The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug. **Mark Twain

Monday, January 7, 2008

Hot Flash Fear

I'm 57 years old. I'm very secure in my life. I have a great family who loves me and is proud of my writing. I'm confident of the advice I give during lectures and classes. I'm confident of the counseling advice I give to clients.

If you are younger you may not identify with hot flashes. Eventually it's a life process all women experience. We should look at hot flashes as a badge of honor stating that we've made it through the wonderful life cycle of child bearing. Maybe we should even be celebrating our success.

It's hard to celebrate the sneaky surprise of an attack. Annoying hot flashes can come at the most inappropriate times. Just the other day I had a very important appointment. I was presenting my ideas, looking great and commanding the attention of everyone around me. As if hit by a sneaky sniper, my face turned red, my forehead began it's sprinkler routine and I thought I would suffocate on the spot. Embarrassment is a mild word for how I felt. I was rescued by another woman in the group who began her own hot flash routine.

In order to sound "cool" I've started calling my hot flash session "power surges". Somehow it seems like I'm in control if I call it a power surge.

I wish I could experience "power surges" with my writing. There are times when I have a great idea and it seems to be rolling through my fingers and onto the screen with lighting speed. Out of the corner of my mind comes a hot flash of fear. In no way could I ever express it as a beneficial power surge. It attacks without cause and continues to attack until I have to stop and return fire.

"What makes you think you are a good writer?"

"This topic is too big for you."

"No one will want to read this."

"You are neglecting your family to write something that won't sell."

"You are wasting your time."

"You remember the submissions editors show in conference classes as what not to do? This submission will be shown next year. You will be laughed at as not knowing what you are doing."

If you've received even one rejection letter or had one person verbally say, "It's good...but..." Then you have probably experienced Hot Flash Fear.

So how can we return fire?

1. Move away from the computer or where ever you are writing. You won't be wasting time. Just take a few minutes to pray and ask God for strength. Getting away from the computer will reset your thinking.

2. Force your mind to think on the good returns you've had. Think about the people who love your writing. Think about the people who have given you great reviews or who have published your work.

3. If you are just starting out and the good returns are few, list the ways you have improved and see your work as a time-line toward success. No one would fuss at a freshman at college because he couldn't do senior work. Don't let yourself be attacked because you are a freshman with plenty to learn.

4. Take a moment and re-read your favorite passage. Just a few lines that have made you proud will let your sub-conscious know that you have potential.

5. Re-commit your writing to God. Ask Him to lead and guide you as you work. Ask Him to open your mind and help you to be a better editor.

Now get back to work. This world needs your voice and needs to hear what you have to say.

God loves you and has called you to write,


No comments: