02 July 2014

who i am

Last week I watched a seminar by Michael Hauge on DVD. One of the (many) great things he said was that when writing we must force our characters to fill in the blank to this statement:

"I will do whatever it takes to accomplish my goal, just don't ask me to ___________, because that's just not me."

It kinda tugged at me in a personal way, but I was bent on what I could learn to improve my craft and glossed over that part. Then, at the very end of his talk, he said something that tattooed the challenge to my forehead. Everything he'd been talking about also applies to real life. And to succeed in what we want to do, we must fill in that above blank for ourselves. It only took me a moment or two to know what my answer would be.

Until now, I've believed that I'll do anything for my writing.
And yet...there is actually something I have not been willing to do.

See, I'm adamant about being real. I tell life like it is. I don't know how to keep a facade going, or how to play mind games, or be coy (my husband says he's always liked that about me, at least!).

On the other hand, I've created a persona to write under. No regrets there; I love my pen name, and have every intention of keeping it. I decided to use a pen name twenty years ago when I was still scribbling poetry and just dreaming of prose. But it was to keep my writing life private. A secret. Because, well, I just...had to. I wasn't ready to share. And what if I don't succeed? Then what? For one, I'd have to explain that it wasn't amounting to anything. And if someone didn't like what I wrote...well, how awful. Right? (Wrong. Not everyone can be my audience and that is okay.)

I dislike being the center of attention. A LOT. But I've watched myself grow bolder by the month as I open up about to strangers and friends alike. I found recently I was no longer attaching the "...but it's a secret...be sure you don't tell anyone..." disclaimer to my confession of being a writer.

It helps that I've found so much support. Friends, family, general population. Excited, interested peers. I have so many amazing cheerleaders on the side lines. A fabulous writing group and critique partners that believe in me.

It's time to stop hiding. And I'm okay with that. It's personal growth, which is rewarding.

"I will do whatever it takes to accomplish my goal. Whether I publish someday or just keep writing for the sheer love of it, I can and will tell others what I do. Because it's who I am. A writer."

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