I’ve been musing on the lies that we, or I rather, tell myself. “I’ll send it out when I’m braver.” “I’ll work on social media when I get a new phone and have the spare memory to run Facebook.” “I’ll work on getting healthy in the spring when it’s easier.”
Well a day of reckoning has arrived. I got a new phone today. There’s space for apps and I don’t have that “I can’t do it on my phone, so maybe I shouldn’t even try to have a social media presence” excuse anymore.
That and I realized the whole “wait ’til I’m braver” thing is a load of shit. So. Here I am.
My plan is to post at least twice a week. And actually do stuff on my Facebook page. And as far as Patreon goes, I have to be brave enough to believe the things I post have value. And everyone supporting me either does it because they believe in me or they believe in what I do. Or they’re just super nice and neither of those things is true the same way I buy lemonade from lemonade stands, then dump it out around the corner. 😂😂
In any case, it’s time to pick this up. It’s time to stop being so scared. At least it’s tine to stop being so scared I don’t do what I need to. I’m gonna be back and I’m never gonna leave.
This is not something I generally admit to, but it seems like all of the books I’ve been reading lately have been saying, “Ask for the goddamn help.” I hate asking for help. But, seems like I need to ask for help to learn how to ask for help? 🤔
Right now I’m in the middle of Brené Brown’s The Gifts of Imperfection. I just thought it was time to read one of her books. I’ve seen her TED talk, read articles by and about her. I’m pretty bad about reading book descriptions (which is how I ended up buying a romance novel with my daughter’s name as the heroine. ickety ick ick) so I just figured it would be good advice for how to deal with my own perfectionism.
Well well, what a nice surprise for me. This damn book is all about asking for help and knowing that you’re an imperfect person and asking for help is a perfectly reasonable, human thing to do. That asking for help is part of what makes us human.
And I’ve read Amanda Palmer’s The Art of Asking. That was helpful too. I’ve been doing all this self-help reading lately. Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In. That Deep Work book I mentioned the other day. All of them are pushing me towards realizing I can’t do it all myself. I definitely need help to get into that mental space, both to create and then to hone. Sure I can write some wacky romance novel, but unless I have space and the energy to revise and clean it up, it won’t be anything worth reading.
My quest for this month is to ask for help. And, perhaps more importantly, feel like I deserve to be helped. That I’m important enough to help. That I’m not just a bother. I feel like I’ve been disappointed so many times before by asking for help that I’m only setting myself up for even more disappointment. But, it’s a new month. And it’s a new thing to learn. And accept, perhaps.
This feels terribly squidgy to leave up on the internet. But. I can’t be the only one who feels like this. I can’t be the only one who can’t and won’t ask for help. So here it goes.
How do you ask for help? And how do you get over this initial ohmygodican’tpossiblyaskanyoneforanything hurdle?
My kid has been watching Trolls. Thankfully, it’s slowed down, but my goodness, for a while it was on all the time.
Since one of my favorite hobbies is overanalyzing things, I spent my precious time cuddled with my child pondering this movie.
A quick overview of the movie for anyone lucky enough not to have seen it: Bergens eat trolls because eating trolls makes them happy. Nothing else can make them happy. The trolls managed to escape their years of captivity and now live hidden and free in the forest. The bergens manage to find them again and terribleness ensues.
Now, the male lead of the movie had his grandmother kidnapped and presumably eaten by the Bergens. She was trying to save him and got caught instead.
The rest of the trolls are terrible to him. He experienced some terrible trauma. And instead of doing anything that would be remotely helpful, they just make it worse. Huge, noisy parties, ransacking his bunker, and general asshattery to this poor troll.
The message of this movie seemed to be “Just get over it.” Or maybe “Love will help you get over this life-changing trauma.” In either case, they did a terrible job of it. What is this going to say to children who have experienced trauma like this? If they can’t ~find the love~ or whatever to make their lives normal? “Maybe I should sing more?” “Maybe I should hug more?” “Maybe I should realize my life-changing trauma doesn’t matter to anyone else and I should just shut up about it although it has fundamentally changed me?” Like, I don’t get it.
I’ve always tried to treat trauma gently in my writing. I’ve tried to use the trauma my characters experience to work through some of my own issues. But I’ve never tried to gaslight my characters. I’ve never tried to tell them “Just rub some proverbial dirt in it, you’re fine” and have them just move along with their life. No, trauma is this weird tricky thing to work through. I feel terrible for this troll. The rest of their troll society lives in denial about their societal trauma (Our entire race was enslaved and eaten for God knows how long) and throwing loud crazy parties with fireworks and completely unprepared for an attack. And this one troll is trying to stay safe. They’re awful to this poor traumatized troll who is trying to keep them safe.
I haven’t been searching the rest of my kid’s movies for terrible trauma treatment, but I have a feeling I’m going to be finding more now that it’s at the forefront of my brain. It’s interesting to see how trauma is treated and I’ll be curious to point out more as I find it.
The one upside to this is the Hair Up in the Air song is GREAT for being stuck in rush hour traffic because you can just say “GO GO GO” and “We ain’t never gonna stop!” like a million times as you try to get to the airport to pick up your husband because he was in Fresno again. So high five to them for that.
Have there been any movies that struck you as odd or insensitive how they’ve treated trauma? I’m just curious about it now.
As I was putting on my facepaint this morning, I realized waxing my eyebrows is like revising my novel. Yeah, it hurts and I cringe and my face gets a bit red and puffy, but I feel better and I look better. And we could have this whole talk about the patriarchy and beauty standards or whatever, but, it’s nice to feel nice.
And as far as the novel revision goes, yeah, it’s hard and it hurts sometimes. But you rip off that strip of wax and all these stray words come off. It’s clean and sleek.
This revision of Canary is coming along. I am ripping out so many stray hairs. I’m still using the big strips of wax. The tweezers will be coming out soon. But for now, I’m looking at it in a new way. And, while it hurts, I can see an end product. I’m feeling it today.
And, like eyebrows (mine at least), if I rip too much out, just give it a little time and it will grow right back (or maybe just check my Trash folder in Scrivener. It’s all the same 😉 )
And my enormous eyes are terrifying and hysterical at the same time, so I’m going to leave them 😂🤣😂🤣
PitMad is next Thursday. I’m trying to get Canary in shape for it. But it’s such a slog. And I’ve been in a funk and blah blah blah.
It’s fun and it’s hard and it’s scary trying to get it ready by then. I don’t get many external deadlines in my little writing world. There’s no one saying, “Do this now!” I was the worst procrastinator in high school and college. The fact I even managed to graduate from either is kind of shocking sometimes. Like, how’d I squeak through?
So I’m working and the inevitable this is hard. Do something else. You still have a week to finish is clambering all over my head and face.
But. I know I can do this. I know I want to do this. And if I want my dreams to stop being dreams and starting being goals, well, dammit. It’s time.
(and I don’t know how many times I have to say, “It’s time to stop being scared” but it looks like I need to say it another time or two)
Over the past year, with my writing group, I have learned so much. My writing buddies have discovered I have a hankering for terrible books and every time they run across one, they’ll tell me about it and I’ll read them. Or, at least the first third when I’ve had my fill and have to set it down shaking my head. I’ve run across some doozies.
The upside of this, I have recognized so many problems in my own writing because of it. I’m revamping my Upcoming Titles page. Those titles I just swooped off the page were pretty terrible and not just Impostor Syndrome terrible. Legit garbage.
In any case, I might have a stack of eighteen manuscripts, but most of those deserve to stay there. I wouldn’t say it hurts, quite, to scuttle them. I’ve been KonMari-ing my house and it feels so good to clean out a junk pile. It feels good to put those manuscripts aside and know they’re done. I might rewrite them someday because I still love their characters, but that’s that.
From that stack, I think six are good enough to revise. Some of that might be my Impostor Syndrome, and some of that might be “Oh, I think I read something like that in one of those terrible books my friends throw at me.”
In any case, I’ll be updating titles and teasers. I’m curious to see where my writing career is going, but until I get to it and start working at it like work, well, it’s just going to stay right here.
I have a feeling I’m going to go indie. The market for romance has such a big indie component that it would make sense just to stay there.
So. I’ve started working toward it. My RWA chapter had a presentation on setting up newsletters. I’ve got a PO Box. I’ve got my url here. I’ve been doing all this backend stuff. BUT now I need to implement it. I need to use all these cool tools I’ve been collecting and actually do it.
I just sent up my Patreon. So many people have been telling me to do it for so long. And now, there it is. I can’t decide if I’m more terrified no one supports me or if people actually think I’m worth backing. Either way, it’s a scary proposition.
And if I want to do this, I actually have to do it. I can’t just write. I can’t just do this backend stuff. I need to do all of it. Even the hard parts. The “putting my work out there and having other people read it” parts.
I’m finally doing it. I’m going to tackle the hard part. Rafiki is right. It is time.
Because when's the last time you trembled from delight?