I don’t have an agenda today; just some thoughts to share with you.
Today I sent a story to a magazine that gives submitting writers the first line. It can’t be altered in any way. The story must spring from it.
I thought and thought. What to do with it? Was my idea trite? Would there be other submissions like it? I told myself to focus. Don’t worry about what others are doing. How could I make it my own? Eventually I got in the groove and came up with something pretty neat. I hope they like it. I certainly enjoyed the process.
That’s the nature of a challenge. When life gives you something, whether difficult or not, you must own it. You’re only accountable for your own response and following that, your actions, or inactions.
Many times we don’t try something because we’re afraid of the outcome. Writers write, but then don’t submit. Artists abandon their work for personal reasons and then never go back. People eye each other across a crowded room, but never take the plunge and miss out on what could possibly be a galvanic connection, personal or professional, that could make their lives better. Why do we do this? Because we’re afraid of humiliation? Or maybe, because we just don’t think we can do it?
I have a few challenges in my life right now, which are sorely testing me. I’m trying to look on them as opportunities, for some of them have the potential to enrich my life greatly. It’s the promise of a great payoff that keeps me plugging away, despite obstacles my secret Anxiety Demon tells me are insurmountable. The uncertainty of working so hard for something that I want without knowing if I’m going to have it damn near kills me, especially when writing doesn’t go well. And some things are out of my control and in the hands of others. But I have to trust that they will turn out all right.
That is my biggest challenge. I’m a worrywart, a pessimist. I crave reassurance. I don’t know if all artists are this way. I can only speak for myself. I have to learn not to talk myself out of things, whether a story problem, a pile of work on my desk at the day job or the next query after a lovely Reply O’ Doom. It’s just a matter of sitting down and calming myself and not thinking catastrophically or giving up and walking away from what I want just because a little uncertainty happens to creep in.
Some days are harder than others. Lately, it’s been tough to get back into that groove, but look what I accomplished with just one line. There’s no telling what wonderful things may be just around the corner.
If you have a particular strategy you use to help yourself face personal and professional challenges, please share in the comments.