Progress is a dangerous word. I haven’t made a lot of progress lately. I finished a dress in time to wear it in a friend’s wedding. Finished a Christmas present around Valentines. Still have a gift for a baby shower to finish. The child is 3 months old now. I’ve not been so busy that I’ve lost ground. I have had a lot of emotional upheaval. It makes me set up bad habits. I get lazy and don’t work on stuff I want to get done. Remembering how to buckle down is easy. Actually doing it is hard. But I did sit down to write you another blog. That’s a step in the right direction. Only one thing left to say about. Suck it up, Buttercup.
I’ve been staying with friends for a few weeks now. It still feels like I’m living out of a box. I was straightening up over the weekend and realized I needed my headphones. I use them with my music to focus, block out everything and everyone around me. While I was living alone I didn’t see the point in using them. They do come in handy with the roommate’s cat being in heat at the moment.
So here I sit, plugged in to my YouTube playlist writing a blog for you. Kicking it old school. Going back to basics. It feels like coming home. Weird how returning to a pattern you haven’t practiced in a while can feel so comforting. Some patterns are worth repeating. Just be sure you pay attention to what your patterns are and what outcomes you get from them. If they don’t benefit you in some way, break those patterns and don’t look back.
I’m doing something else I haven’t done in a while. I’m singing again. I was sick for the better part of a month and it was hard to sing when I could barely breathe. Now I’m singing in the car, at work, at home, belting out my favorite tunes just because I can. I surprised a friend at work singing along with Etta James on At Last. The friend was surprised enough that I liked music that much older than I am but she just kept staring at me when I sang it. Music has always felt right to me. Any kind of music, too, I’m not particular.
I have my headphones, my music, my voice is back and I’m writing. Let’s see what other trouble I can cause today.
I survived the move. More or less. I’m staying with friends for a bit while I find something I can live with for a long time to come. It works. I still haven’t stopped sneezing. Decided to go for full-blown bronchitis. But I’m heavily medicated so we should be right as rain soon. Now that the move is over (for now), I’m trying to get back into my writing. I made sure not to pack all my writing gear into the storage unit. I have been making notes on a new alien story. I don’t usually write aliens but I can’t get this idea out of my head. I’ve let it stew long enough that it’s about ready for a full outline and some serious writing. It’s funny and has a point and I am liking this idea a lot. Now I just need to stop coughing…
Yeah, yeah, I know what you’re saying. Isn’t it a little early for that? To give you a quick answer, No! I’ve decided not to buy the little house I’ve been staying in. It’s not so little and a bitch to keep warm and tons of stuff need fixed or freshened up. I’m just not that in love with the house.
That means I’m packing again. But it’s not just packing up all the stuff I have. I’m cleaning out, too. I’m asking myself if I really need all those empty binders and notebooks. Do I really need to keep the two dozen magazines I’ve not looked at in over a year? Do I need two dozen pairs of shoes when I only have about four pairs I wear regularly? How much stuff am I holding on to simply because I remember growing up without a lot of stuff?
Don’t get me wrong. My brother and I had everything we truly needed as kids. But we didn’t get a lot of the stuff we wanted because it wasn’t possible. So I’m cleaning out boxes and drawers and notebooks. I’m packing up the stuff I will use and need. I am not packing the other stuff. The fluff and detritus of 43 years. I’m trimming the fat, so to speak. And once I stop sneezing from all the dust, it’s going to feel really good.
Fear of failure and fear of success are the same things. You could say they are two sides of the same coin. They have the same outcome when you don’t take control of them. That outcome is stagnation.
Fear of failure makes us shy away from doing things because we are afraid we won’t do a good job or won’t do the right job. It makes us avoid doing things we want and like to do. We become adept at avoiding situations that put us in a position to possibly fail. Possibly is the key word there. We might fail. We might not. The fear is the same either way. So we withdraw from the activities we love, the people we love, and we allow ourselves to become more reclusive out of fear of something that may not happen.
Fear of success works the same way. When you have never had successes with positive feedback, encouragement that shows you that it is a good thing to succeed, reaching that finish line is just as terrifying as not reaching it. The process repeats itself. We withdraw from our lives until we are so afraid of doing anything that we find ourselves sitting at home alone eating ice cream in our underwear wondering how in the hell we ended up like this.
The problem with these fears is that their origins are so far back in our development. What we see our parents do and how they encourage our tiny selves has an enormous impact on how we learn to fail or succeed. The problem is if we don’t get enough of the right type of encouragement and support we never learn how to conquer the fear. It will have a ripple effect on everything we do throughout our entire lives. Every job, relationships, friendships, social situations, even answering the phone, all of these things that most people take for granted are major hurdles when you are so full of fear.
The question then becomes how do we learn to conquer those fears? Recognizing that you have a fear of failure or success is the first step. Just like an addiction, you have to recognize and admit that you have a problem before you can work toward fixing it. Once you see this fear for what it is, evaluate where you are and how you got there. Are you doing what you really want to do? Are you happy doing what you’re doing or do you go to work every day wishing you were somewhere else? Are you happy with your relationships? How you feel about every aspect of your life is impacted by these fears and how you react to them.
Here is another key word for you: react. The way to conquer these fears is to stop reacting and start acting. Don’t hesitate. Don’t stop and think about what may happen. Make a decision to do something and do it. Stop worrying about if you can do something and start wondering what will happen after you do it. Will you be happy? Will you be better off emotionally, financially, socially? Will you get a step closer to the place you want to be? The other thing to do is surround yourself with people who will encourage you and still be brutally honest. Friends that tell you what you want to hear are not doing you any favors. They are enablers that will only help you stay in the stagnant pond of week-old sweat you’re already wallowing in. Talk to the friends who tend to piss you off when they tell you the truth. I would bet dollars to doughnuts they piss you off because you know they are right. Start talking to them and really listen. Don’t be afraid to tell them they were right and you need help getting to where you want to be. True friends will always be willing to help as long as you are willing to put in the work.
We each have the ability to take control of our lives, our emotions, our fears and live happy productive lives doing something that makes us happy to wake up and go to work every morning. We have the ability to choose whether or not we let the circumstances of our current situations continue to control us. We can choose to learn from our parents and decide for ourselves if those lessons are effective for our lives. We have the power to conquer our fears.
It’s pronounced “Sword.” Get used to it. That name is going to be very popular. Rough Magick is the first book in the Gnome Saga by Kenny Soward available through Ragnarok Publications. Yes, I said Gnome.
Soward writes with a quick pace, fleshing out images with a minimum of fuss. He gives us magick, glorious battle scenes, politics, multiple worlds, invading aliens and the dynamics of sibling rivalry. Reading Rough Magick reminded me of all the things I loved about Dune, with the same intensity and grit as Herbert’s characters. I can’t wait for the rest of the series, Tinkermage due out in December and Cog Weaver slated for a February 2015 release.
Oh, next Saturday is the big kick-off, and I’m so ready — well, I think I am. The last several years of trying to get my words on paper have been fun, but the editing process proved my writing was lacking something. I was forcing the words onto the page to meet a word-count rather than to get the story into words. This year, I have a different plan.
Planning for NaNo
This year, I’m doing something different. I’ve got my main NaNo story that I want to write, but I’ve also got several short stories and another novella in the wings in case I get stuck while writing my main story. I didn’t have a back-up plan the last couple of years, and that was something that really seemed to help a few friends of mine. So, I’m going to give it a shot.
Writer’s block comes from…
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