Hidden on that little island in the river is a gazebo where I retreat from time-to-time. While sitting there surrounded on all sides by rushing water crackling over boulders and rushing across broken ice from the spring thaw, I am reminded of how temporary everything is and how small we are in comparison to Mother Nature.
Sometimes it's easy to put things off because of fear or feeling blocked or whatever the excuse of the moment may be. Writing is a challenging profession and, quite frankly, a competitive one. But when we're feeling discouraged or on that precipice of giving it all up, we need to remember that what's upsetting today may be an amusing story tomorrow.
I've whittled it down to three things that usually create the feeling of unease in myself when I'm not exactly where I'd like to be in my career.
- Lack of specificity. I'm a big picture thinker. I like to create broad ideas of where I'd like to be and the things I'd like to accomplish every year, but this creates friction with reality when time keeps rushing forward and I don't feel as if I'm close to achieving that ideal I have in my mind. "If you can dream it, you can achieve it," has always been one of my favorite quotes; however, not being specific about the how creates a constant drumbeat of frustration in my soul. Are you specific about what you want or are you like me...easy to see the big picture but fuzzy on the steps?
- Getting stuck in the habits that are no longer working--or perhaps never did. Long ago, back when I first published a novel, I read that online writers' groups were the "only way to get the word out" about your book. I participated in them religiously, jumped on the latest trends, stepped up into leadership roles eager to be a part of something great--but, even though the results really weren't there and group participation became severely lopsided, I hesitated to leave the groups and try something new. The reality was that I sold more books doing my own thing and before jumping on the bandwagon--I have great ideas and a few decades of experience, yet I was allowing "hobbyists" or those with more bravado than accomplishments, make me doubt my instincts. I remained and drove myself crazy with frustration! The insane part is that I couldn't figure out why I was so frustrated for the longest time. I thought because I'd read it somewhere once up a time, that I needed to continue doing things that were creating a hum of dissatisfaction and downright annoyance in my blood. Why did I think that? Why was I so reluctant to let go of something that no longer served any purpose and had become a giant time suck with ungrateful people who knew far less than I did about the business? Habit combined with a need to "belong" ended up dragging me backward in some ways. Being a soloprenuer is lonely--being a writer is challenging--I liked the idea of working with like-minded people, but it turned out that reality fell short of the "idea". If something is no longer working--or perhaps never did but you keep trying in the hopes that it eventually will solve all your career problems--then it's time to move on. My frustration levels dropped significantly when I finally said, "it's time to let this go" and I cut ties with groups that only brought drama into my life. Ahh...how amazing it feels to let that burden go!
- Always thinking in terms of "timing". Well, the timing for launching that story isn't right or my personal life is hectic so the timing for this or that would be "too much." Sitting in that gazebo surrounded by churning water is a great reminder that time is never waiting for us to get our shit together. It's either now or never. If you want something, the time is always NOW. Waiting for the stars to align perfectly or to have more money in the bank or for your schedule to slow down, will not work to your advantage. Just when you get that account balance where you want it, who's to say your house won't flood or you won't need something else that prevents you from pursuing your dream right now? If you're not living your dream life because you've been waiting for the right time or the perfect circumstance, then it's TIME for you to act today. Do something specific in the right direction toward making yourself happy. A lot of my frustration has come from holding myself back because of timing--waiting for the kids to grow up, waiting for book twenty to publish, waiting to lose twenty pounds, blah blah blah. While waiting, my heart has been banging against my rib cage sending a SOS to be free to soar! The timing is always right if it's a step toward being true to yourself. Realizing this has also lowered my frustration.
Amber Lea Easton
Amber Lea Easton is a multi-published author of nonfiction, thrillers, and romantic suspense. A professional editor and freelance journalist for nearly two decades, she created Mountain Moxie Publishing Services to assist authors in mastering the writing craft. Her memoir, Free Fall, is dedicated to spreading suicide awareness, has topped international best selling charts, and has been named by Dr. Prem as fourth on the "Ten Most Inspiring True Stories Everyone Must Read" list. Easton is also a speaker regarding parenting through trauma and suicide awareness. To discover more about Mountain Moxie Publishing Services, please go to http://www.moxiegirlwriting.com. For a list of all of Easton's books, articles and interviews, go to http://www.amberleaeaston.com.