Choke on Coffee: An ISWG Post

6:00 AM Elizabeth Seckman 62 Comments




The secondary definition of fear, right below lack of confidence, is the state of being open to danger or threat; lack of protection.

Okay, so you're not trembling in a cave, worrying about being eaten by a lion (at least I hope not. If you are, for crying out loud, throw the laptop at it and run!), but still...you've chosen to be a writer. A profession in which you pour your soul into words that you plan to share with the world. 

And the world may hate them. They may hate you. They may say you're a worthless hack who deserves to be drawn and quartered for wasting their time and their $2.99. 

Okay, so that may be an exaggeration. 

But the truth is- your words are part of you. 

When people kick them, it feels like they're kicking you. 

There is no way to eliminate that threat. There is no protection. 

So, there is fear. 

Fear leads to inactivity. 

Inactivity leads to excuses. 

Excuses lead to narrow-minded thinking. 

Narrow-minded thinking leads to refusal to learn and grow. 

For example, Writer Jane is working on a novel. She tells a friend who rolls her eyes and says, "A novel? Well, that and 50 cents will get you a cup of coffee at McDonalds." 

Jane cringes, but says nothing and heads home. 

She sits at her keyboard and screams, "This book must be amazing. It must sell at auction for a gazillion-billion dollars so I can shove it in McDonald's-coffee bitch's face. I must prove I don't suck." 

But what if I do suck? Jane thinks, defeated before she even types, Once upon a time. 

Jane walks away from her desk. She can't write today, the toilet has a ring around it that could morph into ebowla and could kill the family. Once that is defeated, she will study some books on writing. 

As Jane scrubs the commode, she reminds herself of the odds. Very few people write best-sellers. Hell, the few who do probably have aunts who own the publishing houses. All of them. Every single house in the world is operating on family and friend submissions. 

Jane gives the potty the final flush and decides to mop the floor instead of studying because...honestly, what's the point anyway? Writing is just a big waste of time. 

Oh, No Jane! This story could use an edit. 

Jane tells her friend she's writing a novel...blah, blah, blah...Jane punches her in the face- figuratively, of course...then goes home, reminds herself that she knows she can't fail, she can only quit, and types: Once upon a time a bitch choked on a cup of coffee at McDonalds...

Boom. Best seller.

Jane replaced fear with faith. 

Faith is the irrational belief that some way, some how, everything will turn out fine. 

Maybe not today. Maybe not tomorrow. But one day. 

There is no room for logic. No need for statistics and facts. 

Writers know better than anyone how endings are made sweeter when the stakes are high and the characters are forced to go through hell. 

It's where they grow. Where they learn. 

And it truly is the most exciting part of the story...



Join the IWSG here!
The Insecure Writer’s Support Group
  
Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

Thanks to our founder, Alex Cavanaugh, and this month's awesome co-hosts for the March 2 posting of the IWSG will be Lauren Hennessy,Lisa Buie-Collard, Lidy, Christine Rains, and Mary Aalgaard! 

62 comments:

  1. That was hilarious!!! Ebowla.
    That's right. We can't fail, only give up.

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    1. I got to work after midnight. The brain gets a little silly about then. So glad you enjoyed!

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  2. It's amazing how one doubt can morph into so much. Loved your take. But now I'm scared of ebowla.

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    1. I know! I swear, we should change the name of writer's block to writer's doubt.

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  3. It's so easy to let that fear keep us from getting anything done, but then we're letting those people who say we can't do it win. It's so important to never give up!

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    1. Exactly! And seriously, if they can't understand our genius, why do we care what they think? ;)

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  4. I never think of fear in relation to writers. I hope you just beat that in the face and carry on writing. I like your books. Actually I am reading a best seller right now and having trouble with it. I like ebowla too. Good one Liz.

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    1. Oh yeah, we're a bunch of cowards. We just know if we come out of our little writer trenches people will start lobbing bombs at us.

      I'm glad you like my books. Your faith in me keeps me going- even when ebowla calls. Hugs Jo.

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  5. Love this! Hilarious and true! And all the quotes are great.

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    1. Thank you. I consider you to be a lady of great taste, so I take that as a compliment.

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  6. I really enjoyed reading your post. It is so encouraging and I love your quotes. Especially the one by Jack Canfield. It's true once we face our fear and began to tackle it, we become winners.
    Shalom,
    Patricia

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    1. Thank you, Patricia. Those are some really good quotes. When I'm writing these posts, finding the quotes is my favorite part.

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  7. lol I'd do it out of spite just to shove in the coffee bitches face. A round about way we get our say. Iswg? I shall write good?

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  8. You inspire me, Elizabeth! I've found myself in Jane's position before, where I clean the kitchen when I should be writing. At least I have a goal to finish my first four books. After that, then I might try to write a best seller. ;)

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    1. I'm glad I can help. It is good to see smaller goals completed. Setting the goal at "best seller" can be intimidating.

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  9. As long as Jane's cheese didn't end up in the toilet, I think we're all okay. I hear way too many people thinking they will have a best seller on their first draft of their first novel, and I have to reign in my real-world-experienced laughter. Sure, it can happen, but it takes SO much more, right? Still, if someone had discouraged me early on it wouldn't have made a difference, but what if it does for someone else? That's why we are encouraging, teaching, sharing and never a negative voice, eh?

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    1. I always found other writer's horror stories invigorating. I don't mind working hard; I just need to know it's possible.

      And no worries, I always protect the cheese.

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  10. Awesome, awesome, awesome! You're right we must let our fears become faith. :)

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  11. That made me laugh! If I didn't have faith, I wouldn't be here today even in the blogosphere. Our characters have to go through hell to make a good book...and so do we. :)

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    1. Yep, coming to the blogosphere did take a leap of faith- publicly admitting you're chasing a dream is hard.

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  12. Love, love, love this! Yes, we need faith!

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  13. Elizabeth, this was a fabulous post. I definitely enjoyed it AND can relate to the feelings of doubt and insecurity. Oh yes, NOW I guess I have to put one foot in front of the other, figuratively speaking, and get to action... GULP!!

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    1. One foot in front of the other is exactly what needs done.

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  14. I like the faith quote! You really do have to have faith that your work will be accepted. It keeps you writing!

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    1. And you can get hundreds of no's and it only takes one yes to make a total difference.

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  15. Fantastic post, Elizabeth. And your so on point, with the necessary humour! Thanks so much for being so inspirational and just for being YOU! Have a great week!

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    1. Ahh thanks. I like it when being me works.

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  16. This was a wonderful post, Elizabeth. Made me get up the courage to do a few things I've been afraid to do. And now I'm looking back wondering why in the heck I was afraid in the first place. Thanks for this one.

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    1. I am so glad I could help you get some stuff done.

      Funny how thongs can be so much less scary in hindsight.

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  17. I can relate to those qoutes about fear, not a nice feeling but I suppose we all them at some stage of our lives. Thanks for a wonderful read.
    Yvonne.

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    1. Every new day brings new fears. But we just have to learn to do things regardless of how we feel.

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  18. I swear you could make a SS soldier laugh! Too right on fear and how it cows us. My husband is always saying, "F.E.A.R" is an acronym for "False Evidence Appearing Real." And I believe him, because I don't live in a cave or jungle! Thanks for dropping by!

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    1. Thank you, Lisa! You could make the grumpiest grump smile :D

      I love your husband's acronym. I think he hit the nail on the head.

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  19. Toilet rings should not be underestimated...hilarious! Now, I'm going to whistle, stare at the ceiling and act like I have nothing in common with the first Jane at all. Amazing how far a little fear can go.

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    1. Yeah, we're too bold to have anything in common with that poor, poor version of Jane.

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  20. Fear and faith. Some days are more one and some days are more the other. I like the rewrite of Jane's story. Now to rewrite my own.

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    1. That's the awesome thing about being a writer- edits and fresh starts galore!

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  21. Amazing post. Funny and so true! A real boost to every writer.

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  22. Such a well written post. I have been Jane at various points in my life:) We definitely should have faith that we can write the stories we want. I know I don't always believe, but I know I should. Thank you for this uplifting post.

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    1. We've all been Jane. If you didn't have just a little Jane in you, then you probably aren't yet completely familiar with the publishing world.

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  23. Hilarious, Elizabeth! Thanks for the pep talk and the story about Ebowla and the Bitch ;)

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  24. It does hurt when someone doesn't like your writing but your only choice is to go on. And can you still get a cup of coffee for 50 cents? LOL. Loved your story, especially ebowla.

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    1. No, you can't get coffee for 50 cents. I was just wishful thinking there.

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  25. I love it!!! There was a book title a friend was reading back in the 90s--"Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway." I've thought of that title over the years many times. Most of the big things I've done in life have come after I've been terrified--job interviews, editorial phone calls with publishers, making the leap from a government worker to full-time freelancer... If we don't have a bad case of butterflies every now and then, we aren't living!

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    1. I read that brave people don't so things because they don't feel afraid, they just learn to do things afraid.

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  26. Coffee punch! My own parents were against me writing. My dad said a garbage man can write. Which technically is supposed to be a good thing but I think you get the drift Liz. I had to go beyond their words and believe in myself. Plus I love to write all the time. My own fiction, fan fiction, poetry...I was not going to give that up to become...whatever my parents wanted. All I know for sure it was not for me to become a maid, garbage man or worse a writer. Well I'm a writer so...yay me and screw those who try to stomp out your dreams. Love you though mom and dad. Respect. But this is my life.

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    1. If you think about it- most people work long hours trying to buy happiness. If we can do what brings us joy, the money becomes less of an issue. Keep living your dream. One day they'll understand.

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  27. You hit the nail on the head about insecurities. I have times like these, but I think about my goals and push through. I can't stand naysayers. They used to tear me down when I was younger, but not anymore.

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    1. You are definitely the most goal oriented lady I know!

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  28. Nice. This was very smart and funny.
    Heather

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  29. This was perfect. I wanted to cheer by the end!

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  30. Thanks for the well wishes! Great post, too! Very uplifting!

    Oh, and congratulations on the win -- I'm waiting on a shipment of books and will get it in the mail to you soon!

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    1. I was so excited!! I understand waiting on shipments. No hurry. I'm a patient lady.

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  31. Tremendously well put. I enjoyed reading this.

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