Monday, April 1, 2013

Stop the Sabotage

Ms. Josephine has no time for your excuses!
My birthday was yesterday and while I'm not a hugely philosophical person, I did take the time to think a little bit, between episodes of Finding Bigfoot.  (Will they ever find Bigfoot?  Tune in next week!)  Seriously, though, as a writer, as a mother, as a wife, as a living, breathing human being, I know about self-sabotage.

Often, it takes the form of seeking advice.  You know what you want to do, however, the self-doubt keeps you from actually doing it.  Instead you seek the advice of some of the very people who will discourage you, not through any maliciousness on their part, but through their very nature. By the time you've finished talking to them you "realize" that harebrained idea you had was indeed nuts and that you should pursue a more sensible course of action.

Self-sabotage is fear disguised as practicality.

When you are a writer, going out on a limb is a fact of life, and if it isn't, it should be.  Pushing yourself to be better than you were yesterday is an integral part of growing as a writer.  Writing outside your comfort zone is a must. It doesn't have to be perfect, you just have to do it.

Awww, so you don't think you're a self-saboteur?  We all are on one level or another.  Check this list of excuses:

1.  I don't know about ABC, so I can't write about it.
Yawn.  Open up your Internet browser, find the search engine of your choice.  Start at Wikipedia, then go deeper.  Historical sites, how-to sites, Wikis...the information is out there if you're willing to work for it.  If you can't find what you want online, there's this mysterious building with such things called 'books'.  Said mysterious building also has a reference librarian who is a real person that will be more than willing to help you find what you need.  Also, they most likely have free Wi-Fi and it's quiet. Check it out!

2.  There's already another story out there like it.
Oh, come on, really?  Yes, I've heard this excuse.  I say...Night of the Living Dead.  How many times has this been remade, prequeled, extended etc.  And now, guess what?  Zombies in the TV room every Sunday night.  Here, I'll give you an idea:  The zombies are aliens.  Go!

3.  Nobody will buy/Nobody will care.
For whom are you writing?  Certainly, we'd all like the cash to pour in, heck, I'd like to take a bath in it while sharing a bottle of bourbon with JJ Watt.  But, cash is dirty, I'm married and JJ Watt lives in Texas. (At least I still have my bourbon.)   So, I write for the love of writing.  I write to put my stories out there.  I write because I have something to say.  Examine why you write.  Is it for the money?  If so, you're starting out on the wrong foot, for sure.

4.  I don't have time.
Good Lord, really?  In 2013, people are still dragging this old excuse around? Smartphones are your friend.  Take pictures of buildings or situations that inspire.  Label them and save 'em for later.  Jot down notes in a raggedy notebook or on a slip of paper.  Then, turn off the creations of others, i.e. television (because you can do sooooo much better) and start typing, or scribbling or.... however you create.  Making an excuse that "I don't have time" know what that means?  You don't want it bad enough.

Mind you, don't think I'm this great regimented writer who sits down at my computer at the same time every day and bangs out reams of work.  Not at all.  For me, every day is a training exercise, to see if I'm actually tough enough to be a writer.  So many things pull my attention (especially during football season) that I have to make a conscious effort to sit down and write.

But I'll tell you, once I'm in that zone, there's nothing like it!

Dahlia, The Sultry Scribe

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