Monday, March 31, 2008

Beyond the Boundaries--Taking Risks

"Yesterday, all my troubles seemed so far away… Now it looks as though they're here to stay. Oh, I believe in yesterday…" (Lennon/McCartney)

With all due respect to Paul McCartney, I prefer to believe in Today. Even better, I want to believe in Tomorrow. Every word I type in the present is transported into a magical future, which is still yet a dream. The essay I'm composing will be read tomorrow or Monday or maybe next Friday. My WIP will take months to finish and weeks more to edit. We can forget in the tedium of the effort involved how miraculous tomorrow can and will be, especially if we lose sight of the magic in our words. There's something to be said for introducing Optimism to Risk-Taking and discovering how amazing this collaboration can be.

"Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore." –Andre Gide

Every writer goes through it. A manic-depressive swing depending on Where The Story Is At. When we're in the zone, the words fly, the ideas are so thick they infiltrate our dreams and we can't type fast enough. When we're stuck, we are admittedly unbearable. *grin* My favorite image (which I'm embarrassed to say is only slightly exaggerated) is of me dashing through my house, hands waving in the air, while I shriek, "I'm a hack!"

Ups and downs. Highs and lows. Welcome to the wonderful world of writing.

"You can do anything you think you can. This knowledge is literally the gift of the gods, for through it you can solve every human problem. It should make of you an incurable optimist. It is the open door." --Robert Collier

No matter how many times we go over it, the truth always bears repeating. Our thoughts shape our world. At the very least, they shape our perception of our world and perception really is everything.

"A man is but the product of his thoughts. What he thinks, he becomes." –Mahatma Gandhi

Studies are ongoing. Mapping the brain and proving repeatedly that Belief Works. Science has taken it a step further, revealing that thinking about doing a task lights up the same region of the brain as the actual activity. Even more exciting, visualizing that finish line (in whatever race we're facing) seems to carve a pathway in our brain that leads to success. Scientific proof for what has been a tenet of every successful person's philosophy for eons: Positive Thinking Leads to Success.

"Think like a queen. A queen is not afraid to fail. Failure is another steppingstone to greatness." –Oprah Winfrey

It's good to be the queen. *smile* There are no safe routes or any way to assure a life free of troubles and pain. Life is messy and filled with complications. Since we're going to get out hands dirty anyways, why not go for it?

"The only one who doesn't make mistakes is the one who doesn't do anything."
--V. I. Lenin

There's an endless variety of methods people utilize to move past writer's block or procrastination or (let's call it what it is, folks) Fear. Yet each and every method ends up at the same place. Sooner or later, you have to plop yourself down, whether in front of a computer or with pen in hand, and write. Why? Obviously, if you don't write it's all over BUT there's more. This is the horse you've fallen from. The longer you wait, the greater and more fearsome this beast will appear to be. Don't hesitate. Grab the reins and let the words take you for a ride. Don't concern yourself yet with deciding whether the prose is brilliant or prosaic. That's what editing is for.

And keep this in mind: The only writers who don't make mistakes are those who don't write. That's MY quote and I'm standing by it.

"If you're not failing every now and again, it's a sign you're not doing anything very innovative." --Woody Allen

Why play it safe? Safety is for wusses.

I read this brilliant post on the BookEnds blog by Angie Fox, author of "The Accidental Demon Slayer." Her words are so good I'm going to re-post them here along with the link (which hopefully will prevent me from any copyright infractions).

The post is called Angie Fox: Three Things I Had to Do in Order to Sell. Here, she speaks of the steps involved with taking her writing to the next level. To get from "almost there" to SOLD. Here's the first segment (may it whet your appetite for more):

The “No Way” Factor

My characters had to take bigger chances, have more to risk and lose. It’s easy to say, but a hard thing for a writer to do. It’s a vulnerable, risky place to be. I knew my story was big enough to sell when instead of ending my writing sessions thinking, “I hope that’s good enough to impress an editor,” I ended them thinking, “No. I did not just write that. I did not just make my character defend herself with a toilet brush and a can of Purple Prairie Clover air freshener.” --Angie Fox

Taking risks can lead you into unexpected places, and even better… it transforms your perspective of writing from an effort to an adventure. And on a practical note, when our writing excites us our enthusiasm will spark a flame within the hearts of our readers too.

"I would rather be ashes than dust! I would rather that my spark burn out in a brilliant blaze than it be stifled by dry-rot. I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet." --Jack London

So, this week's motivation is two-fold: Keep Believing and Take Risks. Those two qualities go together like books and readers.

And remember…

"If you wish to be a writer, write." --- Epictetus

April is just around the corner and summer a mere breath away. Let's keep the energy up and make this next week count.



Aithne Jarretta said...

Hi Chiron,

*grin* You've done it again! You have such a gift for making others smile and see everything in a positive light.

Thanks so Much & Bless You!


Chiron O'Keefe said...

Awww.... *blush*

Thanks so much! You made my day...

Still glowing,

deboradale said...

Chiron, I've said it before and I'll say it again - you make me WANT to write. Talk about motivational! Thanks for the great pep talk... I gotta go now... I have writing to do! :-)

Chiron O'Keefe said...

Wow, that's fantastic, Debbie! Write-on! *grin*

It's comments like these that make it all worthwhile. Thanks everyone!

Now, let's get back to writing! *HUGE smile*


Sandy said...

Another great inspirational post, Chiron.