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Friday, January 18, 2013

Writing vs. Being a Writer

Writing is fun. It's cathartic and exciting to explore the stories in my head and see what all those voices are talking about. It's a tumbling, nerve-wracking journey down the rabbit hole that lets other people see just what level of crazy I have to deal with on a daily basis.  But most of all, it's just fun.

Being a writer, on the other hand, is hard. It's business. It's queries and submissions and carefully considering the commercial viability of what I'm doing. It's a tumbling, nerve-wracking journey down the rabbit hole of all my insecurities, neuroses, and fears. Most of all, it's just hard.

Making the transition from writing to being a writer is frightening. What if my stories aren't nearly as engaging as I think they are? What if I'm not nearly as good a writer as my friends and family tell me? Worst of all, what if no one cares about what I have to say?

I'm in the process of moving from just writing to being a writer. It's frustrating but exciting. The decision hasn't come lightly; in fact, it's been 6 or 7 years in the making. It's been careful financial planning and research, following writers and going to writers' conferences, doing everything I can to learn the business and improve my craft.

But like sky diving, being a writer is not an intellectual exercise. You can only read so much about what it feels like to reach terminal velocity before you reach that point where you have to step out of the plane and into the wild, blue yonder. No matter how scary it is.

I try not to let the thoughts that come with being a writer interfere with the writing. When I do, the writing well dries up and the stories stop coming. No one will care about Cindi White or Mason Justiss or Sweetbrush, Tennessee, me says to myself. I'm not known so no agent will rep my work and no publisher will ever take a flyer on me.

So I have to keep these two things separate. I have to write. Then I have to take off my magical writing beanie and put on my sensible being a writer fedora.

Writing is fun. Being a writer is hard.

But dying without trying is even harder.

So I have to find a way to do both.

Even if stepping out of the plane is scary.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013


"...lovin' you whether, whether times are good or bad, happy or sad..."

A new tradition was born last night, about 10:00 pm Winter Springs, Florida time.

Mrs. Smokey and I were cleaning up after our dinner of home made split-pea soup (first attempt...didn't turn out too bad) and listening to Seal's new "Soul 2" CD.  Great soul classics, beautifully done.

When the former Mr. Klum's cover of Al Green's classic, "Let's Stay Together" came on, we spontaneously began dancing around the kitchen, me staring deeply into her hypnotic brown eyes, falling all over again under their spell, while she giggled at me.  I didn't even bother trying to sing the lyrics...I just told her to imagine it was me singing.  That made her giggle even more.

After the song, we decided that we had a new tradition.  Every New Year's Eve, sometime prior to the dropping of the ball in Times Square (mainly because we usually don't make it to midnight, unless it's London time), we will dance to Seal's version of this song, in our kitchen, as both of a marker of time together and as a commitment to each other.

As I was out for a bike ride this morning, however, it came to me that our new tradition has even more meaning.  It was silly and spontaneous.  It was free and fun, a reminder of the importance of giving ourselves to the moment to create those memories that are the milestones of our life together.

So this simple, silly act also became another commitment to each other and to ourselves:  going forward, we will continue to move toward a life of freedom with each other.  We will jump off the garage roof with a towel for a cape just to chase our dreams.  We are confident both that we can make it and that if we don't, we'll have a friend there to laugh with, to cry with, and to support each other as we find, then chase, our dreams.  Come what may.

Knowing that support is there makes it possible to believe I can fly, no matter what anyone else (including the voices in my head) says.

Laugh if you want, but do you know who will never fly?

The man who never tries.

Here we go, baby...2013 is gonna be a helluva ride and there is no human being -- living, dead, or not yet born -- with whom I'd rather take the ride.

When:  December 31, 2013
Where:  Our kitchen
What:  Dance

It's a date.

I, I'm so in love with you 
Whatever you want to do is all right with me
'Cause you make me feel so brand new
And I want to spend my life with you...