Caving in the Sierras six or seven years ago.
We have to challenge ourselves to become better versions of our old selves.
To become better at anything, we must challenge ourselves.
To grow, learn, understand, and create new connections in our brains, we must get out of our comfort zones.
That is in writing and in life.
Our brain, our writing, our lives are built on what came before. If there’s nothing new to add, we can’t grow.
Growing makes us better people, better writers. Therefore, challenges make us become better people, better writers.
* saying things in different ways can help more people understand and relate.
I heard from a woman who asked me to share a story with young people. The story was my own, The Healer’s Daughter, from How to Throw a Psychic a Surprise Party.
She said the story was valuable and every young person who has ever bullied or been bullied needs to read it.
Bullying is a part of the story, and for the little girl in the story, it’s a very big part – as it was for any and all of us who were on the wrong side of the mean kids.
She felt, I believe, it would also help bullies to gain some sort of understanding. Maybe, maybe not. But I appreciated her feedback on what some people feel is a minor part of the story.
I appreciate the feedback and that my story touched her so much she feels the need to share it.
Our stories have power. And they have unintended consequences. I’m happy that mine leaned toward positive.
It doesn’t matter what you do, people are going to be adverse to you, your writing, your ideas.
Writers can not be people pleasers. Mostly because it is not in the human to be pleased or satisfied for long.
We need to seek and hunt and move forward.
However, I think many people strive on strife.
Nasty people feed off negative responses.
I ran into a woman recently who, for some reason, had a bug up her ass. I’m unclear what the woman’s problem was, specifically, and I didn’t attempt to find out.
There’s always a choice. And I choose not to engage with people like that. Most of their negativity and nastiness is more about them than it is about anyone they act out upon.
Let there be haters – Choose not to engage!
I’ve been worked over by a story all summer. I feel like we’ve been beating each other up and down and neither of us is winning.
At this point, I hate this story. But, no, not true. I love it. I love the characters and want them to have a voice, a say in their life.
But, gosh darn it – speak!
Maybe I have not been giving the story it’s due, it’s time. The main character, Bella, came simply enough and her father did too. This is the primary relationship and the source of conflict in the story, but then there are a whole bunch of secrets. Aren’t there always?
I wrote the first draft and showed it to my writing partner who said the story had merit and I should keep at it. So, here I am, months later, keeping at it! Frustrated.
Writers understand this. Sometimes stories do this to us. The story wants/needs to be told, but it’s so hard in coming.
I need to do it. I need to force it. I need – I don’t know. Maybe it’s the story’s needs I should think about. It needs some time maybe, more thought; it needs to be brought to life for whatever reason it was given to me to write.
Sometimes, when I need some quick new ideas (my overstuffed file of ideas aside) I ask for a challenge. I ask people to give me two things, and they can be random. A pet bunny and a fear of heights. A bridge and a broken leg. They don’t even have to have anything to do with each other.
This is a challenge and a creative inspiration exercise – can I write short stories from these ideas?
Last time I asked for such a thing – I used all but one of the ideas and wrote five short stories in a month.
One of my writer friends said I can’t do that, I shouldn’t do that. She said that was false writing or forced writing.
Okay, but… Sometimes we need to force things out in order to get back into good habits, and, gosh, don’t tell me can’t. It just makes that two year old inside me want to do it even more.
I do understand what she’s saying – writing should be organic and natural to us. BUT – as I say, sometimes you gotta push it a little.
By the way – all those short stories were accepted and/or published within a few months.
So – anyway – I’m asking now. I need a little forcing. Give me two things. Random or not. Can be anything. Mayonnaise in a taco random or bunny on a beach cute.