Got writers block? Jump.
Agents rejecting you? Jump.
Someone said your writing is rambling? Jump.
My kids are always jumping off our second floor balcony. Don’t ring up Social Services… they land on the couch.
Today I decided to try it myself. I climbed over the railing and stood on the edge. “I was a kid once. I used to do back flips off diving boards twice this high.”
The kids cheered, “Jump Mom,” and “You can do it,” followed by, “Don’t be scared.”
And you know what? I didn’t jump. Why? Because I’m forty-two-freakin’ years old. I hung my head and took the walk-of-shame down the stairs. I complain all the time about wanting to have the exuberance of youth, yet when faced with an opportunity to feel the excitement, I held back.
It got me thinking. Where else in my life am I afraid?
I thought about my book. Because when you’re writing, everything pertains to the book, right? I thought about the never-ending editing cycle, the queries... the rejections. And I am
Here are examples of how I stopped being afraid and started jumping:
I’ve got writer’s block.
I forced myself to finish my chapter. Here’s what I did:
- I put my pad and paper in a baggie and rowed myself up a river in a canoe.
- I asked my kids to write the ending. Kids have magical insight.
- I wrote naked. I wrote while eating. I wrote while cooking.
- I took a road trip. Pen and paper in my lap.
- I set the alarm for 3 A.M. to write. I wrote some incoherent stuff about root beer and went back to bed.
Someone said my writing is rambling.
I considered, for a moment, that my chapter was rambling. Scary thought. I read that chapter over and over again. I forced friends to read it too. I read a book on writing skills. I know. I know. I’m rambling. Finally, I gave in. I rewrote that damn chapter and it’s glorious.
"You'll never publish a memoir unless your famous."
I submitted my memoir to ten more agents.
Sometimes when we’re standing at the edge,
we don’t need anyone to talk us down.
We just need a push.