alone. These are struggles we all face, but sometimes we need an ice breaker to tear away those barriers.
***
You can find Ring Binder on Amazon.
For my short story, Genesis, that includes content about the beginning of the Binding series not found anywhere else, go to www.eastjasminereview.com and pick-up Vol. 1, Issue 2.

 

Categories: Drive by life | 3 Comments

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