High Concept vs. Heart

It’s the first day of spring and almost Easter, flowers are blooming and leaves are sprouting on bushes. Lots of resurrection going on.

And yet I’m acutely aware that we experience a pretty big chunk of loss in a lifetime and it can happen in any season. The older you get, the more loss you experience. Loved ones die, and there are the other losses; the loss of a job, an opportunity, or maybe even a dream.

In my case, an adored child moved far away. My sadness is tempered with pride and joy as she embarks on an exciting new venture.

Time to Regroup

I set out to find relief and that’s always been through writing. However, at the moment I’ve been concentrating on getting what I’ve written published. I’ve sent my manuscript to agents, but learned that the way to attract an agent is to write a high-concept novel that starts with a bang. My goal was never about tricking an agent into looking at my novel.

I wanted to engage a reader’s heart.

I finally made up my mind the best way to do that was to cut out the middleman and go directly to the source. Now I’m working with a cover artist and will soon self-publish.

Ah, resurrection.

Oh, and I’ve already booked a flight to visit my daughter.


The Universe is Speaking

I’ve learned to pay attention when the universe knocks on my door. Admittedly, in the past, I have let multiple hints slip right by me until something drastic comes along to jolt me out of my fog.

This time the messages started with a notebook from the bins inside Target’s front entrance. I picked up one with Yoda on the front.  A conversation bubble above his head said, “Do. Or do not. There is no try.”

I put it in my cart.

Yesterday I attended a cold wax workshop by Sara Post, a wonderful encaustic artist from Davis, CA. In addition to a demonstration on technique, she offered this advice: “If you’re going to do it, do it very.” Artists are always concerned about pushing too far and ruining a piece. I loved this advice.

This morning at my women’s Kaia workout, the message on the board said, “Committing to 99% is brutal; 100% is easier.”  If you think 99% is a good enough goal for workout, nutrition, intentions, etc., then you’ve opened the door to eroding away your resolve. That makes it harder.  I hadn’t thought of it that way before.

I subscribe to Seth Godin’s blog. Today his advice was that showing up isn’t enough.  To paraphrase: “Your job is to surprise and delight and change the agenda, escalate, and reset expectations.”

How do all these signs relate to my writing?

My mystery novel is finished. It’s been revised, reviewed and polished. Of course, I could work on it forever, but that doesn’t get it out the door. I’ve been researching agents and sending out queries, but I’m still on the fence about whether self-publishing is a better way to go.

I think the universe is saying:  Do it very. Give 100% and you will surprise and delight yourself.

Do you listen when the universe speaks to you?


Overcoming Resistance on Your Writing Journey

I bought the book, The War of Art, Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles, by Steven Pressfield for a young artist/musician and seeker. I skimmed it and thought the references to war and battle would be attractive to a male. And he loved it. He even read parts of it to me that he thought I’d like. And I did, so I bought a copy for myself and read the entire book in one sitting. I’ve read a number of books about writing motivation, so some of it was familiar, but every time I read something like this, or re-read, it reaches a new place in me that needed to hear it. There were many such places in this book.

The book is written in three sections: Part One, Defining the Enemy; Book Two, Turning Pro; and Book Three, The Higher Realm. Here are a few gems on resistance:

“Resistance is most powerful at the finish line.” It’s true. Right now, I have a finished draft of my mystery, Focused on Murder, and have sent it out to exactly one agent. This section turned a light on my resistance. I fooled myself into thinking there weren’t enough hours in the day to research agents and send out queries and synopses when I wanted to take on the 50,000 words in one month NaNoWriMo challenge. I’ve done great with that and have a first draft of a brand new novel, but my finished novel sits.

Resistance and Procrastination. “Procrastination is the most common manifestation of resistance because it’s the easiest to rationalize. We don’t tell ourselves I’m never going to write my symphony. Instead, we say, I’m going to write my symphony, I’m just going to start tomorrow.”

Resistance and Unhappiness. “As artists and professionals it is our obligation to enact our own internal revolution, a private, insurrection within our skulls.”

Resistance and Healing. “Remember, the part of us that we imagine needs healing is not the part we create from; that part is far deeper and stronger.” The part we create from can’t be touched by anything our parents did, or society did. That part is unsullied, uncorrupted; soundproof, waterproof, and bulletproof. In fact, the more troubles we’ve got, the better and richer that part becomes. The part that needs healing is our personal life. Personal life has nothing to do with work. Besides, what better way of healing than to find our center of self-sovereignty? Isn’t that the whole point of healing?”

I hope you, too, find something in these words that helps you in your writing journey.