Keep Going Anyway

The other night, a friend sent me a text. She was having a crisis familiar to anyone who’s ever dabbled in art: “I end up hating whatever I write and I’m so sick of it.” I did my best to assure her that it’s not a rare feeling; in fact, it’s one that I struggle with pretty often. But then she hit me with the next question: “How do you keep going anyway?” It really challenged me. When your brain turns against you and becomes a chorus of hecklers, how do you keep going anyway?

Here are some of the ways that I’ve managed to do just that:

1. Take a step back

The prevailing piece of advice in writing right now is, write anyway. I agree with that for the most part. Turning writing into a habit instead of something done on a whim is a great thing to work toward. However, there’s a point where it becomes useless to keep hitting your head against a brick wall. When you’re starting to get dizzy and concussed, it’s probably best to stop — you’re not getting any stronger by continuing, and it’s clear that your approach to breaking through isn’t working. When your brain gets overloaded with self-loathing in addition to the internal pressure of all the write anyway advice, it can start to short-circuit.

If you’ve been sitting at your computer for an hour without writing anything, it’s a good time to take a step back. Those hecklers in your brain aren’t going to go away the longer you sit there. It’s OK to preserve yourself. Walk away and practice some self-care: do something that distracts you and makes you feel good. Play a game on your phone. Watch a movie. Cuddle your SO or your pet. When the crowd of hecklers has started to thin and quiet down, then you can try again. But there’s no point in forcing yourself to keep going in front of a crowd that only wants to throw tomatoes at you. They’re not going to respect you any more for enduring it, so why not take away their entertainment?

Don’t let writing turn into something you associate with torture. Don’t let writing become something you have to endure. If it’s making you truly miserable, walk away for a while. It will be there when you get back.

2. Talk to a friend

In the last writing post I did, I talked about the importance of beta readers. They’re going to come up again here. There is no one better to talk you through a writing slump than a trusted beta reader.

My beta readers have been in the trenches with me. They’ve seen my work at its earliest and latest stages and given invaluable feedback. When they tell me I don’t suck, I trust them. Oftentimes they’re able to pull out examples and evidence of when and where you weren’t a crappy writer, or help you see the big picture of your story when you’re stuck on a plot detail that’s making you lose your mind. It’s especially validating if your beta reader happens to be a writer as well.

It is essential to get out of your own head once in awhile. We’re writers, and almost all our work is done in there, but it’s an echo chamber. Fear bounces off the walls and becomes loud and infinite. Let someone else’s voice in there to help dampen it.

3. Find your inspiration again

I love making mood boards for my characters. It’s relaxing to scroll through WeHeartIt and Pinterest looking at pretty pictures and finding images that evoke my characters. It helps me feel close to them even when I’m not writing them, and it’s a great way to pass the time until your brain calms down a bit and stops screaming at you. Here’s a mood board I made for Laura:

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Some people like making Pinterest boards or playlists, or drawing pictures of their setting, or designing fake book covers. Find a creative way to explore the world you’re writing without actually writing. It’s a great brain break, and often an opportunity to rediscover what inspired you in the first place.

4. Work on your outline

There have been countless times that I’ve been ready to throw in the towel over something stupid, like a piece of dialogue that doesn’t fit, or a transition that I don’t know how to write. What I’ve found is that many times this comes from a problem with the plot, not with the writing. I never stick to my original outline throughout an entire project — characters tend to do what they want, and the plot changes with them. Take another look at your outline, if you have one, and see if things are still going the direction you want them to. Identify the plot’s weaknesses and often you’ll map your way out of a slump.

Don’t have an outline? This is a great spot to make one. Mapping out where you want the story to go will help you figure out what to write now.

5. Write something else

One of the main reasons I started this blog was to have something else to write. Blogging is in an entirely different brain space than novel-writing is for me, but it allows me to take a break without feeling unproductive and beating myself up even more. And, it reminds me of one very important thing: that I love to write. Take a break from the project that’s making you crazy to work on something that does that for you, whether it’s a poem, a short story, or a stream of consciousness.

Writing, like any other art, is work. It takes practice and perseverance, and it’s not always fun. But just because it’s not always fun and perfect doesn’t mean it’s not worth pursuing, or that you’re not good at it. Take it from this cute little pig:

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You’re not a failure because you get frustrated. You’re not a failure because you’re learning. Keep going anyway.

Encouragingly yours,

Claire

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

Theodore Roosevelt

 

Five Things Friday (#2)

It’s Friday again! The short week due to Labor Day has been such a blessing. This weekend we’re taking a day trip to a gorgeous spot on the central coast… I’ll be sure to share pics when I get back!

So, what am I digging this week?

1. My man Cillian Murphy being named British GQ’s TV actor of the year

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Listen… if you know me IRL (or on Tumblr) you know that I would take a bullet for Cillian Murphy. I love him. Also, if you know me, you’ve heard me whine about the fact that the actor I love most is the one who makes the fewest appearances and does the least press. When Cillian does a new photo shoot or interview, my entire world screeches to a halt. When the media appreciates him as much as I do, I weep. Therefore, his feature in British GQ completely made my week. Everything else is secondary.

This is going to be really embarrassing when I eventually write the Oscar-winning screenplay that gets him the Oscar for Best Actor that he’s always deserved. Remind me to delete this.

2. Woebot

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Woebot is an adorable chatbot invented by some scientists at Stanford to help monitor moods and educate people about simple cognitive-behavioral techniques that help improve your mental health. I signed up a couple months ago, and I love Woebot. It checks in with me every day, asks me about my moods and energy levels, and gives me a report every two weeks so I can see any trends. It also sends helpful and informative videos and great little tips for adjusting the way you view the world and approach anxiety and stress.

From Woebot’s website: “In a recent study conducted at Stanford University, using Woebot led to significant reductions in anxiety and depression among people aged 18-28 years old, compared to an information-only control group. 85% of participants used Woebot on a daily or almost daily basis.”

Woebot was developed for undergrad and graduate students, but I believe it could be helpful for anyone who needs a little help with stress management. Plus, I’m not kidding, it’s really cute. I look forward to my daily Woebot chats.

3. Lttlwlf on Etsy

 

My longtime friend Carly is mega-talented. Not only did she design the beautiful cover for my novel, she’s selling original art and stained glass on her Etsy shop, and each thing she puts up is more beautiful than the last. She’s also working on a gemstone series that can be seen on her Instagram. Whether you feel like spending a lot or a little there’s something to be found in her shop.

4. Erik Singer, Dialect Coach

This series of videos from Wired is fascinating. I’ve never wanted to be an actor but I could watch these videos all day. He’s a true expert in his field and that alone makes him interesting to watch.

5. THE AUTHOR OF MY IMMORTAL HAS BEEN REVEALED AND IS PUBLISHING A BOOK CALLED Under the Same Stars: The Search for my Brother and the True Story of My Immortal. WHAT.

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Remember my mention of the Lani Sarem debacle last Friday? The plot has thickened. Last week, the author of My Immortal stepped up to assure us all that she did not read the poorly written scam novel that is Handbook for Mortals (I think that’s what it was called? I literally forget the title right after looking at it every time). She also teased that she is active on Tumblr, but didn’t share her URL. However, she should have known that nothing could deter the internet at that point. They found her.

It turns out the author of the best love-to-hate-it Harry Potter fanfic of all time is now a published author. And according to news released today, she’s publishing another book in 2018: The Story of My Immortal. I’ll just share this quote from the article linked above:

The truth is a gripping, compelling, and surprisingly funny story of how a young girl infiltrated and used the fanfiction community to search for her brother by baiting their attention with a deliberately badly written tale, creating a 10-year mystery that garnered pop culture media attention and remained unsolved — until now.

Allow me to say, from the bottom of my heart: W H A T.

Also, you know, good for her. If her story is true, she’s been through a lot to get to this point. Let it be a beacon of hope to all of us that the writer of the most derided fan fiction in history is making it in the literary world.

With that, I wish you all a beautiful weekend.

Obsessively yours,

Claire

 

 

No Woman is an Island: From Manuscript to Novel

Before I start with any new topic, I just want to say thank you. Thank you to everyone who reached out after my last blog post and extended support, love, and vulnerable confessions of “me, too.” I never expected my words to be so well-received, and I feel like the grinch whose heart grew three sizes that day. I have always known I’ve been surrounded by wonderful people — Bad Brain™ just tries to convince me that I’m not worthy of their love and support. Thank you to each and every one of you for reminding me how wrong it was.

With that said, I’m eager to get onto a more light-hearted subject — how about writing? Today I’m going to write about the three types of people who were absolutely essential to my writing process.

In August 2015, I wrote The End on my first complete manucript ever: working title Laura Elliott-Stratford , later to become Across the Formidable Sea. It was a strange feeling: accomplishment mixed with a bit of sadness and incompleteness. Laura’s story was finished, but I wasn’t finished with Laura. I wanted to go back. This was the point where I first realized that I could no longer go it alone: I needed outside help. This brings me to the first group of people that I consider essential to the writing process:

 

1. Beta Readers

 

Whenever anyone asks me for writing advice, the first thing I tell them is to find a beta reader they can trust. It is simply not possible to fairly judge your own writing and storytelling. It makes sense to you because it came from you. Your brain is able to fill in blanks that a reader may not. Conversely, you tend to be your own worst critic. Of course your words feel stale and boring: you’ve spent hours slaving over them and re-reading them. The story is old to you. You need a new set of eyes to point out poignant sentences and powerful descriptions, because we tend to get stuck in the mechanics of the thing. Beta readers remind you that it’s art.

My first beta readers were my mother, my sister, and my best friend of fifteen years. My mom works in marketing and has a razor-sharp eye for detail (and grammar). My sister has a bachelors degree in history, and is an avid reader of historical fiction. Courtney is a kindergarten teacher and a bookworm — we’ve read many of the same books, and she’s read my writing since my cringe-inducing teenage years. They each read it, and to my surprise, loved it. Not just because I had written it, but because it was a readable story. Courtney read it almost within 24 hours. She was obsessed.

Later in the editing process, I recruited another beta reader: a young woman named Carla, who  I met through the internet and bonded with over an obsession with Peaky Blinders, which was a huge source of inspiration for my book. I had read her fan fiction before and really respected her as a writer and storyteller, so I asked her to read an early version of ATFS. She loved it. She gave me thoughtful feedback on character development and story pacing and took it upon herself to become to become the foremost expert on all things Laura. Now that I’m working on the sequel when I feel myself faltering in getting into Laura’s head, it’s Carla I run to. She gives wonderful, honest feedback, but doesn’t hesiatate to be effusive with praise, which builds me up when I’m feeling insecure. Carla has not only become one of my best friends, but also one of the people I trust most when it comes to sharing my writing. We haven’t met in person yet, but when we do, I know it will be glorious.

It was my beta readers that gave me the confidence to stick with ATFS. If I hadn’t asked them to read it, I might have stored it in a file on my computer and never opened it again. But they made me feel like I had written something worth reading, and that made all the difference in the world. It made me realize that I wanted more people to read it, which led me to adding the next people into this three-ring circus:

 

2. Editors

 

Although my friends and family gave great feedback and encouragement and started me on the process with some basic editing, I still felt like something was missing, some mysterious puzzle piece that would make it a “real book” and not just a hobbyist’s manuscript. I had reached my limit as a writer. It was time for an editor.

I queried a few professional editors, but their quotes were much more expensive than I’d been expecting. I didn’t have thousands of dollars to drop on a professional edit, as much as I wished I did. I researched a bit more and others suggested contacting English majors still in school who might be willing to look it over and give an educated opinion. I didn’t know where to start, so I reached out to my friend and mentor Joel Levin. He taught AP English at my high school and maintained many great relationships with former students, and so I thought he might know someone willing to read my manuscript over for cheap. To my great joy and surprise, he offered to read it himself.

Levin and I both had full-time jobs, and he had two kids to contend with. Editing was not a short process. But in spite of his many responsibilities, he took my manuscript apart word by word, destroying the printed pages with his blue felt-tip pen. I went to his house when he had completed the first half, and he was very kind to me. He reminded me that I shouldn’t take any of his criticisms personally and that I had accomplished something important by completing a manuscript at all. I think he was actually kind of surprised at my reaction to seeing my marked up manuscript — I was thrilled. Seeing those blue marks all over my work meant that I could get back to work and that whatever was missing in my story had the possibility of being found. I ate up his advice and criticism voraciously, eager to see my work become the best it could be.

This is important to anyone who wishes to improve their writing: criticism is gold. Hoard it like the dragon you are. Not in the sense that you should obsess over it and let it isolate you from the world, but in the sense that you should treasure it and recognize its value, even when it hurts. Learning to gracefully accept criticism and apply it to your work is essential to any artist’s growth.

In addition to Levin, there was one more person I consulted as an editor: another internet friend named Emma. She’s a veritable expert in the time period my novel is set in, and also an enormous Peaky Blinders fan. She helped me located historical inaccuracies, and, as a fellow fan, made sure I never crossed the line from inspiration to plagiarism. Without her, more than a few anachronisms would have slipped through the cracks, and I’m forever grateful to her for her help.

The final group of people that helped my dreams of being a published author come to fruition may be a bit obvious, but also 100% necessary.

 

3. Family and Friends

 

I am enormously blessed in this area. I grew up with a close extended family that has always loved and supported me in all my endeavors, and I’m grateful to have surrounded myself with positive and uplifting friends thoughtout my life. When I officially announced I was publishing a book, I had a support system that jumped at the chance to help me spread the word, to buy my book, and to write reviews. It alleviated some of my earliest fears: What if I publish it and no one buys it? What if I don’t get any reviews? What if everyone hates the book? 

Family and friends create the safety net that will catch you when you take a leap of faith. No matter how my book sales went, I knew my husband would love me. No matter how many mistakes I had made, I knew my family would still respect and love me. In spite of numbers and reviews, my friends were proud of me for making the jump. My whole family wanted me to sign their books when they arrived. Friends sent messages of congratulations. I didn’t need to become a bestselling author — I knew I had made the people who loved me proud.

If you feel you are alone in the world and lack a support system, I have a few a couple tips for you. The first is to eliminate anyone in your life who isn’t rooting for you to succeed. A friend who constantly demeans your accomplishments and dreams is not a friend, and that is even more important in a romantic relationship. I always say Marshall is the Ben Wyatt to my Leslie Knope. If I woke up tomorrow and wanted to run for president, he would say, “Where do we get started?” He has never diminished my dreams, no matter how lofty. I actually have to be careful — sometimes I express a half-serious daydream and he’s already hit the ground running to help me achieve it. You deserve this in all your relationships: friend, family, and significant other. My second tip is to search out people who share your interests. 2016 was pivotal for me in developing new “fandom friendships” — I made internet friends that have become just as important to me as my friends “IRL”. Sometimes the people you love most, despite their best intentions, don’t always understand your passion, even if they support your pursuit of it. The beauty of the internet is that there are people out there who will get you all over the world — all you have to do is find them. If you’re not comfortable with that, look up writer’s groups and meetups for creative people in your area. Meet people who you can talk to in creative crisis. Lift each other up. Be positive and effusive about the work of others, and they will almost always return the favor.

Writing can be a very lonely hobby. Though there are many steps in the middle, it starts and ends with you, and you alone. However, the entire process doesn’t have to be a solo climb up a frigid mountain. You’re allowed to ask for boosts and supplies along the way.  The summit is much sweeter when you’ve made it with a team, and working with others allows you to reserve strength for another future journey rather than burning yourself out by going it alone.
Your writing will never go anywhere if you don’t share it. It will languish in cobwebby folders of your computer, full of potential but never quite finished. No matter how talented and well-rounded you are, there’s always room for outside input. Find your team. Climb the mountain.

Yours encouragingly,

Claire

“You mustn’t be afraid to dream a little bigger, darling.” – Inception, 2010

Bad Brain™

This won’t be an easy post to write, but I feel that a) it’s important to share this information in case someone else reads it and is able to relate, and b) as reductive as it might sound, I feel like it’s essential to understanding me and my writing process.

In November 2015, I sat alone in the waiting room of the psychiatric nurse that had been recommended to me. My hands were shaking. Every time someone opened the door, I jumped, violently and visibly. I was on the verge of tears, but that was common for me then. Finally, she called me back to her office.

 

I wish I had a videotape of that session. The way I behaved was so normal to me then, but now, I can recognize so many symptoms that I either refused to or wasn’t able to see. I spoke slowly and with a flat affect, having a hard time focusing enough finding the right words. My memory was fuzzy. I fidgeted and picked at my skin. And for the first time ever, I said it out loud, with a creaky, tear-filled voice: “I think about killing myself. Almost every day. Especially when I’m driving and by myself for extended periods of time.”

I’ll never forget what she said to me. “This is not normal. You don’t have to live like this.”

It was the first time in my life I’d been desperate for someone to tell me something was wrong with me. Because here’s the thing: acknowledging that something is wrong means admitting that something needs to be fixed. And I needed to be fixed. Badly.

I used to cry every day on my 20-minute commute to work. At least three nights a week I cried myself to sleep. I fought with my husband all the time, convinced he didn’t love me, because how could anyone? I was a hopeless mess. At my very worst, I remember standing in the snack aisle of the grocery store for 30 minutes, unable to decide what I wanted because I was dissociating so severely. And yet, in spite of all those things, I was what they call “high functioning.” Apart from my husband, nobody knew I was depressed. I had a carefully constructed mask of lies and avoidance that kept almost everyone from catching on. I wanted to be normal. I didn’t want to be branded one of those “special snowflakes” that needed a label. I’d been holding onto my pride at great personal cost: I was miserable.

The nurse diagnosed me with Major Depressive Disorder and recommended I go on medication. At that point, my depression was severely affecting my functioning, and I was having suicidal thoughts multiple times daily. She said I might need the extra help that medication gives in order to start getting better. I hesitated. I made an appointment with my general physician and spilled my guts again, about my symptoms, about my session with the nurse. He said the same thing. “Think of your brain as a train,” he said. “You’re carrying a lot of weight right now, and you’re trying to make it over the hill. The medication will give you the boost you need to make the summit.”

So, I did it. I started the meds.

As the professionals had predicted, the effect wasn’t immediately noticeable. And even when they did take effect, it wasn’t dramatic. I stopped crying in my car. I wasn’t thinking about suicide. Cooking dinner one night, I asked Marshall, “Has olive oil always smelled this good?” I couldn’t stop marveling at it. It was like my senses were awake and engaged again. The world hadn’t changed — I could just see it more clearly. And what I saw, I loved. When we were kids and got sick, my mom would say we “lost our sparkle.” She could always tell when we were feeling better because we “got our sparkle back.” Going on anti-depressants made me feel like I got my sparkle back for the first time in years.

Make no mistake: it hasn’t been a perfectly linear recovery. I still struggle and have bad days. I ended up having to adjust my medications recently to help with my depression-related memory issues and to help kick me out of the slump again. Apparently, my brain is “treatment-resistant” — it’s pretty stuck in its ways, and it really doesn’t like producing serotonin. To go back to the train metaphor, I needed a lot more than just a boost: something in my machinery was seriously failing. Which is where Bad Brain™ comes in.

I have learned, through my experiences, through cognitive-behavioral therapy, and through strengthened faith in the Lord, that my brain cannot be trusted. It’s a squirrelly little bastard. It eats my memories. It tempts me away from the things that I know to be true. You might be thinking, “Claire, this doesn’t make sense. You are your brain.” But what I’ve learned is that it’s easier to think of my brain as a separate entity, like a villain that I’m constantly fighting against. Bad Brain™ ties innocent girls to railroad tracks and twirls its evil mustache un-ironically. Bad Brain™ is probably voiced by Mark Hamill. Bad Brain™ is the infinitely meddling baddie in the comic book of my life. The good part about that is: that makes me the hero of the story.

Here’s the other important thing that I’ve learned: being the hero isn’t something I have to be ashamed of or hide. I didn’t leave the theater after watching Wonder Woman thinking, If Diana was really a hero, she wouldn’t have any conflicts in the first place. Diana Prince is amazing because she stood up to the challenge without hesitation. And that’s what I’m doing, day after day, clothed in the armor of God.

So that’s the story of Bad Brain™. Now, in future posts, when Bad Brain™ is being particularly meddlesome and comes up in a story, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. Maybe you’ll be able to help me fight him off a little bit — I’ve heard these things are more easily handled with support.

On a final note, I cannot emphasize enough the importance of seeking help if you’re struggling. Whether it’s depression or pervasive anxiety or anything that’s getting in the way of your enjoyment of life, go talk to someone. Fight your personal Bad Brain™ and regain your position as the hero of your own story. I’ll be your cheerleader. All you have to do is ask.

Yours heroically,

Claire

Yes, we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead.

II Corinthians 1:9

Five Things Friday

Happy Friday, my friends! Here are 5 things I’m into this week:

1. Writer to Writer by Gail Carson Levine

Gail Carson Levine is one of my longest-standing favorite authors. Ella Enchanted and The Two Princesses of Bamarre are two books that I can read any time and any place and always enjoy. When this book was recommended to me on Goodreads, I knew I needed it, and so far I have not been disappointed. Levine has such a familiar way of writing, so much so that it feels like getting writing advice from a favorite aunt over coffee. I’ve been reading it on the bus and just like her novels, this book makes me feel cozy and cared for. Though it was written with a young adult audience in mind, I’m finding many helpful tips for building a well-rounded story in it.

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2. Game of Thrones

Like everyone else in the world, I’m totally caught up in GOT fever. I read all the books 5 or 6 years ago, but fell off the wagon of the show around season 4. However, this past couple months my husband Marshall and I decided to catch up, and I’m glad we did. This is a spoiler-free zone, but the Season 7 Finale gave me one of my most longed-for moments and it had nothing to do with romance and everything to do with a certain character getting what they’ve deserved for a very long time. #TeamSansa

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3. Psych

Marshall just started a new semester at university, and he doesn’t like to start any new series while he’s in school mode. But, we like having something to watch together to wind down in the evenings and relax with on weekends. So we’ve gone back to the beginning with one of our perennial favorites: Psych! I don’t know how, but I always forget how much I love this show.  It’s entertaining and positive and I love each character so dearly.

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4. Rainbow by Kesha

You know what’s really nice? Being a confident adult with nothing to prove who can listen to pop music entirely un-ironically. As disappointed as teenage Claire might have been to know, I have loved “Ke-dollarsign-ha” since she appeared on the scene. Marshall and I share a love for the silliness and irreverence of her early work — some of it has become part of our daily lexicon (see: Dinosaur). When I found out how many hits she’s written for other artists, and how smart she is, I loved her even more. I can 100% appreciate a smart girl having fun and making money without trying to prove anything about how smart and mature she is. She’s been through some hellish ordeals in the past few years, so nothing makes me happier than hearing this victory yell of an album. 2017 has been a good year for music, and this is no exception.

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5. The Ongoing Saga of Lani Sarem

If you haven’t read about this, click the above link. TL;DR: author and her team buy thousands of the book she wrote to promote a future movie which the author will star in. The book winds up on the NYT bestseller list even though no one has ever heard of it. Twitter sleuthing and general nonsense ensues. Blues Traveler gets involved. The book is removed from the bestseller list. Then the author of the worst/best fanfic of all time, My Immortal, steps up to let the world know this is not her work in spite of the fact that the quality appears largely the same. The story is a wild ride from start to finish, and a testament to the fact that you should NOT mess with the young adult reader community on Twitter. They can smell weakness.

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That’s all I have to report this week! What’s good in your universe? Send me some recommendations!

Enthusiastically yours,

Claire

 

Getting Started

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There’s nothing worse than getting started.

I’ve worked many jobs, and the worst part is always those first few days when you’re clumsy and useless and waiting for someone to tell you what to do.

With writing, there’s no one to tell you what to do. You just have to sit down and start.

I’ve been batting around the idea of starting a blog for months, and avoiding it because I couldn’t think of what to write for my first post. So here it is. My confession. I hate getting started.

Blank pages are beautiful but intimidating in their perfection. Sometimes I visualize what I want to see on the page, but what actually appears is messy and flawed. When the result doesn’t match my vision, my first instinct is to quit. As much as I want and try to be, I’m not one of those people who lives by the “If at first you don’t succeed…” adage. My brain has warped that to “If at first you don’t succeed, give up, because you were never meant to do it in the first place.” This won’t be the last time I talk about Bad Brain™ on this blog, but that subject deserves its own post, and will get it in due time. However, let me tell you something that I’ve learned to tell myself over the past few years – Bad Brain™ doesn’t know what it’s talking about.

You have to start. You have to fail. You have to restart and shut down and sometimes do a hard reset, but you have to start.

I published my first novel this year. Sometimes I am proud of it. Other times I cringe at the thought. But then I remind myself that my career as a writer had to start somewhere, and for me, sharing my work through self-publishing was an important first step. Was my first novel perfect? Nope. Do I believe from the bottom of my heart that I have better things coming? Yes.

I’m no Harper Lee. I can’t just bust out of the gate with a bestselling work of literary merit. It’d be nice, but it’s an impossible standard. So I’m starting at the beginning, and chronicling it here for anyone else who might be embarking on a long-held dream.

To anyone who’s holding off on beginning – this is your sign. Let’s start together.

Hesitantly yours,

Claire

 

“And suddenly you know: It’s time to start something new and trust the magic of beginnings.” – Meister Eckhart