By guest blogger Saundra_M
MY THANKS TO Milli for asking me to do a guest post on her Fear of Writing blog. I am honored to be asked, especially since I’m new to blogging, although I have been writing and playing at writing since I was in the seventh grade. I’ve written a book and have had several articles published but had never seriously committed to writing as a career until this year.
Even though I enjoy writing, somehow I resisted starting a blog like a teenager resists good parental advice. I studied all those great how-tos and why-tos online . . . and sat on my duff for over a year, figuratively plucking petals from the daisy: should I?/should I not?
Of course I had my reasons for hesitating, the primary one being the big “Not Enough Time.” I am self-employed and single, with a house and large yard which I take care of alone. I have committed to writing a novel this year, and my greatest fear was that jumping into blogging would eat up too much time when I already have trouble staying on task with writing.
My second fear was that it would either sap my creative juices when I needed to apply them to novel making, or I wouldn’t be able to think of anything to write about. (Frankly, I am only wordless when confronted with a “should write” guilt attack.) My actual problem is settling on a subject at any given moment from the whole deck of ideas scattered across the table of my mind.
If we’re going to get really honest, I have to admit, the other big fear was my propensity to begin things and not want to finish or maintain them. I know this about myself. I have a lifetime of beginnings that were abandoned somewhere along the way. Fortunately, that didn’t apply to my kids, just projects: sewing, painting, woodworking, sculpture, writing, gardening, classes, and on and on.
I’m an Aries with Gemini rising. Aries is a great starter and an idealist but not known for finishing and hanging in there (ask Bev Walton-Porter, author of Sun Signs for Writers). Gemini is the butterfly: touch and go. This is just to let you know I do have my legitimate excuses and understand my proclivities.
So my challenge has been to make a Decision with a capital D. That’s when I jut my chin out and do the blood sisters act with myself, pledging to never, never quit until the quest is complete. It sets an internal will factor inside that feels like steel. Honest. It’s a melding of desire and determination that gives you backbone where it didn’t exist before, providing self-discipline and steadiness of purpose. It’s also a sense of mentally/emotionally burning the boats so you can’t weasel out and turn sail to easier waters of old habits. And how well I know that one!
That’s what I did when I went on an anti-inflammatory diet, not once but twice: a severely limited diet that eliminates much of what I usually eat. I have a sweet tooth and I love grains. I put myself through Christmas baking for my family (3 kinds of candy, 5 different cookies, pies and breads) and managed to not so much as lick a spoon or finger. I maintained it for nine months. This second time, it was to alleviate the excruciating pain of hip joints that lost their cartilage due to arthritis. It made a huge difference in just a few days: why would I go back?
That’s what I did when I wrote my book in nine months including 87 pencil illustrations. I stuck it out through a computer crash, two new hard drives and lost data, and a computer that refused to create a PDF file of the book until I changed a header font throughout the entire book the last day. I panicked on a regular basis, spent an embarrassing number of sleepless nights, and had nightmares that I would do all the work and not be able to sell it and wind up on the streets in my old age. Did I mention I have a vivid imagination?
But I kept writing and drawing. I kept scanning and plugging them in. I kept researching and tying it together. The day I put the CDs into the envelope with the hard copy and mailed it to a Missouri printer was a triumph for me. I had proven to myself I could write a book, and even leopards can change a spot or two when the situation demands it.
There is a wonderful quote by Goethe that I keep on the wall above my monitor:
“The moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves, too. Whatever you believe you can do, begin it. Action has magic, power and grace.”
It is true.
I published my first blog post on June 3 this year. I now have five posts and have set up a second blog I’ll launch this week. I’ve already written the first post for that one.
Editor’s note: I waited to hit the Publish button until the first post for her second blog was online. It’s official: Saundra_M now has two blogs! See Related Topics below for the link.
Yes, the novel writing is suffering in terms of time spent on it, but the blog has unleashed new creative juices that are spilling over into the novel. What I’ve learned is that sometimes what you resist the most is exactly what you need to do and the benefits will remain a mystery until you just do it.
SAUNDRA_M (aka Sandra Moore Williams) is a popular face reader and the author of Faces: What You See is What You Get. Currently writing her first novel, she’s also an illustrator, painter, book designer and astrologist. At Milli’s special request she authored an e-book entitled Face Reading for Writers, which is the enrollment gift for students of the Fear of Writing Online Course. Saundra_M blogs at Near and Now and FACEOLOGY.