Sunday, February 3, 2013

Celebrating My Three-Year Blogaversary, featuring Guest Poster Mia "Awesome" Hayson

#DailyWings: "Whatever you desire is already connected in some way to who you are and what you now have. Find that way, follow the connection." -Ralph Marston

I'm incredibly proud to announce that today is the blog's official Three-Year Blogaversary! *cheer* To those of you who have been with me since the very beginning (yes, I know who you are), THANK YOU. And, of course, thanks to ALL of you for sticking with me, no matter how long! Your comments and encouragement always keep me going. It's wonderful to know that there are people out there who identify with the things I write, that my musings and observations of daily life resonate. Isn't a human connection, after all, one of the many things we constantly strive for? 

As part of the celebration, I have the lovely Mia Hayson from My Literary Jam and Toast as a guest blogger. HOORAY! Mia is an incredible individual and never fails to make me smile/laugh/feel fuzzy. A writer from Scotland, Mia blogs about the art of writing, delicious novels, fun blogfests and the occasional zombie. Today, she will be talking about the fear of writing. 

Let's talk about gut-wrenching fear for a moment. The last time I was really scared out of my wits was when I watched "The Shining" (1980), a psychological horror movie based on the book by Stephen King, in my film analysis class. I hadn't heard about it before, and our professor didn't tell us that it was a scary movie (admittedly, I should have done the research beforehand). 

For those who have yet to see "The Shining," the film is about how the caretaker of a secluded hotel, Jack, becomes possessed by spirits and is driven to kill his wife and son. Conveniently, the wife's name is Wendy. Not to mention Jack Nicholson does an impeccable job of portraying a normal family man who gradually turns into a human monster. At one point, Jack's smiling on one side of the bathroom door and holding an ax aimed at Wendy's head. During that scene, I felt the kind of fear that creeps up on you and has you petrified and holding on for dear life. Yeesh. I'm getting chills just thinking about this movie! 

I was like this the whole time: 

The scariest moment of our lives
But there's another kind of fear that's more latent. You feel it at one point or another -- when you want to pitch a story idea but think it's stupid, when you want to tell someone how we feel but have a fear of rejection, when you want to take a risk but don't want to face failure. This fear simmers underneath at all times, feeding off of your dreams until it takes over your decisions and ultimately your life. 

Here's a secret: being alive in part means facing your fears. In some twisted way, I'd never been more aware of my racing heart and cold fingers than when I was watching "The Shining." Facing your fears doesn't mean ignoring them or pretending they don't exist. It means acknowledging their presence, "tucking them in a jar" and jumping at the chance to pursue what we want anyway. If we always let fear get in the way, we'll always be stuck in the same position -- stagnant. We won't move forward in our lives. We won't learn from our mistakes. 

A few weeks ago, I wrote a poem that illustrates what it's like to face the fear of speaking out -- whether that means sharing your feelings for someone important in your life, standing up for what you believe in or writing down the words you've been itching to get on paper. At some point, we all need to take that chance. 


On to the fear of writing! Time to let Mia take the reins on this one!

~ ~ ~ ~ 


I'm so flattered and honoured to be able to celebrate Wendy's blogaversary here with you guys! OMG! Wendy is one of the most articulate, eloquent, and just super lovely bloggers I have ever had the good fortune to meet. This blog has kind of been a haven for Miss Lurker over here so I'm just going to try and step up with a post about fear and writing and things and then we can all wish Wendy many happy returns etc. So! A lesson in fear:

Fear manifests itself in many different ways for writers. If you can think it, somebody somewhere is losing sleep over it. Some writers wake with a start in the depths of the still night, only to start frantically checking our last email/blog/tweet/manuscript/text for typos (actually, I think maybe most of us do that one? I do anyway hehe) while others don't ever make it to bed because they're trying to establish just how edgy is too edgy in a children's book. 

The point is we all have fear. 

Just as some people are afraid of stuffed giraffes  and others afraid of toast in the shower, you get some real wackadoodle fears out there in the barren-lands of the unfinished WIP. None more so than the fear of failure. It grabs you as you pass the singing bush of querying, avoiding the hissing lake of broken words. And, if you let it, it takes hold. Recently I realised that I had been pricked with its thorns.

You see the thing about this fear is that it preys on our uncertainties. It latches onto us while we slumber, and only really begins to hurt when it's burrowed in too deep. And the thing about this fear is I let it prey on my need to please people. I don't think it makes you weak to want to please people. In fact, I think it makes me decidedly human. I want you guys to be happy and smile and for us to all enjoy things! 

Having said all that this year I decided to change something, and so far it's going just fantabulously! Having realised my apparent vice, I'm now making an effort to write what I want to and not what I think other people will love. I'm writing the stuff I want to pen. And maybe, just probably, I think there's a reasonable possibility what I'm writing is good. It's interesting. It's different. And it's absolutely me.

So! This week I put it to you, guys. Overcome those literary fears! Write something and enjoy the writing! Realise that a little fear can be productive, but a lot of fear can be creatively crippling. Remember that fear when we all started blogging/dancing/writing/ reading/walking/insert favourite activity here? Well that seems so tiny now, doesn't it? And people like Wendy make blogging so fun.

Lesson: There will always be unknowns but writing comes first.
Difficulty: Pretty to very hard, yo.
Remember: Write for yourself, you are your own reader, and things aren't so scary with friends.

What is your biggest literary fear? Congrats to Wendy and her awesomeness! Three cheers for this blog! I think having a blogaversary is a wonderful thing because it shows the world how long you've been conquering fears and writing for you.

~ ~ ~ ~ 


Wendy Lu


Thanks so much to Mia for taking the time to write this guest post for us today! Everybody should go visit My Literary Jam & Toast to give her thousands of virtual hugs and love comments. And thanks again, everyone, for coming to celebrate my third blogaversary with me! Here's to many more! Woohoo -- strawberry shortcake for everyone!



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5 comments:

Mia Hayson said...

Wendy! Thank you for having me!!

I love your part on fear. So true. Living is facing your fears!

Also, that cake looks DELISH.

<3

Michael Offutt, Speculative Fiction Author said...

I think people need to learn to live in balance with fear because it is an extremely useful emotion. There's a reason we are afraid of things both physical and emotional. Sure...there's the argument that fear holds us back. Said in the words of a viking in the movie The 13th Warrior, "Fear profits a man nothing."

Okay okay. Sure. But fear also protects us. We should be afraid of great white sharks and should get out of the water as quickly as possible. We should be afraid of black widow spiders because they bite you and can kill you with venom.

But fear can become paralyzing. And that's no good either.

I recently went to one of these self-help guru people like Anthony Robbins and he wanted us to walk across broken glass. I said, "no way. If you don't cut yourself open on the glass, then there's a trick to it. And if there's a trick; that means it's a sham, it's a lie, and I'm not interested in being lied to."

Some people did go across it and they weren't harmed. I just didn't need that experience.

Well the next weekend, Anthony Robbins got nailed on national news for having a self-help seminar go wrong as forty some odd people suffered third degree burns trying to walk across a fire pit.

How stupid.

Fire burns. It's science. You should be afraid to walk across fire. Simple as can be.

So yeah...fear is one of those things that people need to be able to confront, but also recognize that by feeling the emotion, it may be trying to warn us of something and we'd better pay attention.

Wendy Luane Barber said...

Happy anniversary Wendy Lu 2. And Happy early Chinese New Year! You are very inspiring.

Wendy Lu said...

Mia - Thank YOU for being a wonderful guest poster! :) And for the cake I used homemade cream cheese icing, Sara Lee's pound cake and crushed Kit Kat. It's delicious!

Michael - Absolutely, I agree with your bit about balancing fear as a defense mechanism. Without some fear, we wouldn't be rational about so many things!

Wendy - Thank you so much for stopping by!

Stephanie said...

I offer my belated congratulations on your blogoversary. This is a great post, reminding all of us to face our fears. Sometimes that can lead to our very best writing.

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