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Friday, May 20, 2016

Writing Advice to add to the pile

The longer I write the more I realize...

Writing advice is both awesome and stupid.

I do whatever the ding-dang, butt-splinter can't sit, surge-protector fail, nap laziness, comma deficient run on sentences, cliché your face, I'll metaphor every line if I want to, awkward sentences are my style, it takes to get the words on the cursing page.

My advice?

Write the words. Let them be crap. Let them be cringe-worthy, industry-shunful embarrassment piles of letters arranged half-hazardly with unfinished thoughts as you spew forth the voicey storyline.


So here's the real advice.

Get VOICE in those words--all the VOICE

then, REVISE

That's the secret. Take our smoldering pile of thought puke and find all the diamond shards and ruby crumbs. All the sharp jewels that kept poking your brain to get out--gather them together--go back to those preschool sorting and puzzling skills and make something fridge-magnet worthy.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Confidence in the face of Anxiety

There are lots of obstacles to maintaining confidence, not the least of which is mental health. I highly doubt there is a person spared some internal challenge--it seems to be a gift freely administered to all humankind--the unseen battles within. The internal challenges may vary in strength and duration from person to person, and may have different impact on one's self-view depending on the individual.

Continuing the series on confidence. 

I'm blogging today to say, yes. Yes, mental health is a challenge to personal confidence, but it doesn't have to be a permanent fence or shield keeping confidence at bay.

My biggest self-view challenge is anxiety.
I know I have high anxiety and that the smallest thing can set me off. I also know that my reactions, when in a high stress situation, probably lack all reason and common sense. Knowing this about myself affects my confidence. I can't trust myself in this situation and feel like I have to apologize for reacting to anything--having no idea if I'm within the normal reaction range or if I've crossed over into 'If you touch that it will blow up in your face and we'll all die!' when selecting food from a restaurant menu.

Over populated spaces, loud echoing noises, people whose laugh could be mistaken as crying, or losing track of where my kids are, are all major triggers for me. As a teenager I avoided party invitations, dances, large social gatherings--because I knew it made me feel crazy to be in those places, and it only got worse after having kids.

Having said all of this, I still consider myself to have a healthy level of confidence. I'm aware that I won't appear confident all the time. I know that I might even act like a lunatic--afraid of unidentified noises and too many faces packed in neon lit rooms. But, I know that those anxiety driven reactions aren't the sum of who I am.

There are many obstacles and challenges to maintaining confidence. What I'm proposing is that we don't have to be 100% confident at all times. I'm giving myself permission to be uncomfortable at times. To react to situations that make me feel crazy, and not let those situations control how I see myself (that's a major challenge for me).

It doesn't mean any of us has to assume we're lacking confidence, just because we struggle with something unseen.

For me: Anxiety isn't pretty, it also isn't the only thing I am. Confidence isn't a constant either.
Both are a part of who I am, and may vary in strength from time to time. It helps for me to recognize my limits, and remind myself that it's okay to be uncomfortable in certain situations.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Quiet Confidence

Most often when I hear ‘be confident’ it’s in reference to being outgoing.
I’m not always outgoing. I can be outgoing, but it drains me.
Also, it’s my belief that I don’t have to be outgoing to be confident.
I’m a fan of the quiet confidence that doesn’t get the attention it deserves. Quiet confidence does not draw attention. I like to define it as
‘me being okay with the environment and where I fit in it’
If something in that environment changes, like an aggressive type personality, or say, someone telling me I need to be more outgoing, I might lose my feeling of comfort in the setting, and thus lose confidence in that environment.
Yes, my confidence is not fixed or set in concrete around my person.
I’m okay with that.
Being okay with not being constantly confident does something important for me:
I don’t have to sustain any given level of energy, which to me is the biggest thing.
I have permission to react to my environment.
I consider myself an ambivert personality, where I have the ability to be outgoing, but also need down time—lots of down time. Needing downtime, or quiet time—where there is no spotlight on me, nothing demanded of my energy level, does not diminish my confidence. It only means I need to recharge, and that’s a good thing for everybody.
Basically, there are lots of different kinds/versions/levels of confidence and no one is better or worse than the others.
Learn your type, and embrace it.
Like I say (but, admittedly Emma Stone says it better^^^)
Embrace your Quirks, Pursue your Talents. Don’t let anyone’s definition of confidence prevent you from being you.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Confidence and Compliments

Continuing the discussion on Confidence.

Compliments, humility, and confidence.

The triad of doom. Or the three-way that just ain’t happening in my head.

I grew up with the distinct impression that humility was valued over arrogance or boasting.
This spawned a bizarre relationship with compliments.
I love to compliment others, but get scared to death when anyone compliments me.


Basically, notice anything you appreciate about me and I turn into a deer in the headlights.
I know what I'm supposed to say, 'thank you,' and graciously nod acknowledgement of kind remark.
However, my instinct is to deny, deny, deny--lest I come off arrogant or boastful.

If I had it my way, I wouldn't only deny, I'd spend a good half hour demonstrating my numerous flaws in order to disprove said compliment--"There! Humble, baby!"


Except this isn't humility either, and it sure heck isn't good for confidence levels.








I have gained the ability to stare lamely for less than ten seconds before the nod and thanks. It's the best I can do.


To be perfectly honest, I often say a silent prayer that no one will notice me or say anything to me, so I don't have to face this terrifying situation of how best to handle a compliment.




I'm okay with me, as long as no one points anything out.


Monday, March 21, 2016

On Confidence

I've been thinking a lot about confidence lately.


There seems to be a lot of pressure on that word.
Or maybe on our population to be defined by that word.
I'm not sure how I feel about that, and I'm going to explore it, or try to.
An effort will be made.

Points to consider:
How do you define 'confidence'?
Do you consider yourself confident?
If so, why?
If not, why?
What do you consider to be the defining traits/characteristics of a confident person?

I'd love to hear from readers about experiences with this word, viewpoints, experiments, anything that has to do with the word confidence. Lack of it, gain of it, sustaining it.


Let's turn this blog into a discussion for a little bit.
I'm curious about how we see this concept as a group, while I'll be sharing ideas of my own as this series goes on.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Make Them Feel It

 Words have an ability to affect us.
How does that happen?
Hitting on our senses in ways we don't expect. It draws the reader in.

Using the senses in writing.

without all the nastly 'ly' words.


Visceral is something I hear bandied about a lot in writing helps. What does it mean to provide the reader a visceral experience?

Our goal, as writers, is to force the reader to feel things in ways they can't defend against.

These are in no particular order.


"He motions me inside, where I’m assaulted by the fumes of wood polish."


"I feel thin, not the skinny model kind of thin, the kind of thin that’s like a string of chewing gum, about to snap."


"I don’t have to yell.  Whispering in this crowd offers a validity that can stand up to pedigree."


"I’ve developed a taste for trouble. Like hot sauce, I’ve built a tolerance that I not only crave, but need to intensify."


"We’ve lived on Rockwood Lane for sixteen years without any suggestion of ‘moving up’ or ‘moving out’. Then Mom bought red exterior paint and murdered our front door."

What I love about writing/reading is wording phrasing something in a way that makes me feel like a tourist in written world, experiencing things old and new in foreign ways,
thinking differently,
sensing things strangely.


Isn't that what it's all about?

Monday, February 15, 2016


...On Presenting.

I'll be doing my first writer presentation.
Where people sit at my heels and bathe in the wisdom of my experience.

Which boils down to,

Just keep running toward the goal line.

I've prepared. I have a PowerPoint and everything. (I even have plans to share delicious candy)
But, that doesn't eliminate nerves.

Someone shared this:

TED talks. I should watch them on loop.

So I should be ready.
But, it doesn't end now.
I have to practice.
Oh that dreaded word.
The one that makes you tired because you know you demand as much, if not more, from yourself than anyone.






It's coming.

I've prepared. I must practice.

Just like writing.

Every. Day.

I'm going to go over my presentation. Again. Again. Again.
And hope I don't sound like a robot.


Unless I sound like Siri. That robot is alright.