Thursday, August 12, 2010

Jump off the Balcony

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 afraid.

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.


  1. Love this one. So true for all of us that write! You gotta love it, live it, want it, eat it, breathe it! It's all worth it right?! Yes it is!!

    Keep on writing...


  2. Makes me wanna jump, but I dont think my husband would be to happy to see me doing

  3. I loved those tips on overcoming writer's block! Did any of them work for you? Oh, and don't worry, I'd be petrified to jump off the staircase! You're not alone. :)

    Thanks so much for stopping by! I'm following you back!

  4. Wonderful blog - and your kids sound amazing. I wouldn't have jumped either - something about being in your freakin' forties - not that we're chicken, far from it - just realistic ;)!

  5. If I had jumped, I would be in a full body cast now. You made the right decision.

    I hope you get published soon. I can hardly wait to read your books!

  6. Wonderful post. It's true, we want that "exuberance of youth" back, but when face to face with it we tuck tail and hide.

    At least you have submitted your work, some of us are still sanding on the precipice waiting for someone to discover us so we don't have to face the jump.