Join the conversation

I want to join the conversation. That’s what I keep reminding myself on days where I groan and shake my head and wonder why in the world I thought writing was a good idea. And, of course, that is on all the days. I’ve learned so many hacks in my life, ways to get things done, ways to think through problems–but this writing thing is the most daunting of all so far. It’s just so personal: here, World, here is the inside of my head, do you like it? I remind myself that of course I will make mistakes, sound stupid, not know, not be slick at times, or ever, maybe, but I want to join in. Finally. People I started following on Twitter or even on their own small blogs years–no, decades ago–are now well-established authors. It’s like those “If you lived here, you’d be home by now” signs I used to see on the seemingly-endless commute to my job when I lived in California. If only I’d started then.. but that’s an easy thought to follow, a slide into envy, hopelessness, and full of comparisons and competition and ending in nothing being written at all. I’ve been there countless times. Much better is: I want to join the conversation. And I do, the urgency pushes in on all sides. Not in a scary way, but more like an “It’s time! Now is the time!” kind of way. There is space in my life, in my days, and in my head and heart. It is time.

So, I have indeed been writing. Two stories I have been nurturing for a long time are now growing into their own real-ness, but countless others remind me they are there, waiting. As of yet, those two stores are terrible in production but wonderful in thought and I get excited thinking about their worlds and what will happen. That’s got to be a good thing, that excitement. I’m trying to ignore the terrible aspects for now and remind myself that editing is a glorious thing that every writer always acknowledges, even the super-wonderful ones. Deep breaths always help here, too.

This is a bit scattered, but that is my mind lately–I blame the gorgeous spring weather and the general hope for the future that comes with it. A few more tips: Systems help more than goals, i.e., small and consistent steps. Finish the story. Finish it, no matter how badly. Because bad finished can be worked with, but unfinished or worse, unwritten, can not be. “Don’t be afraid it won’t be perfect. The only thing to be afraid of really is that it won’t be.” Create a list of 30 things you like to see in stories and put a handful (or more!) into your own. Mantras can work; see Octavia Butler’s “So be it! See to it!” And with that comes, hopefully, the comforting reminder that even the most famous authors in our field and beyond have questioned and wavered and wondered, and the answer to all that, of course, as ever, is to push through and not give up.

This has been your monthly pep-talk, so get to it. Let’s go and join the conversation.