Thursday, March 8, 2012

Between The Lines

As I turned off the TV my machine flipped to a channel I didn't know I had been watching- a PBS channel of some sort. I had my finger on the OFF button, when I heard the words, 'doubt' and 'courage.'
I had to put down the remote.
What the speaker was saying is that there is no doubt with out confidence, no courage without fear.
I can relate to that. I try to be courageous in my daily life. I try hard not to be afraid.
It isn't so easy sometimes. Specifically I have had to quell fear in failing. Failing to live up to my expectations, failing to do the best I can. The speaker went on to say that we all fear failing- and after 16 years of therapy- he is still flawed, and neurotic and fearful- but he doesn't hassle himself about it any more.
Groovy, man. A dude from my era!
This man is Dennis Palumbo and he was promoting his book Writing From the Inside Out, or how to make those inner voice work for you. I have not read his book, but I am going to run right down to the bookseller tomorrow and find it.
I was listening with two ears and also two hearts. Funny how one part of your life can melt into the others so smoothly sometimes that you don't realize. My writers side and my riders side often have the same fears, the same struggles and the answers to those problems are still the same.
He talked about gumption. Gumption not being the steely eyed grit that carries you through your task no matter what. But as a word that should carry you through your work with joy and excitement.
He also validated what I have long believed; sometimes you work and work and work at something until the joy and verve has gone from the task, and still you struggle. That sometimes you don't like what you like any more.  He believes that you must give yourself permission to step back, breath and stop the task until you like that you like it once more.

I can equate all of his advise not only to my writing,and photography and art- but also to my riding. I was not liking what I loved anymore. I had to make hard decisions and take a few steps back. I didn't stop wanting what I wanted, but I set about on a different course to get it. Now, with a new horse I am beginning to feel the joy of riding again. My determination to succeed is returning. I have a plan.

In my writing, I had to quit all the groups I was once so entrenched within. I stopped going to conferences for several reasons. Mostly it was the negative feedback, or what I perceived as negative from my 'peers'.It was becoming unhelpful and dragging me down. I doubted every word I placed on the pages, and hated my characters. I wasn't writing hip, dystopian novels in rhyme or cryptic verse. I wasn't writing sex, or blood or vampires or magicians. I was being told I was getting too old- I was un-hip.
So I put away my pencil for awhile,until I had a story wiggle its way onto a page one night. I liked it. so I wrote more. I remembered that Palumbo mentioned loving what you do and mirroring the characters feeling with your own. He reminded me that as writers we spend 98 % of our time actually writing- we should enjoy the process, love it as you love a child,and nurture the creativity.
And I am.
And I am enjoying the process.
And I have a plan.

I'd like to hear all of yours. Failures and plans- Doubts and confidences, Courage and fears.