On Friday, we shared some of our writerly fears, and some of you shared some of yours back (thanks!). If you missed that post, I encourage you to check it out and maybe add your own not-so-secret fears/worries to the list. As Ursula K. Le Guin made clear in her Earthsea series, there is power in naming a thing. By naming it, you gain control over it. It no longer has the ability to make you afraid.
So, in honor of Halloween, perhaps today is the day to face your fears and teach them who’s boss. Dan Blank had a great post about this very topic earlier this week. In fact, he provides four very tactical tips on how to overcome fear and get out of a writing slump.
And, might I also suggest tapping into your dark side to fuel your writing? Sometimes, the best defense is a strong offense … like when I used to growl to keep the monsters in the basement at bay.
Overcoming your fears isn’t a quick-fix, silver-bullet kind of thing; but it’s also not an impossible goal. You can do it.
Books I’m Reading:
This week, I finished listening to Menagerie by Rachel Vincent. When I went to leave my star-based rating on Goodreads, I struggled, vacillating between three stars and four, and cursing that the ranking system doesn’t allow for + half-star options. My problem was that while the writing wasn’t what you might call “literary” (whatever that means – loaded term, I know), the story concept and plot were respectively fascinating and engaging. My “proper” writer cringed slightly when, for example, there was more telling than showing or when the pacing and tension temporarily got a little sludgy halfway through. BUT, my swept-away reader thoroughly enjoyed surrendering to the story (even – don’t tell! – shirking work a bit here and there and staying up late into the night because I just had to know what happened next).
At the end of the day, I’m just going to say that I enjoyed this one. It kept me engaged and dealt with some interesting ideas and the very relevant themes of fear, racism, and exclusion. Here’s the blurb from Goodreads:
When Delilah Marlow visits a famous traveling carnival, Metzger’s Menagerie, she is an ordinary woman in a not-quite-ordinary world. But under the macabre circus black-top, she discovers a fierce, sharp-clawed creature lurking just beneath her human veneer. Captured and put on exhibition, Delilah in her black swan burlesque costume is stripped of her worldly possessions, including her own name, as she’s forced to “perform” in town after town.
But there is breathtaking beauty behind the seamy and grotesque reality of the carnival. Gallagher, her handler, is as kind as he is cryptic and strong. The other “attractions”—mermaids, minotaurs, gryphons and kelpies—are strange, yes, but they share a bond forged by the brutal realities of captivity. And as Delilah struggles for her freedom, and for her fellow menagerie, she’ll discover a strength and a purpose she never knew existed.
If you read it, I’d love to know what you think!
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My Favorite Blog Reads for the Week:
- How to Become a Better Writer: 4 Ways to Deal With Criticism by @jkwak
- Five Ways to Hide Your Foreshadowing by @mythcreants
- How to Plot Your Storyline for NaNoWriMo by @jffelkins
- What We Can Learn About Fiction from Cute Videos on Social Media by @msheatherwebb
- How to Spark Your Story With an Inciting Incident by @hodgeswriter
- Creative-Writing Tips: How to Find a Balance Between Showing and Telling by @Janice_Hardy
PUBLISHING & MARKETING
- Three Different Ways to Name Your Blog or Website [Pros and Cons] by @aliventures
- Everybody’s Doing It by @GuerillaMemoir
- Balancing the Art of Writing with the Business of Publishing by @JaneFriedman
- Why powerful heroines star in my fairytale retellings – in pictures by Jackie Morris
- In Life’s Most Important Pursuits, Your Only Competition is Yourself by @joshua_becker
- The Muse and Me by @SPressfield
THE WRITING LIFE
- The Third Self: Mary Oliver on Time, Concentration, the Artist’s Task, & the Central Commitment of the Creative Life via @brainpicker
- (Re)Igniting the Writer’s Life by @truefactbarfact
- Creating Art Without Envy by @cometparty
- Parenting and Writing by @elizabethscraig
- Overnight Success and Other Fables of the Writing Life by Caroline Leavitt
Finally, a quote for the week:
Here’s to overcoming your fears, one at a time, and living the life you’re meant to live – writing the stories you’re meant to write.
Jamie Lee Wallace Hi. I’m Jamie. I am a content writer and branding consultant, columnist, sometime feature writer, prolific blogger, and aspiring fiction writer. I’m a mom, a student of equestrian arts, and a nature lover. I believe in small kindnesses, daily chocolate, and happy endings. Introduce yourself on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Pinterest. I don’t bite … usually.
This post originally appeared on the Live to Write – Write to Live blog.