Fear Can Be Your Friend

Coffee_Novelist FuelOh, Yeah! According to my January novel rewriting/revision schedule, I’m supposed to turn in at least 9,000 words to my writing coach before I go to bed tonight. Instead, I emailed over 14,000 words to her last night. Ha! Obviously, my daring and diabolical motivational strategy is working perfectly. If I keep this up, I might actually have this draft ready a week or two early. WOO HOO!

And what is the key ingredient to this success? Fear.

Which, I must admit, gives me some pause. You see I have always been and probably ever shall be a HUGE proponent of Yoda’s teachings, especially this quote:

“Anger, fear, aggression; the dark side of the Force are they. Easily they flow, quick to join you in a fight.”

I’m one of those annoying types who believes that everything in this life should be about Love and Light and Creative Energy. Stuart Smalley is my hero. So why is it that I’m only able to conquer my worst demons with a fear-based strategy administered by a tough enforcer?

The easy answer is my momma raised me right. Which means that I learned early on that my main “job” in life was to be a good daughter, a good student, a good neighbor and a good citizen. And there were serious consequences for falling too far off the path of goodness. There was no doubt in my mind that, if I strayed too far from decency and goodness, my momma would take me out. OUT!

I suppose that’s part of why this strategy is working for me, but I think there’s a much more important element in this equation that may not be so obvious right at first – Love.

I love creativity. I love writing. I love my crazy, imperfect first novel and its Star Wars infused message of love, forgiveness and hope. Publication will carry that message out into the world. If just one person who reads my novel feels a little bit better about life, then this novel will be a success. And yet, I am a perfectionist and fear sending out a novel with my name on it that is not absolutely perfect and as wonderful as it can possibly be. Every time I stumble and fail to meet a goal on this project, fear (aka The Dark Side) wins another battle. Last year, it was a tiny battle between me, myself and I with all three of us taking some losses.

These non-profits my friend picked to fund if I fail this month…WHOA! They are all about fear, hatred and aggression on a much larger scale that hurts society as a whole. Every dollar in their hands is (in my opinion) a weapon for evil. Now, successfully completing this project has become necessary in order to defend a valuable resource from an evil foe.

I think it’s impossible to live your life without feeling fear. I think the true Jedi feels fear, recognizes it, controls it, and, with a loving heart, uses fear to take positive action for the greater good.

Do you think I’m crazy? Maybe. But here’s a quote from another great and wise teacher that seems to indicate I’m on the right path:

“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”

-Nelson Mandela

[photo credit: bluestar_tam via photopin cc


[Insert Clever, Sane Title Here]

How are your New Year’s resolutions going? Mine are going so poorly, I’ve definitely decided to make Chinese New Year my NEW New Year’s resolution day.

That said, I am NOT going to burden y’all with a list of my personal failures. (Sometimes I bore even myself!). So, no.

Let’s skip to the good news…I have declared 2012 to be my Submit-a-Palooza! This means I’m going to submit my first novel like a crazy person. I am not allowed to give up until I’ve received at least 100 rejections.

(Oh please God, don’t let me receive 99 rejections!)

And I am ON TRACK with this resolution. Not wanting to prolong the agony, I’ve registered for the Writer’s Digest Conference & Pitch Slam…which takes place tomorrow. I could squeeze in 20-30 rejections in one short day. Woo hoo.

UGH! [Fill in here with lots of filth flarn filthy language] Why is this so freaking difficult?

Here I sit in a LOVELY restaurant called Remi (seriously, check it out online cause I’m not sure I really linked to it on the iPad version of WordPress). I’m eating gorgeous roasted baby artichokes and barely tasting them. No, I’m too busy obsessively reading/re-reading my pitch notes and wishing I could just DIE! Right now I would rather hurl myself off the roof of the Sheraton than face the humiliating gauntlet of Pitch Slam tomorrow. But I will do it. I will. And then I will bitch about it here.

Stay tuned for humiliations galore….