Sunday, June 20, 2010

What Do You Answer To?

"Nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent." ~Eleanor Roosevelt

When I first came upon this quote years ago, the revelation was a sunbeam piercing through a cloud-covered sky. Having spent my youth in hot pursuit of outside validation, the idea that I was actually "consenting" to feel inferior astonished me. And liberated me. Why would I consent to such a belief? Why should I? Hah!

We Can Be Anything We Want To Be.

"It's not who you are that holds you back, it's who you think you're not." ~Author Unknown

Writers struggle often with a need for self-validation for many reasons. An artist can step back and view a painting with one glance. However, each book must be read one page at a time. A dancer can feel her limbs sway, a singer can hear her voice, but again, that book must be read One Page At A Time. So we sweat and worry, seeking validation and reassurance, truly believing (once again) that outer validation will make the worry go away.

"Am I kidding myself about being a 'creative artist'? Can I possibly be a creative artist when I approach this effort in so methodical and left-brained a fashion?" ~~ Journal of a Novel, June 25, 1997 from Write Away by Elizabeth George

Truth is, all artists feel the same pressure, the same worries, and the insecurity that resurfaces time and time again. If you worry before you are published, chances are good you will sweat it out even when approaching your twenty-fifth novel. The words may change… Do I still have it? What if this one sucks? What will the critics say? Yet the need for reassurance remains the same.

"We have to learn to be our own best friends because we fall too easily into the trap of being our own worst enemies." ~Roderick Thorp,

We must believe in ourselves. While it's true (and obvious) that to become a successful writer one must put in the effort and produce pages regularly, success is not limited to financial or worldly recognition. The greatest outer success means nothing without self-appreciation or a firm recognition of Your Undeniable Worth. Successful people without self-appreciation are usually a mess (many examples spring to mind), as the gossipmongers love to remind us. Take a moment and think of people you've known, whether close up or from afar, who are self-confident, who love themselves and believe in themselves. Could there be a better definition of success?

"It ain't what they call you, it's what you answer to." ~W.C. Fields

Successful writers must embrace the relationship we have to the writing process. For better or for worse, right? Let's take a moment now and think of our greatest relationship of all.

The glorious and amazing relationship we have with our own lovely, stubborn, crazy-ass selves.

It's time to be our own best friends. Here's an exercise that is guaranteed to surprise you. Next time you look in the mirror, don’t just examine your make-up or check your hair. Don't frown and look away. Gaze deep into your own eyes and say those magical words: I Love You. Say it and mean it. The feelings this exercise will stir up may astonish you. And one thing is certain, you'll realize this is something You haven't heard from You often enough.

"Don't live down to expectations. Go out there and do something remarkable."
~Wendy Wasserstein

We are freaking amazing. We plot, we write, we edit, we revise, we stick to our goals and we prove that We Can Do It repeatedly. Even when time slips past and we don't meet expectations one week, the next week we're back at it. Pounding the keys. Searching for just the right word. Digging deep into our psyche to create a dynamic plot twist.

Isn't writing an amazing process? How delightful it is to be a writer! Yes, it's a challenge but what a joy…

We climb mountains, soar through sunny skies, trap fiendish villains, thrill to a clandestine lover's kiss, all within the lovely pages of our very own novels. Ah, what a glorious life this is!

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." ~Anaïs Nin, Diary, 1969

"You have to expect things of yourself before you can do them." ~Michael Jordan

"I don't run away from a challenge because I am afraid. Instead, I run toward it because the only way to escape fear is to trample it beneath your feet." --Nadia Comanceci

Are we ready for a new week? Stretched before us like a pristine page waiting to be covered with profound or playful prose, lies yet another week filled with potential and promise. Let's embrace our wildest expectations and push ourselves like never before. Summer is upon us. Just think how much we can accomplish before the autumn leaves fall! What amazing pages will drift down from our consciousness as the winds of creativity lift our spirits and encourage our souls to fly...

As Frank Sinatra (or Michael Bublé might sing): Come fly with me, let's fly, let's fly away...

Wishing everyone a most inspired week!

--Chiron O'Keefe

Also featured at Pop Culture Divas.


Kate Sheeran said...

Hi Chiron! I haven't commented in a while but this essay speaks to my heart this week. Thank you so much!! Write, write, write!

Anonymous said...

Excellent, as always! I love the "Come fly with me" quote.

Speaking of looking in the mirror, I once knew a sweet, gentle priest who said to look in the mirror every morning and say, "I am the Lord's Beloved." Very powerful!

Speaking of powerful, I'm feeling quite powerful lately. Your support and your posts contribute to that. Thank you!

prashant said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Chiron said...

Hi Kate!!

I'm so glad to see you again! Happy to hear the essay hit home for you this week. Yay!!

Yup... Write, Write, Write!!!


Chiron said...

Hey Kathy!

I do love that song, even now, singing it in my head! *grin*

Powerful story about the priest. Sweet too.

Yay for self-empowerment!! I'm glad to help, my dear! Go Get 'Em!!!


Chiron said...

Excellent, as always!


Chiron said...

So sorry, Prashant, but I had to delete your original comment with the link. I've been hit with so many pishing comments that I'm deleting any that contain links.

I do appreciate you stopping by!