Writing, rejection, growing pains, and finding your True North

A friend of mine — a new writer — told me she was feeling discouraged and was ready to stop writing because she wasn’t getting the feedback she expected. She doesn’t do well with rejection, for one thing. Here are a couple replies I shared with her:

“That’s one of the growing pains as a writer. You will get rejected. There will always be someone who doesn’t like your style, your voice, your writing. ALWAYS! You cannot please every single person, and neither should you try. Writing is a journey, not a destination. There are no PERFECT WRITERS. There are plenty of people who don’t like Stephen King’s work, but that hasn’t stopped him. A writer writes — period. You have to learn how to deal with rejection and develop a thick skin, ’cause you’ll need it. I will NEVER stop writing. Some people will enjoy my work, while others will not. Those are the breaks! I’m going to express myself and nobody will stop me. It is my life, my career, and my purpose. So, don’t give up. However, realize that some people you may have reading your stuff aren’t the right ones to read it in the first place.  Keep writing, keep improving, keep honing your craft. In the end, write for yourself, even if you do write for publication. Always have personal projects you do for creative/personal reasons. Writers write — it’s as simple as that. Do it for yourself! It’s great therapy, too.”

AND:

“I believe one of my missions is to encourage people to be creative and to express themselves, however that may be. I wear different hats when I’m a writer vs. when I’m an editor. They are two different processes. If I waited for my loved ones to approve of what I wrote, I would’ve probably never gotten published. Not that I didn’t have supportive and caring loved ones, but opinions are subjective and you won’t always get honest ones or viable ones from loved ones. Be very careful about who you allow to have power over your creative process. Constructive criticism is good; however, even at that, not all criticism or input will be usable to you. In the end, it has to be YOUR voice, your art, your expression. I could never write about a book about the history of steam engines, for instance, because while it may be interesting to some people, I have no interest in it. I have to be driven by an idea, a thought, a character, a topic that interests me. I could go on, but you’ll find all sorts of advice, info, etc. from a ton of people. Use what makes sense to you and trash the rest. In the end, follow your True North.”

Bev’s vlog for 1.21.2014: Serve your own plate

On the heels of my husby’s, here’s my latest vlog. He does it better, but he’s a natural at it. I’m a writer, after all. He’s a video guy. *sigh* Probably should’ve done this second vlog back on the 16th, but hey, I didn’t. Pfft! I’ll be posting them every week to two weeks throughout the year. And hey, just like on FB, you just never know what tripe will come outta my mouth. But that’s part of the fun, right? RIGHT?!

Vlog 1.9.14: Intention: Path of Personal Exploration

In this first vlog of 2014, I invite you to embark on a path of personal exploration that I’ve decided to undertake for this coming year. Let’s explore our authenticity, discover our unique creative expression, learn to practice discernment, and focus on analyzing what’s truly important/essential for each of us to make peace with our past and move forward through this journey called life. These updates will include real talk — and sometimes raw/uncomfortable talk — rather than pie-in-the sky musings that puff smoke up your shorts. Life isn’t all unicorns, rainbows, and cotton candy, after all. 😉

[Quote] Seth Godin on failure and perfection

“Everyone has failed, everyone has misspoken, everyone has meant well but done the wrong thing. Your favorite restaurants, cafes and books have all gotten a one-star review along the way. No brand is perfect, no individual can pretend to be either. Perfect can’t possibly be the goal, we’re left with generous, important and human instead.”

—Seth Godin

Truthful balance

Balance — it is elusive and I am seeking it in my life. Balance between work and play; balance between emotions and rationality; balance between happiness and sadness; balance between noise and quietude; balance between joy and anger; balance between stillness and movement; balance between knowing and not knowing; balance between speaking and remaining quiet (that’s a huge one for me — and difficult to master!). Balance in all its forms.

I am an amorphous lump of human clay, waiting to be formed into something better. The thing is, one can only do that for oneself — nobody else can do it for you. I am flawed, I am imperfect, I am damaged, I make mistakes. I ask forgiveness and patience for my shortcomings, for I am human and have bad times/days like everyone else. Despite those things, I can improve.

The tragedy is when you aren’t aware of your flaws and you do not care to try and improve yourself. I, for one, know my flaws and shortcomings and I DO want to improve. That is my charge if I am to become a better person. However, I must also remain true to myself. I am not like anyone else in this world or universe and neither do I want to be anyone else. I am my own spirit and my own essence. In the end, one must be true to oneself throughout the journey. Weigh the experiences and choose accordingly.

Reminder: You only have to *start*

“Novices in the arts think you have to start with inspiration to write or paint or compose. In fact, you only have to *start*. Inspiration comes if you *continue*. Make the commitment to sit still in solitude several hours a day and inevitably your muse will visit. ‘I write fifty pages until I hear the fetal heartbeat,’ Henry Miller used to say.” —Erica Jong, Fear of Fifty

Ten daily questions to ask yourself

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To help focus and clarify what’s worthwhile to spend my time on and to strive for more meaningful and positive experiences, here are questions I’m going to ask myself:

1. Will this bring you happiness and laughter?
2. Will you get peace of mind from this experience?
3. Will this advance your purpose in life?
4. Is this in alignment with your personal or professional goals?
5. Will this help you be a better or more evolved person?
6. Will this be worth investing your time and energy?
7. Does this add value to your life?
8. Is this educational?
9. Have you picked a worthwhile battle to fight?
10. Have you practiced discernment and/or restraint?

After considering these questions and the number of “no” responses, I can then decide — clearly and wisely — if investing my time and energy in something is beneficial for me. I will then decide whether to engage, participate or walk away/withdraw. I’m over the halfway point in my life.

Time to train myself to be more selective and discerning about people, events, causes and attention. Must close the circle and separate the wheat from the chaff.