“Without pain, without sacrifice, we would have nothing.” -Fight Club
Life is full of pain. I’m not here to sell you sunshine and roses. We are going to suffer.
We’ll face times when our entire body aches from head to toe. It might be hard to breathe. To do the things we’ve always done without much thought.
Then it hits us. We’re falling apart. We wasted so much time worrying about gaining aches and pains that we missed out on opportunities. We missed out on people and places and things.
But here’s the thing, if you’re reading this, it’s not too late gain new opportunities. It’s not too late to be honest. To go back to the things you loved and loved doing.
You embrace the pain.
You sit and feel every ounce of pain and you stare it in the face until you’re too tired to do it any more. Then you wake up and do it again. It’s not going to be easy but just keep going. It’s going to take time but it’s worth it. You’ll get through it, then all those monsters you tucked deep inside you, become your tools. They become your reminders of how far you’ve come and how you’re strong enough to keep going.
The more you show up to face your monsters, the more you can learn to use them as tools for your growth and advancement in life. The more that you use them as tools, the smaller they shrink. Eventually the fear of facing them becomes a memory and you have moved on to bigger and better things. The monsters are still there, but now they don’t hold you back from the things you love. Tamed monsters make way for you to love the things you love in a healthy wholesome way.
Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars. Kahlil Gibran
Being able to love those closest to you in a healthy and wholesome makes room for so many other opportunities.
Being an honest writer is about leading to the truth or at times, allowing yourself to be lead to the truth. Being an honest writer isn’t telling all the dirt about your character right off the bat or at all for that matter. It’s a guidance. It’s knowing what truths to tell. It’s knowing what truths you keep to yourself to gift others that marvelous feeling of expansion. It’s our duty as writers to allow uncertainty in some moments. Let them have that space where maybe just maybe, it might work out in the best or worst way possible.
I think we can apply this to our own lives too. There are times when calling people out in an innocent moment can be an act of pride rather than an act of love. Sometimes we jump the gun and spill all the ugly stuff without even getting to the stuff that leads them to the truth on their own. We have to let them stagger around a bit to figure out how some things in this world operate. The same goes for writing.
When we look at honesty this way, it becomes more of a tool. We can wield it around at times of distress or times of victory. We can use it as a reward or even as a punishment. There’s so many ways to use honesty as a tool of guidance. It can bludgeon. It can destroy, so use it wisely and when you do decide to use it, use it with confidence.
When you focus too much on tomorrow it takes away from today. If you took your time and slowly carved away at your words, that is true craftsmanship. You can’t rush art. You know what you have in mind. Put it together. Try it out. If that doesn’t work, it’s ok try another way.
The first draft of anything is shit.”— Ernest Hemingway
Writing doesn’t come out perfect on the first draft, if it did everyone would be a writer. (Well, I think everyone is a writer but that’s for another day.) A huge part of being a writer is editing your work. That is the art of writing. So if you know what you want to change and edit, you are already on the right path.
I would advise any beginning writer to write the first drafts as if no one else will ever read them — without a thought about publication -and only in the last draft to consider how the work will look from the outside. — Anne Tyler
I love how you poured everything into these new ideas. It shows courage. It shows you’re in this for the long term. You’re no quitter when you let everything hang loose in your first draft. Now it’s time to let it all unfold in flames and into your story.
I think the trouble starts when you sit down to write and imagine that you will achieve something magical and magnificent — and when you don’t, panic sets in. The solution is never to sit down and imagine that you will achieve something magical and magnificent. — Malcolm Gladwell
Don’t give up now. If you’re feeling like quitting, accept the thought but don’t dance with it. Think of negative small talk as background noise rather than allowing it to become a suggestion. You created something that came straight from inside your head and placed it on paper. You’re exactly where you need to be right now. Just keep going. Keep taking it one day at a time. You can do this.
“Every first draft is perfect because all the first draft has to do is exist. It’s perfect in its existence. The only way it could be imperfect would be to NOT exist.” ― Jane Smiley
Well, that contradicts the first quote but I agree. The first draft it is not meant to live up to impossible expectations. It’s meant to come alive and that is just the beginning of it all.
Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength.– Arnold Schwarzenegger
Strength comes from perseverance. It comes from facing the fears we never thought we could handle. Strength comes from so many things but the one place it truly comes from is in the mind.
Strength is an inside job. It’s facing yourself with authenticity. It’s about learning to accept the parts of you that you hate so you can accept those parts in others.
I love the man that can smile in trouble, that can gather strength from distress, and grow brave by reflection. ’Tis the business of little minds to shrink, but he whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves his conduct, will pursue his principles unto death.”– Thomas Paine
Strength is about showing up for yourself when you don’t want to. It’s about advocating for yourself. It’s learning to change and heal so you can trust yourself. Because you are trustworthy, and worthy, and valuable. You deserve someone who knows and understands you to speak up for you and who better to do that than yourself?
Be brave enough to do in your writing what you do in your imagination. Technique and skill are important but it’s also important to take your readers on the truest adventures inside your head. Be honest about who you are. The conflicting, raw, misfit you. Your work should make you blush sometimes.
Courage doesn’t happen when you have all the answers. It happens when you are ready to face the questions you have been avoiding your whole life.― Shannon L. Alder
Don’t place you imagination in a box to prioritize others exceptions. Show your courage, let your imagination run wild on the page. It’s one thing to edit for understanding and focus but you can do it in a way that lets your quirks live in your work. Who are you as a writer? Can we see that in your writing?
For me, I just want to be myself without fear when I write. I want to show up with my run-on sentences and internal dialogue that could drive a sane man to drink while bringing the thinkers home.
As writers, we are already courageous by choosing this career. Might as well be brave within ourselves too.
Faith is a knowledge within the heart, beyond the reach of proof. — Khalil Gibran
We are left here alone to create, to edit, to choose the choices our characters decide to take. Someone has to trust in us. Someone has to believe we are going to get somewhere with this. So we, us writers, must do the believing. We must have faith in ourselves and our work even when no one else can see the value. Even when we have nothing to prove, we are at our best when we believe and have faith in ourselves.
“The trouble with not having a goal is that you can spend your life running up and down the field and never score.” — Bill Copeland
When writers write a book, they have a goal for the characters in mind. Even if it’s not a concrete goal, even if it changes over time, they start with something. There was a time when I thought the goal would just come to me, but my teacher said, just make it up. And that stuck. I don’t know why I didn’t think of that myself. Anyways, I think this can be used in our real life. Don’t know exactly what goal to set? Make one up.
Your goals don’t have to be life changing goals when you just start out with goal setting. They can be anything from drinking the right amount of water everyday to going for a mile run every 3 days. Do anything that will propel you forward the way a writer would propel their character forward. The writer can’t wait for inspiration. They start propelling the character right away. So don’t wait around, propel yourself toward something.
I’m afraid of becoming an egotistical asshole if I sell too many books. Even though I very much want to sell my books. I also don’t want to feel like I have something to prove financially. I would be proud to be independent. To be a writer making enough to pay the bills. I just don’t want that to hinder my view of others. I don’t want to forget my struggle or my humanity. And lastly, I don’t want to lose appreciation for other writers. I want to be understanding and gentle and loving. I don’t want to snub someone because I’m a well paid writer and they aren’t.
There’s a thin line between discipline and chaos, between empathy and narcissism. The line is so thin in fact, that we can cross it without realizing it until we step away from a situation. Or until someone calls us out on our behavior. Yes, we all make mistakes. We all hurt the people we love most. And what’s important is to be accountable and honest when we mess up.
I don’t think this fear holds me back. And Freud would probably suggest the only thing holding me back is my childhood drowning. Either way, I’m getting closer and closer to selling my book and the shadow is growing. But I’m not going to let it stop me. I’m gong to sell my book whether I’m scared shitless or not.
What helps me when I afraid is to list the reasons why stepping through a particular fear is beneficial. So I thought I’d share some reasons why you should sell your book….