Acing the Writing Job means…

Holy cow, they expect me to write content that’s-what? Based on metrics? And delve into financially dulled data emerging with some fascinating insights that that 6 minutes to read? Ok, sure it’s SEO friendly, that isn’t too hard to figure out, but as the last reflections of sunlight drain from the sky, I blink toward the dark unknown fearing the challenges that must certainly be ahead.

This is the reward of getting a paid writing job! The certainty that uncertainty is around the corner. It liberates the critical broken record that plays in my head- that voice seeking safety at all costs has woken up to demand center stage. Images of my  future self’s failure to learn something are flickering on my mental screen now,before I’ve even made my first day’s appearance. Okay, you’re a familiar lie, I nod, playing the kinder mentor to myself.

The thing I know for sure is that writing is what I’m doing now, to deal with feeling nervous about writing.And I’ll write about learning new techniques, too. I’ll find writing tedious and no doubt write that I’m sick of writing. And then edit that and whine about being sick of editing. Writing is what helps me learn and so what better than a chance to learn more about writing? I can’t know more than I know today, although writing has helped me imagine what a year from today may be. I wrote  about getting through a first year at the job and it worked like a lasso to pull my imagination  into visualizing success.

If I didn’t write, I can’t imagine who I’d be. I can imagine both trial and triumph, success and setbacks in the new job ahead. In crafting sentences that readers can well imagine, I’ll be extending this habit that sustains me. My neighbor told me that the job was meant just for me- a kindness meant to reassure me as I explained how in shock I was. It is, however a possibility. It’s an open door  in a mansion full of words I’ve yet to shape into form.

Writing From The Soul

This morning found me taking time to free write using a prompt sent my way by a Jane Brunette’s website called Writing From the Soul. Free writing turned out to be a good jumping off point, a brainstorming session which I combined with another device:dangerous writing.  Portland’s writer’s guru, Tom Spanbaner insists we focus on the very things we’d rather avoid, suggesting that what we need to get closer to discussing are the things that embarrass and scare us. So,  I took the prompt ‘The unknown self’ and went after…gulp…loneliness. I sure don’t want to whine about isolation- how ludicrously embarrassing, and scary to talk about, right? But helpful to both loosening up the writing and releasing the sticky stuckness.

And then…I followed up with Jane Brunette’s meditative writing exercise- whoa, Nelly! New structure came through as if I were channeling a much freer writer! Result: An interview with my Unknown Self (aka US) that flowed in the 10 minute writing session.

An except:

 

Unknown self: Hi, I’m busy now.

Me: Doing what?

Us: Looking for a way to escape. You’re trying to get rid of me. I’m not comfortable being put on the page.

Me: Are you a sprite? Something naughty?

Us: I’m also your guide and your intuition. Like now, I formed this as an interview when you wouldn’t have thought of it. Also I’m helping you be safe doing unfamiliar things. I operate close to spirit, and close to the ground, too.

Me: Are you mine alone or do you drift like pollen?

Us: You’re not that separate from it all. Nor am I.

Me; Are you trying to keep me away from people?

Us: A little, but I can loosen up on that, if you like. Just don’t throw your whole soul into some dickhead to escape from being cowardly.  We’re all alone. And lonely happens to be a resting state for us. You’ve made it into a pity party. By calling it a wound, you knife yourself. Call it another day of being free, call it the joy of getting to meet people on-line. Just don’t hurt yourself about it. Let it be enough to be you just now, right now.

 

 

NINE THINGS I’VE LEARNED ABOUT BEING AN AUTHOR

Which of these resonates with you?

Jane Bwye

These are valuable tips indeed. Jeff Gardiner, editor and master of several genres, is well qualified to write a continuation to my “Author Countdown” which started by accident a couple of weeks ago, when my blog “TEN THINGS…” broke hit records last month.  We’ve shared a successful library talk, and a book signing. A quiet, self-effacing man with a lovely family, and we have Africa in common. Welcome back, Jeff.

1.  Cope with rejection. This one is important. You can’t afford to be overly sensitive or sentimental about your creativity. Very few writers get their stories or novels accepted immediately (follow this link to make yourself feel better – http://www.literaryrejections.com/best-sellers-initially-rejected/). Rejection is part of the process. As one of my friends likes to say, “Cry me a river, build a bridge and get over it!” Have faith in yourself and your book and send off some more submissions…

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Getting Those Babies In The Sun

Writing can be too dang solitary. Lots of writers work in coffee shops because being near other people gives them the ability to cop a buzz of energy. I laughed today when I passed the village coffee shop, snickered at the ludicrous image of myself trying to focus on writing there. Since I write non-fiction, maybe this is a stretch toward making new patterns, the following imaginary interaction which is fiction:

The men nod, but fall silent as I enter their domain. I try giving each a respectful flash of eye contact that’s neither so long it might possibly enflame passion nor so short that it appears I’m a shy child. I tip my head toward all seven of them as I say “Yasas.” Their raucous laughter has skittered away, replaced by the void of shocked silence and their eyes flashing volumes of suppressed conversation between them. It’s insane, they begin to mutter. The one with the largest mustache rises and strides out the open door, scowling back at me, his eyebrows twitching. It’s too sunny to sit outside at a table-I couldn’t see the screen in the midday glare and it’s not much better in the corner, so I have to angle my notebook and scrunch down in a position that makes my neck ache even before the woman comes to take my order. There’s no hope of them having decaf, so I don’t even ask.  I do enjoy a Greek coffee but…it’s a small shot that packs a lot of caffeine. You knock it back in six sips and then there’s the glass of water which you could drag out into a half hour affair, at best. It’s not as easy to nurse as a latte. And when the beverage has been consumed, there I am: the Foreign woman squatting in the men’s territory: The coffee shop. The laughter resumes; it’s good I don’t speak Greek because I don’t need to know precisely what’s being said about me. These old timers know all about laptops. People use them to watch porn. Period. That’s the one and only thing they do on them. Ever. And look at me with my nose almost touching the screen- my God what a nymphomaniac I obviously am! Brazen hussy dragging her obscenity right into the last bastion of Cypriot male sanctity- to their coffee shop! Filthy slut.

Yeah, what a charming work day that would be, eh?

This site seems like a better alternative today. Yesterday I entered my first writing contest ( Creative Nonfiction on the topic of weather)and now here I am starting this site because my babies need to see the light of day. I’ll never be as good a writer as I ache to be, but I’ve graduated to the stage where I need to join a community. A single expat American woman living in Cyprus, I’m writing a memoir-a big ambitious first book that’s teaching me how and why I write. I write to connect. I write to learn. I yearn to meet fellow travelers and writers in every nook and cranny of the globe. Whether you’ve put your work into the glare of the light or are just coming to be ready to do that, like me, I’m joining the tribe and I hope to be of some use to you.