Mama KP Mondays-Process

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MamaKPMondays_edited-1It’s that time again-Mama KP Mondays! First, let me apologize for missing last week. I have no excuse except it was Labor Day, and I did anything but Labor that day. I rarely take a full day off, but it was needed. We all need moments of rest, and that was my job last Monday-to rest. I’m not gonna lie, y’all. I suck at it. Taking time to rest and rejuvenate and just BE instead of constantly moving on something or working is extremely hard for me. Am I the only one on this? I’m working hard on trying to find some balance in my days and trying to figure out what, exactly, that looks like. It’s surprisingly hard for me, and I know it is for a lot of you too. And while the topic of balance and rest is coming, that is not my topic for today. Even if I clearly have it on the brain right now. LOL

Today, I want to discuss process. I’m always amazed at how different every author and artist I speak to is and how their processes differ. Here are some of the comments I hear:

“I know some people do it like this, but I do _________. I know it’s weird.”

“I have to have complete silence when I work. No distractions. I turn my wifi off and go to town.”

“I need music, mindless television…something going in the background. Silence in itself is too distracting for me.”

“I have everything plotted out completely. I work off of an outline and bust it out.”

“I can’t outline or think ahead for the life of me. I let the characters do the talking and go with it.”

Isn’t it funny (and I’ll admit that it’s amazing to me), how different we all are? I love the fact that the deeper I get into working with artists, the more it becomes clear that there is no right way to create. And that is the coolest thing to me. We were all created so differently ourselves that it only makes sense that the way we do our own creating would be different, doesn’t it?

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Here’s the other thing I find funny though… the comparison factor. Why do we do this to ourselves? We know in our head that there is NO RIGHT WAY or PROCESS to the way we create. We know it, but we still look over to the side at someone else’s process and think, “I wish I could be like that.” or “Look at how they do things and they have such amazing songs, characters, words…If only I could do it like they do.” Or we have it shoved down our throats telling us that our process is wrong because we do it THIS way and not THAT way or THAT way and not THIS way. Honestly, it’s kind of gross when I see someone telling someone else they are wrong because they do it one way instead of another way. We’re all different, so why is one way the best way?

Sure, there are some things that have tried and true processes. Best practices, if you will, that it’s important to pay attention to and be mindful of. I like to think that a huge part of making your art your business is knowing your business, honing your craft, researching and learning those best practices. But in the area of creating…it’s hard for me to agree that there is only one way to create. And I’m tired of hearing creatives tell other creatives and artists that their way is wrong. How deflating and exhausting for the ones that are supposedly in the wrong. And if you are always focused on what everyone else is doing, how are you getting any of your own creative work done? Let’s stop being all judgy, judgy and just focus on getting our own shizz done and loving the fact that we even get to be creative, shall we?

Because there is no wrong way to create. There’s no correct process to finish a novel, write a song, paint a masterpiece, etc. Again, we’re not talking about once you are done creating and want to make money off of it. We’re talking about the act of creating-pure and simple.

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So go do your thing. Create like madmen. Figure out what works best for you and kill it. Go hard and love every second of it.

 

Staring Up,

KP

Mama KP Mondays-WHY????

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This week is a short one because it’s really a time of self-reflection. It focuses on one question (well….maybe two put together) and that’s it. Are you ready for it?

WHY??? What’s it mean to you??

That’s it. Why do you do what you do? What does it mean to you to actually get to do it?

I think sometimes, especially when we are making our art our business as well, we lose sight of the reasons we do what we do. There are so many distractions and yes, voices, working their way into our day to day lives that it’s easy to get things muddled up. Because of this, I think it’s important to sit back at times and remember WHY we do…whatever we do.

Is there a right answer to this question? No.

Is there one answer to this question? Not usually.

Is there a wrong answer to this question? Unless the answer ends in physical, emotional or mental harm to you or someone else… Nope. Not that I can think of.

 

 

But you did have a reason as to why you starting writing, painting, singing, playing, acting… It may have started when you were itsy bitsy and then turned into something else as you got older, but you still have reasons.

So what are those reasons? Why do you do it? Putting your art out there for all the world to see and judge and criticize and praise and roll their eyes over and squee over and lose themselves in can be such a roller coaster of emotions and highs and lows. Why do it? Why put yourself through it?

Long hours with little to no sleep, or forgetting to regularly eat, or physical aches and pains, or emotional aches and pains, and everyone else’s opinions (those that matter and those that shouldn’t matter) coming at you… WHY???? Why do you do it? What’s it mean to you?

Because there was a time when what you were doing was just a dream. And then you put action to that dream. You worked and took steps and paid money for training and equipment and gave up time with friends and family and more just to make that dream start to come into fruition. What were your reasons then? Your reasons for dreaming it and your reasons for taking action? WHY?

Make a list and remember your WHY. Because there will be moments, and that moment could be now, that you need to remind yourself. I don’t think I need to go through a description of all of those roller coaster moments. You’re living them right now. What you do probably need is a reminder of WHY.

Because your WHY is just as important as your HOW, WHEN, WHAT and WHERE.

You’ve got this, friends.

Staring Up,

KP

Mama KP Mondays-Those Voices

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Those Voices…Including Your Own

I wasn’t planning on doing this post so early on. This was something I was going to tackle later-after we had discussed the Whys of doing what we do, and how to prioritize and time manage and all of those things that come along with making Art your Business. But it’s only Wednesday as I type this, and I’ve already had conversations eluding to this topic several times this week. I’ve had other conversations too, of course, but this one has stuck with me for most of this day. I figured it was a sign that it was meant to be discussed now instead of later in this series.

Have you ever had that moment when you are out with your friends or with your family and you catch someone else’s eye and they give you a funny look? We’ve all been there, I think. At least I hope I’m not the only one in this. You immediately say, “What?” And they reply with, “Nothing.” Or “I was just thinking.” And then the day goes on. But you can’t get that look out of your head. You wonder about it. Some of us obsess about it. Here’s a few of the thoughts that could run through your mind…

“Oh my gosh, did I do something to upset them?”

“They said it was nothing. I should just take their word for it.”

“But it was a really funny look. They looked upset? Or sad. Or angry.”

“Oh no! I bet they are mad at me! What could I have done!?”

“Wait… the other day when we were on the phone I teased her about her Mom’s obsessive phone calls. I bet I offended her then.”

“I totally did NOT mean to offend her… I should call her. I HATE when people are upset with me.”

“Should I call her? Am I blowing this out of proportion?”

“Okay, I’ll just talk to her the next time I see her or she calls me. There’s no need to be crazy. She said it was nothing.”

5 minutes later…

“No. I’m just going to call her now and get this over with…”

Proceeds to call.

Anyone else? Been there, done that, right?

I have a wonderful group of girlfriends here in Arizona that use to call that “MSU-ing” (Making Stuff Up). When that situation would arise, and we would inevitably call one another, the one who was NOT being crazy would say, “Don’t MSU. I told you it was nothing. I was actually wondering if the lettuce I just bought was still good for dinner that night….if I had remembered to book our rental car for next week’s trip…if I’d taken Michael’s work shirts to the cleaners…etc.” You get the picture.

And you hang up breathing a huge sigh of relief, and yes-feeling slightly embarrassed because you let those voices in your head get the best of you. Again.

Those voices are powerful things, aren’t they? Words, no matter where they come from, are powerful, change-your-life-and-direction, things. As artists, we typically internalize words in a huge way-whether we admit it or not.

Oh I know…there are some out there that put forth the “I don’t care what others think. I do my thing and you can buy it or not” persona. Sure, I think there is that out there. But I also talk to enough artists from all walks to know that, most of the time, this is not fully the truth. I’m not saying it’s not always the truth. Maybe there is someone out there that truly doesn’t give a rat’s arse what anyone else in this entire world thinks. Or maybe it’s the hard outer shell to try to deflect the feelings that bombard them when criticism (even constructive criticism) head their way. Whatever it is, sure, that’s out there.

But for most of us, the words and voices that head our way affect us one way or the other. And it’s really, REALLY easy to allow those voices to impact many different aspects of our lives. Examples:

An author sends out their first round of queries to agents and waits. And waits. And waits. The waiting is excruciating when you want something so bad you can almost taste it, and the silence is deafening.

Even the silence has its own voice, doesn’t it?

 

They begin to wonder if this is just a pipe dream… They whisper to themselves thoughts of self-doubt, thoughts that try to squash those dreams we discussed last week… It starts to affect our sleeping habits, our eating habits, our relationships, how we take care of ourselves, and so on… Until they hear something from one of the agents. And then the agent’s voice is mixed in with whatever thoughts are now flowing depending on the response.

Words are powerful. Even our own.

 

A musician lands the role of their dreams. While in rehearsal, the director that they have strived to get to work under and respect more than most tells them they have a long way to go until they’re ready for opening night. Boom. The voice of the director mixes with the musician’s own voice. You’re not good enough. What if I don’t get it? Am I one step away from being fired and the understudy stepping in? What will I do with my life if I am fired? This was it for me…and then we see it start to affect their daily lives and choices as well… Or maybe we don’t see it. I’ve come to realize that we don’t usually see those things actually. We see only what people allow us to see…

Voices can be life-altering. Even our own.

 

Every single person you come in contact with has a voice that can speak into you. They can breathe life or drop us into a pit of despair it seems at a moment’s notice. Our heads can spin and put us into a downward or upward spiral all from one phone call, email, text, coffee date, whatever. It can come from family, friends, business partners, strangers… It’s exhilarating and exhausting sometimes. And sometimes, as an artist making art your business, it can happen throughout a day as if you are on a roller coaster. I get it. I’ve been there.

But here’s the thing…

Sometimes we allow words and voices to have power over us that should never get to speak into us and have that kind of power. Sometimes we turn words and those voices into something they actually are not. Sometimes… we allow the voices to live for us instead of doing the actual living ourselves.

Because voices and words are powerful. All of them.

 

So as an artist, how do we combat that? How do we fight the battle of the voices being thrown at us when there are so many voices, including our own, shouting, speaking, whispering, staring…

It’s hard. Tackling the battle of the voices is hard. Especially when what you do is creating what you were created to make and do and then releasing it out into the world for the public to do with it as they choose.

It’s scary. Never knowing what is going to come out of someone’s mouth, even when said with good intentions, is scary. It can feel like some days are a battle. And many days you are walking on eggshells. One wrong move, one word misplaced, one silly look or email or social media post, and it’s over.

It’s vulnerable. Don’t these people know that everything you do, say, sing, write, play is your heart bleeding for them to see? Don’t they understand that you’re doing what you do because you can’t NOT do it? Don’t they get it?

Some do. Some don’t.

And that’s okay.

 

This life would be so boring and predictable and beige if we all just got it and understood and thought the same, felt the same, lived the same.

And that is important to remember. As you read words thrown at you and listen to voices in your ear, you must keep the mantra “Perspective is everything” running through your mind. Especially after you hit publish, stick that song on iTunes, or step up to the Open Mic.

Their perspective will rarely be your perspective.

 

So in this battle, two things have helped me along the way. And I don’t even pretend to have this all together, friends… but these two series of questions have helped me. Things to think about when the voices seem loud and are replaying on repeat as if someone is playing a really bad iTunes joke with a Vanilla Ice song in your head…

  1. Whose voice is playing in your ear? Do they deserve the kind of power you are allowing them? Do they have a full picture or perspective of this? Have you allowed them this right? Are they speaking truth? Is this someone I respect, that has shown great wisdom, in this area?

If the answer is NO to any of those questions, I tend to stick that voice in a box, listening and nodding as if I’m at a high school reunion and I just encountered that one person that I hoped against hope I would never encounter again, but striving to be a woman of grace, of peace, of kindness.

If the answer is YES-my ears perk and I allow myself to open up to what they have to say. Because too many voices can be chaotic and confusing and disheartening. And once you open yourself to the public, there are even more voices coming at you. So choose wisely, even when it comes to self-meaning friends and family.

  1. Sometimes the most powerful voice is my own. Is your own. So I have to ask myself if I’m speaking truth to myself. Or am I MSU-ing and playing the what-if game. Am I listening to the lies of self-doubt? Am I allowing myself to be my worst critic?

Again, it’s hard. I know. Because the voices that whisper and swirl around us often comingle with our own self-doubts like that roommate you just couldn’t seem to get away from in college, and it makes the truth even harder to discern and hear.

Write your truths down. Put them up where you can see them and read them on a regular basis. Not just in a notebook that you can close and only take out in your most desperate of times, but on your doorposts and walls…where you can’t ignore them. Where the truth, your truth, can encourage you, speak into you. Allow your voice to speak loud and clear so that when the other voices come upon you, and they will come upon you, you are clear on how to listen and who to listen to each time. Even when it comes to your own voice. Yes, take the criticism when it warrants. You don’t get better without it or if you ignore it. But choose wisely, dear friends, to the voices you listen to.

Choose wisely.

 

Staring up,

KP

Mama KP Mondays-When I Was Little…

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MamaKPMondays_edited-1Isn’t it amazing how much we believe in ourselves when we are young? I thought I could do and be anything. My parents, teachers, mentors, friends….they all poured and spoke that into me. I was blessed by having that belief stated over and over in my life. I could change the world! And I wanted to do just that in a myriad of ways… Let’s look at all the things I wanted to do with my life and be when I “grew up”…

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I’m sure some of you are laughing at this list… we can all step back and see that being in charge or in the spotlight (or both) was high on my list in some form or fashion…So yes, some things never change apparently.

Isn’t it amazing when you think back to when you were younger and the answers you gave when people asked you what you wanted to be when you grew up? I listen to my three boys answer this question all the time and am fascinated at how quickly things change each time I hear a different answer. Here are some of the answers I’ve heard come out of their mouths over the last 13 years of having children…

And the list could go on… It’s so much fun for me to hear them think and dream big about their futures. When you’re 8, chasing those dreams seems so easy, doesn’t it? What could possibly hold you back? You have the world at your fingertips, obviously.

Something happens, though, as we get older.

We start to let others who don’t deserve the right to speak into us do just that.

 

They tell us we have to “grow up and be responsible.” Or they say things like, “You’re a ________, why would you want to start over?” Or… “You want to go back to school? I’d never do that again.” Or… “Yeah, that’s really cool. We should all have a great hobby.”

We start to believe that because we’ve hit the age of 21, 30, 40, etc. that we have to actually grow up. And we do to some extent. I mean, those bills won’t pay for themselves. However, growing up doesn’t mean STOP DREAMING, and I think there are a lot of us out there who hear both as the same thing when we get to a certain age. And honestly, that’s just sad. Truly.

Because you are never past the point of dreaming.

Or of doing something about those dreams.

 

Did you hear that? I don’t mean hear it just with your eyes and ears. Did you hear it deep down in your heart and soul where your dreams (those ones you’ve pushed down and tried to ignore for the last 2, 7, 15, 30 years) are rattling around and whispering or screaming to get out? Do you have that catch of breath as you read this? You know the one…the one that makes you wonder, IS SHE TALKING TO ME?? And then break out in a bit of a sweat and look behind you to see if anyone is there? Yeah….that one.

And yes, I’m talking to you.

 

There are lots of reasons to push those dreams down. I get it. I’ve been there. Life has a way of just taking over. We become a certain age and we’re expected to know what in the world we are doing with our lives, where we’re headed, how we’re going to pay those pesky bills… So we come up with something. Some answer that pacifies every person who asks us. And sometimes those answers aren’t what we dreamed at all. Sometimes we turn to what’s there at the moment because we have to. And that’s okay. It’s totally okay to have seasons in your life where you have to get the job done. I’ve been there.

But when those dreams are still rattling around deep down in you…what do you do with that?

 

Dream Big

 

You let them fly.

You write them down.

You make a list.

You DREAM and keep on dreaming and continue to dream.

And then you take steps.

Action.

Because dreams deserve to become reality.

 

They were your dreams for a reason-planted inside of you. They need a little bit of life and hope breathed into them. Especially if you’ve been squashing them down and telling them, “For the love of all things mighty, be quiet.”

Except dreams are funny things, aren’t they? They have a hard time staying quiet. Your friends and family might not know they are there, but you do. You heard the rattle this morning when you were scrolling through some form of social media and reading how your “friend” was having an amazing day jetting off to who knows where. And you remembered how you wanted to be a flight attendant and travel the world, or be a writer and create worlds of your own…

You’re never too old to remember your dreams.

 

You’re never stuck in a place that you can’t get out of. There will ALWAYS be something or someone telling you that you can’t. Here’s what I say to that…

BULL.

 

You can do anything you want to do. Or anything you wanted to do.😉 You can pull those dreams out and dust them off or you can dream new dreams. I can attest that dreaming new dreams is the best. Notice that there is nothing on my list when I was little that says Publicist or Business Owner… Those dreams came later. I had to work to pay the bills doing something else to get there, but that’s the thing about dreams-they stay with you through it all.

So what are your dreams? What’s holding you back? If you’ve reached your dream, have you allowed yourself to dream new ones? Because that’s important too.

Until your dying breath, you get to dream. I’m so thankful for that. I don’t plan on being finished growing up until then…

Dream Big and Don’t Stop, Friends….

 

Staring Up,

KP

Mama KP Mondays-Welcome

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Hello! I know… It’s been awhile since I’ve been here. I’m going to be honest and tell you that life got in the way. Family, work, travel and moving…yes, moving! All of it has consumed my attention and writing (here and everywhere else) has taken a backseat to it. However, my skin is stretched tight and my heart is bursting with things to say. A creative girl can only hold her creativity back for so long or physically combust. Creating, whether it be through music or writing, is an important part of me. When I ignore it for too long, the beast that lurks under my skin tends to break out in several ways-moodiness, ugly heart, sleeplessness (notice it’s 1am here right now), easily annoyed, ALL OF IT. It all rears it’s ugly head and makes me a complete and utter joy to be around. Please tell me I am not alone in this??

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Last week, I was traveling for work in Hawaii. This trip was obviously a hard gig…😉 It was an amazing trip filled with bookish people, fantastic friends, and unrivaled beauty and experiences. I had some time while there (and on the 6 hour flights) to get still and listen to my heart. You know when you get quiet, you hear your heart’s words so much louder, right? Most of us probably don’t do it quite as often as we should. I know I don’t. What I realize when I do get to be still and revel in the quiet is that there are secret thoughts, wants, desires, words clawing to be heard and swirling throughout me. What I usually find is all of the parts that make up me-even those parts that I rarely let others see for a myriad of reasons.

One of the topics I pondered over and over last week was the topic of art becoming a business. Because this has always been a part of my life in some aspect or another, it’s a topic that I find fascinating. It’s also something that can be excruciating and thrilling simultaneously for the artist. I see it every day in my business life as I talk to authors. I lived it as a professional musician. Creating your artform can be filled with lonely moments, and then you throw it out into the public opening yourself up to criticism and praise, making yourself vulnerable to people you’ve never met and others you have. It can be exhilirating and scary as hell. I get it.

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In the midst of these quiet moments, an idea formed… I tease and call myself #MamaKP. Some of the authors I work with tease me back with that label. And I truly love it. One of my greatest joys is getting to walk through life with others and encourage and help. So why not tackle the ins and outs of life and art as business together? Couldn’t we do that and grow and flourish, dissect and purge, create and rejoice, and everything else together right here? I mean, I have this crazy blog that I do little with. I love to write. And I *think* I have thoughts on this topic that might be able to help others.

So, I’m biting the bullet and creating Mama KP Mondays. Honestly, I’m scared to death about this. Mostly because I’m disciplined in every aspect of my life except a few: sleeping, eating, exercising and blogging. Might as well start being real with you right now, huh? I had thoughts last week on this too but that’s for another day.

I hope you will join me as we dive in to this topic of business and art, chasing dreams and the ups and downs of it all together. I’m not going to lie-there will be some hard moments if we’re going to be honest and get down-and-dirty and real together. But if you know me at all, then you know that’s exactly how I like things. So jump in with me… We can do this together. Next week, we tackle our first topic…

Staring Up,

KP

Leap, Friend, Leap

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tumblr_mjt0yze5pY1s8r3zqo1_500What’s your “Leap”?

We all have one, I think. The one thing you wish-beyond-hope, don’t-have-the-words-to-truly-describe-it, it’s-burning-in-you-but-saying-it-out-loud-scares-the-crap-out-of-you that you want to take the leap and do. It’s in there. Even if you’ve long since buried it with all those grown-up LIFE things that tend to get in the way. I believe it’s still in there.

Maybe you pull it out of the rubble of other dreams lost and failures that were supposed to have been at times, dust it off and turn it over in your hands to play the what-might-have-been game before you shove it back under the pile.

Wouldn’t want anyone to know, right?

Or maybe your mountain is a pile of unexpected things that gathered and mounted up before you even knew what hit you-unexpected medical circumstances (and all things that can come with that), marriage, children, divorce, regular bills to pay, sports practices and games, the car pick-up line, making lunches, cleaning the house…you know, the day to day things that happen as you grow up because that’s life. But none of those things were there when you first had the dream. And now the dream feels a bit unattainable.

Or maybe there’s only one thing keeping you from being honest to your “Leap”.

Fear.

And that ugly bastard can have a ton of side effects to go with it, can’t it? The whispers in your ear that you aren’t good enough, have enough experience, have enough money, time, whatever…those whispers that no one else hears but you. They alone can be debilitating. Add into that your own excuses or procrastination (yep-I said it. PROCRASTINATION.). Add into that the audible whispers that you fear hearing, if you were to actually say your “Leap” out loud, from family and friends and that’s enough to shut you right on down for the next 10-20 years…

Until you feel that same stirring in your heart and soul again. And you yank it back out from all the piles that are still there and growing. And by this time you think, well, it’s too late. Dreams are for the young, right?

Wrong.

Dreams. Leaps. Those are for people with breath. Those are for the living. They are scary as all get out, make-your-heart-stop-because-OMG-I’m-really-trying-this bliss.

Those are for you.

So what are you doing right now? Are you a wisher? Or a Leaper?

Leap, friend, Leap.

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Not Everything Needs To Be Said

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changing_expectationsYou probably wouldn’t believe the things I see and hear on a regular basis. Well, you might think you can imagine, and after some of the things you see on social media as people let it all hang out there, you might get close on some things. But I promise you, there are some things that I’ve seen said and done to others that blow me away and might make your head spin. It takes a lot to surprise me these days, but it still happens every once in a while. I was thinking through all of this over the past week when a few things happened and I had to “deal” with them. I was pondering why people say and do the things they do. Yes, there is selfishness and being self-absorbed and greediness and just outright grossness, but as I looked at all of that, I kept coming back to two words.

ENTITLEMENT

and

EXPECTATIONS

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Yep, there’s a lot of these two things going around these days. But it’s not really a new thing. It always feels like a new thing when it’s happening to you, doesn’t it? But people have been selfish, greedy, self-absorbed, and gross for as long as time. Entitlement and Wonky Expectations seem to be here to stay. We see it in literature, history and artwork. And yes, we see it today. I think the difference is that we can see it very upclose and personal thanks to the wonder of social media. Oh that crazy social media… It’s a catch-22, isn’t it? We love to love it and we love to hate it-usually at the exact same time. Because here’s how it can look:

Facebook Post: I’m so excited! I just got Netflix! {Sharing the excitement with the world…look at my wow…type of post}

Comment 1: Yay! I’m so excited for you! {Oh…there’s that person who loves you and is always happy for you no matter what}

Comment 2: You have got to watch The Vampire Diaries, girl! Once you go Damon… {There’s the ever helpful friend who always knows what’s up.}

Comment 3: You JUST got Netflix?? Where have you been living-the Dark Ages? {Oh. Yeah. There’s the one who likes to fart on people’s wows}

Comment 4: Oh ugh…I hate Netflix. Hulu is so much better. Or Amazon Prime. Did you do any research on this first? Were you just too lazy to find out which was best? Jeez! {And there’s the one who thinks they are anonymous and unaccountable for what they say since they aren’t saying it to your face}

I think you get the picture, yes? We’ve all seen it happen-some of us more than others. It’s annoying as hell to be honest. And we could discuss that for hours and hours, but I think I’ll save the social media etiquette post for another day. Or you can just read all of the other 800 trillion that have already been written on the topic. If you haven’t read at least one on the topic, you probably should. But, today, I think we’ll discuss Entitlement, yes? Yes. We’ll do Expectations another day.

First, though, I want to be very clear that I believe there are exceptions to every rule. None of what is said here is geared towards reviewers or bloggers or authors or WHOEVER who act professional or are doing the right thing. And giving an opinion doesn’t mean you are acting entitled. I’m speaking to the EXTREME here in this post. Because there are extremes out there. I see it on a regular basis.

The definition of Entitlement is this:

en·ti·tle·ment
inˈtīdlmənt,enˈtīdlmənt/
noun
1. the fact of having a right to something.
2. the amount to which a person has a right.
3. the belief that one is inherently deserving of privileges or special treatment.

Usually, when we see entitlement happening, someone is making demands on something in which they don’t have ownership.

In the area of the literary community, we see this sometimes when readers tell an author they should price a book at a certain amount, or they should only write a book about THIS character, or they email an author and tell them that they wrote the book incorrectly and if they had just done THIS in chapter 15 and THIS in chapter 18 and THIS for the ending, it would have been perfect so too bad… Or-did you know that if you just stayed up longer, you could get in an extra 500 words a day and be finished with the book I want 15 days earlier and then I would be happy? You don’t need sleep do you? Hire an editor-you’ll be fine. We see it in authors who hire a cover model, or cover artist, or editor, or formatter or whatever and then “lay claim” to that person as if they belong to them. Things like, Well, I hired _____ to be on my cover first and then they went and did another cover and another cover. Can you believe that cover model did that to me?

Wait. What?? You don’t think that happens? Of course it does. Here’s the thing, though. It’s truly a beautiful thing actually.

We. Don’t. Own. People.

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Can we all get an AMEN to that fact?? Isn’t it a great thing that you are free to do as you please and say what you want and go where you want and buy what you want and think what you want? No, really. This is a beautiful thing. And if that were taken away from you, you’d be pissed. And guess what? Just because you spent $2.99 on an eBook? You don’t get to tell someone how to write their book or how to price their book or what their next book that they write should be. You don’t have ownership in those things. You have ownership in the one thing that you spent $2.99 on-the book you bought. But that’s not ownership to tell someone how they should have changed it. (AND PLEASE HEAR ME-I’m not talking about giving reviews. Everyone knows I love reviews and the people who give them. I’m speaking to an extreme past giving a review and an opinion. I’m speaking to the person who leaves a review saying the author is a complete ____ and imbecile and why didn’t someone tell them they should never, ever, ever, for-the-love-of-all-things-holy write. Yep. I’m speaking to those people.) It’s ownership to read and reread that book. That ONE book. You have ownership of your money and the things or services you have bought. And just because you spent money to pay a cover model, you don’t get to be mad that they then went and did exactly what they do for a living and *gasp* modeled. Of course, these are just a couple of examples of things we see. A smidge. And, again, there are exceptions to things-and contracts that can be written up if you want some exclusivity, etc. I’m not discussing when there is a contract in place or when an author is clearly ripping off another author. I’m talking about when the “I’m just mad!” moment happens and you react and say whatever is on your mind because “I’m just mad!” and you don’t really care who knows it in that moment.

And just by saying all of that out loud, we are able to see that all of us have our moments, right? None of us are immune to the grabby-hands, I-lost-my-ever-freaking-mind behavior that sometimes spews out of us. Because hey… we all have our time to shine-even in the not so shiny ways. Unfortunately. Which hopefully, makes us want to work harder to not act like crazy people. Because guess what? You don’t have ownership of some things no matter how badly you wish you did.

Okay, let’s put this in another world besides the book community, shall we? You go to the dentist and have a cavity and they have to do the whole filling, etc. thing. (You should know that I hate dentists and anything to do with them. And teeth. And dentists. Blurg.) After insurance, you have to pay your deductible of $85. (I also hate doing math so don’t judge the numbers, people.) Last time you had a filling, it was only $84 out of your pocket. IT WENT UP A DOLLAR! And then, you decide that you could have done that filling yourself so much better. If that dentist had just decided to put the filling paste in and then drilled the hole. Yeesh! Don’t they know anything?? So you write them an email, after you rant about it on Facebook of course, and tell them exactly how they should have filled that cavity. Years of school and degrees be damned. Experience be damned. You know best and you paid $85 for that dentist! They won’t listen to you and do it your way. I guess we should tell them how stupid and ridiculous and ignorant they are…How greedy they are for the price to be raised a dollar. How lazy they are because they had a receptionist and a dental hygenist and an insurance administrator. Seriously, can you believe they can’t do everything on their own? You would do it so much better. And if they aren’t going to do it your way, then you’ll go to someone else. Maybe the next person will do it your way. As soon as you realize they aren’t doing it right and you tell them about it.

Oh….you didn’t pay for that dentist. You paid for that work BY that dentist. And you would never expect a dentist to run an entire practice on their own without a staff. You’d have to wait forever until your next appointment. That would suck… Almost as much as going to a dentist does.

Huh. I’m pretty sure you get the picture… We all have wants and desires. We all have opinions. We all have our areas of expertise. We all have something to offer. I firmly believe this. But we also all have those moments when, honestly, silence is golden. Biting your tongue is hard but sometimes it should be done. And we don’t have ownership in something just because we see it happening or hear about it happening or paid a bit of money for something that kind of looks like it might have something to do with said thing. Life is hard, y’all. It’s beautiful and painful and both usually go hand-in-hand. We don’t have to insert ourselves into every little thing, especially into areas we haven’t been invited into. And knowing someone, or paying for something, isn’t an automatic invitation to all the things.

You don’t like how an author writes their books? Don’t buy their work again. You don’t like how a model went and landed another job and took it but it wasn’t for you? Don’t use them again. But don’t get on social media and rant. Don’t private message another author and say, “Did you know that model was on my covers first?” Don’t email or message an author and tell them they are lazy or a complete idiot for not doing _____ or for killing off your favorite character or for…all the things I’ve seen authors get told. Don’t message someone and say, “That witch used red on their cover and I have red on my cover. They copied me!” 

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Not everything needs words to go along with it. Sometimes all you need to do is act-by not purchasing or hiring or whatever. Not everything demands an explanation publicly-even if we do all pretty much want and like to be heard. And we do all want that I think. To be heard? But sometimes-thinking before we speak and then not speaking is best. For everybody. Them…You…Me… Because we are all still human. We all still have feelings, and sometimes our skin is not as thick as others think it should be. But also, sometimes we need grace to permeate what we do and how we do it too. And sometimes the most grace-filled thing is to say and do nothing at all. Because, again, there is always beauty and pain mixed together. And we can make a choice moment by moment on which one we are going to be a part of. It’s hard, y’all.

And just because I’m currently obsessed with The Vampire Diaries (and currently Team Stefan), I’ll end with this.😉

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It’s been…

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23332dcfa917e316d0326e6fdf7d8406…Almost a year since the last time I posted anything in here. There’s a reason for that, of course. I’m working my arse off. It leaves little time for my own creativity to move with my own words. And you would think that would devastate me. For most people, it would devastate them I think. But it doesn’t me. Not really. Some days are harder than others because I want to sit down with my poetry book, or my pictures books, or my “big girl” books and put all the words down, but I can’t. Time does not allow for it on a daily basis.

You want the truth? I’m okay with it. Truly.

I see the pitying looks that some of my creative compadres give me. Like they can’t imagine not getting to write, or paint, or play music and so they feel sorry for me. But this last year has been very eye-opening for me. I’ve realized something about me and my creative process, my purpose. I’m meant to create-yes. That has not changed, and it will not change. But what I create WITH looks different for me than what it looks like for others. And that is OK. I’ve never been the one to do anything the way people expect.

I get the blessing of working with others and their words and their creations on a daily basis, and my heart is full because of it. There are some days that I am overflowing with that blessing. I become overwhelmed with the goodness of getting to create and pour into others and their dreams. And then there are days that I get to sit in quiet and create with my own imagination, words, thoughts…whether it be at the computer, or at the piano, or with pictures and paint. You know what I’ve learned? All of it is good.

For me, any type of creating is good for my soul. Whether it be for others, or for my own sake, the act of creating is what matters for me. So when people give me that shifty-eyed, sad look, when they say “You should find time for the things that matter to you”, I have realized they don’t get it. And they probably won’t. Because my entire job, my livelihood, is doing things that matter to me. It’s all creating. And I’m good with that. I’m a storyteller no matter what. I’ve said it often-You cannot separate it where I am concerned.

I was asked today to ponder the question, “When you create, how do you want to feel?” And the only answer I keep coming back to is satisfied, full, complete. Once I realized that was my answer, I realized all of the above. I walk away most days feeling that way whether I’m “working” or “playing”. And that is the reality of getting to do your dreams for your job I think. Seriously-I’m blessed. 

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Well, crap

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Well, crap.

Yes, those were the two words that I thought when I saw the next assignment. The only two words I could come up with honestly when I read the next thing Elora wanted me to consider and write about in my Story 101 class. And all day long, I have been pondering the topic. Do you know what the result has been?

The same two words…Well, crap.

What does she want to know? What is it I’m reaching toward. This should be easy for me. I mean, I do a trillion things (not really) so I should have a trillion answers (ummmm…no) for that question, right? My issue is that I have compartmentalized my life quite a bit. I have a different answer for each “department” of my life.

But as I pondered today and thought about this topic, I realized that, ultimately, it all comes down to one thing. I’m reaching toward affecting people in a positive manner. That’s it.

I want people to read my stuff and be changed. I want authors to work with InkSlinger and be changed. I want my friendships to be deep and full, and I want those involved, including myself, to be changed. For the better of course.

It is one of my greatest joys to see others coming into their own, living their dreams, seeing their destinies come to fruition. To see them come to the realization that they are made for SO MUCH MORE. Because you are, you know. You are made for more than just wishing for the next thing.

And while I’ve known these are things that mean a ton to me. Things that I hold dear daily in conversations and interactions. I’ve never thought about it in regards to my own storytelling. But I guess it makes sense. Some of my favorite books are those that have a really phenomenal story arc of redemption, healing, rising above things the characters may not have had control over… I guess it makes sense that I would want this in my own stories as well, right?

So, I could be very literal in this answer and give you a list of things for each department of my life. However, I’m not going to do that. I’m going to leave you with the above and the fact that I still don’t have a concrete answer to the question asked of me. I’m sure you could see that just by the rambling mess this post is.

What does it come down to?

I don’t know yet.

So there you have it. That’s it. I still read the question and think two words.

Well, crap.

My Voice

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Well, of course, I’m back.🙂 Elora has given me, and the rest of the class, another set of questions to tackle and think about for my Story 101 class. And what happens? I’m conflicted. Here’s the gist of what she’s asked me to think about:

What are the things you could talk about constantly? The things that excite you and make you want to tell everyone and everything about all the time. The things that make your heart pound and your blood rush through you in a way that you think there is nothing like it, no way, no how, this is the best thing ever since sliced bread?

Yeah…that’s what she wants us to talk about. And I’m conflicted.

Because we all know one of my answers is going to be books and authors. There’s no way around it. One of the biggest joys in my life is getting to shout from the rooftops about authors and their dreams coming to life between the pages. It does give me a rush. It does make my heart sing. Loudly. And it does make me exhausted in a way that is the perfect type of exhaustion-the going to bed with a smile on my face and passing out form of exhaustion.

But, I also know this is not really what she is talking about. That is my easy answer. The one you could have all guessed and written down for me, right? And it can’t be all there is that makes my heart sing loudly-where you could hear it without me saying a single word. Maybe even in a very crowded and loud room. And it’s not.

So what are the things I want to say loudly with my own voice? I want to speak healing and freedom into others. I want to see the yokes of pain and hurt and heartache break off of people on a daily basis and learn that they can move forward and see wholeness and joy and beauty again, if even for the very first time. Why? Because I know what it is to hurt. I know what it is to feel as if there is no going forward. That you are stuck in the past, either by choices you have made or choices that have been made for you, or both. I know that spot. The sitting in the sticky, ugly muck of life and thinking you have no hope or future. Even thinking that you may not deserve one.

So, what do I want people to hear the loudest when I speak? To not believe the lies that are whispered, or spoken, or shouted in our ears. Especially as we work to heal and move past and forward. And there will be lies told to us. Sometimes they’ll come from people in our lives, even well-meaning people. Sometimes they’ll be lies we tell ourselves. No matter what, they are just that: Lies.

I want people to hear truth ringing loud when they hear me speak, when they read or hear my stories. I want them to see that moving forward doesn’t mean you go from being hit backwards into a wall straight into running to the Gloryland. Sometimes, it means you have to move into a sitting position and then crawl, and then tentatively shuffle, and then walk, and then run, leap and bound. And I know when you are sitting in the muck and the desolate space, that all of it seems impossible. It seems like there is absolutely no way you can even pick your face up out of the grossness and push yourself up with your arms and hold yourself upright. I know that place. I know it better than I can even explain fully.

So how do you do it? 

Not alone. 

And so I want people to hear me screaming, YOU CAN DO IT! I want them to see and hear me and know that I am working to help hold their arms and give them strength in the midst of it all. Whether that be through simple encouragement, a kick in the rear, prayer, or through the words of my stories.

I want my voice to be used for healing. I want my stories to cry of hope and healing but to be truthful to the pain and suffering that often happens on our way to those places. Because life is not all sunshine and roses. We often act like it is because…who would really want to know that my heart is breaking into tiny, minute pieces and I don’t know how I’m going to take a deep breath, or any breath at all? We tell ourselves no one wants to hear or know that so we stay in the dark. But the transition from that place to the one of light and beauty and joy is the story I want to tell. It’s the story I crave to tell. I love the ugly beginning and the beautiful end, of course. I need that in my stories as well. The arc.🙂

But the part that makes my blood boil and my heart sing is the middle part, the messy part, the in between stages where we learn to walk, run and fly again. I want my voice to be one that screams of possibilities and dreams-even ones that feel too big.

Because I believe there’s no such thing.