This is me, powerposing back in February, during a Sisters in Crime event. I don’t know what it is about powerposing that makes it work. I don’t even know if it does. Placebo effect? Who cares?
<———I saw a Ted Talk, so I did this thing to prepare for a pitch session. What’s really hilarious is the face of the woman sitting behind me. I’m sure she was simply trying to concentrate or meditate and I was splashing my prana all over her composure or whatever. I felt bad, but when you see a chance, you take it, right? You make the most of it. I was pitching a story idea to a producer dude. I needed energy. So I stood there like an idiot and I smiled. This photograph was taken by a person who took turns powerposing and taking pictures with me. That is apparently a very popular ted talk. Thank you Dr. Amy Cuddy!
Visit This Ted Talk in a new Window. You’re welcome.
Monday, I sent the first viable draft of My Cowboy Freedom to my editor and I am really really proud of it—for a first draft.
It represents a really critical struggle: one during which I truly believed I might have to look for another job.
I can’t be the only author who ever got lost or imprisoned in a manuscript, who had to write her way free, but wow. When I say the hardest battles I’ve fought have been waged in my head, this is what I’m talking about.
If anyone ever asks me again, “What do you do?” I am going to say, “I’m a goddamn professional writer is what I do.”
Because despite the fact that I lost faith in myself about five percent of the way in, and despite the fact it was a deeper, more meaningful loss of faith than I have ever had, I fought hard to keep my job. I worked, even though I had no enthusiasm. I wrote, even when I had no energy and no ideas and no desire to do it. I finished, even though I wanted to quit.
I got help, because I didn’t kid myself: I needed help. (see writernextdoor.com)
In fact, it has been almost as though *sarcasm font* I have a real job, it’s been THAT hard.
Note, I did NOT have a capricious Sharon Stone Muse to fluff me while I worked, either. (Universe? I don’t want to harp on the Sofia Vergara thing, but OMG, I love her so much. Please and thank you!)
Now for the UGLY truth: I am mother tiger who plays favorites and this job–this book–wasn’t the child I loved best.
Authors have feelings too. I might want to write noir but my brand says Romance. Or what if I’ve discovered a new genre I love or I’ve gotten into the music scene and now I only want to write lyrics to songs. That’s still writing right?
I had to asked myself an important question:
“Am I a professional writer? OR, Am I a person who goes to writing and now I don’t like it so I want whoever is in charge to call my mom to come and pick me up?”
Or maybe I have a way, way worse, question: “Am I a person who had a moment and a muse who left me, and now it’s all gone, poof, bibbity, bobbity, boo, like some magic I’ve used up? Wait!!! Is this shit finite? Am I wasting my preciousssss words on this story, or that story, while I could be writing the other story–the one my heart believes in so completely it’s probably cosmically awful crap?”
Because oh, my god, what if I believe in a story that hard and it actually is Cosmically. Awful. Crap?
No. No. Creativity doesn’t come from outside of the creator. We all know better than that. Even I know better than that. I do.
It’s in precesly those awful moments everyone who has a job–except members of congress, apparently–find out: Shit gets real sometimes and you still have to work.
Deep. Breath. In … Out.
I fixed it. I made myself hang the f*ck on. I worked through uncomfortable writing sessions. I wrote in spurts of 250 wrong words that I was lucky to find on any given day, but now I’m done.
I finished 93K words of a book that I think should probably only be about 85K and now I must begin the unenviable process of taking out all the stuff that doesn’t belong and scouring the universe for more of what does.
And it’s going to be awesome! Or it’s not. Oh my god, maybe it’s really, really not…
And that’s okay. It’s fine. It’s PERFECT.
Because I’ve got more where that came from.
We write to contract. We write to deadline. I have to confess here that I am way, way behind on my deadlines and that’s part of what is adding to my personal shame. I can and will catch up.
I am a great worker. I am a terrific employee. I don’t want to be perceived as anything else, ever.
I am a professional, I keep my promises. And that’s exactly because the business is fickle and fast-changing and audiences are migratory. In the end all I may have to show for my art is my professionalism.
What I can tell you now is I have the power of writing.
I can write anything. It’s my job, not my hobby. It’s a project, a plan, an adventure, a journey I am prepared to take. I am prepared to work like a fiend. I’m prepared to expect adversity. I’m prepared to love my delete button so much I lick my delete button until we achieve simultaneous orgasmic electrocution, that’s how much I’m prepared to love it.
I’m prepared to throw out days and days and days’ worth of work if I think you, dear reader, deserve better from me. And I am prepared to have a goddamn blast doing it.
So that’s one contracted book down. I have five more to go, plus four un-contracted projects. This work will take me through to 2018. But now I know I can do it, deep in my bones, in my heart, in my ancestor’s hearts, where all my stories come from, I know this.
I’ve got this.
From Partially sunlit Orange County, home of the world’s largest mouse house, I say: Let the books begin!
Okay word herd, ye ZAMbassadors, and ZAMsters. I know you’re out there. Chime in. Tell me what you’re writing, Tell me how you’re feeling. Tell me what’s new with you, because I have rejoined the world, and it is very fine indeed.