I have been living with my fiance for a week now, and let me tell you that I desperately miss my little kitty, and wish I could take her with me. I’ve been visiting her of course, but I miss having her next to me when I’m just hanging out at home. In fact, when I have a day off and my fiance has to work, I feel lonely in the apartment. I’m not used to that. I either have my mom and cat around, or if my mom isn’t around, at least my cat is. The weight of this loneliness was kind of shocking. I didn’t expect to feel as lonely as I did. And moving in with my fiance was kind of sudden as well. I never gave myself time to mentally prepare for not having my kitty around.

But it’s never all bad.

tsaiThis past week I FINALLY submitted The Stars Are Infinite to my publisher, Gnome on Pig Productions. It’s looking to be a November release, which is absolutely fine with me. This gives When Stars Die a chance to go free probably a month or two before the book’s release, while also giving books 1 and 2 some much-needed traction before TSAI’s release. I also remember when GoPP started out with a handful of authors, even just last year, and now they’re building up quite the list of authors.  So I’m looking forward to the future of this little press.

I also copy edited The Glorious In-Between and sent that off to a writer buddy of mine. I plan to query that one to agents.

In other news, I got a shock to the system when a trainer where I work outright told me I have horrible form and seem to have an erratic workout structure. Now I’m not immune to criticism. I’m also aware that I’m not always going to have perfect form 100% of the time. In fact, I’ll be the first to admit that my form was probably slipping because I was beginning to lift heavy just to lift heavy–but I’ve scaled down on that and am putting a keen concentration on good form.

It was just shocking to me because the criticism came out of nowhere, and of course no solutions were offered. I was left to find my own solutions–researching basic squat, bench press, and deadlift form again. It also shook my confidence as a trainer, making me second-guess myself, making me question my own competence. The day I was told that, I suddenly felt incredibly insecure about just being in the gym. I had a planned workout for that day, but I just couldn’t do it. What if I was being watched, my form picked apart, every flaw magnified and being used against me to tarnish my reputation as a budding trainer? When my fiance came for me to train, I wasn’t as enthusiastic and was incredibly insecure about whether or not people were watching me train him.

Being in the throes of insecurity is no fun, particularly when you feel you have no direction to go in so that you can feel secure again. I had to find my own direction. I had to reconsider my form with every exercise that I did, bump down the weight on some exercises, and simply practice, practice, practice–with weights, without weights. In order to feel better about training my fiance, I had to do further research into his swayback issue and put that issue back at the forefront of his programming. Last, I had to consider all the times when I saw less-than-perfect form with the clients of some of the trainers.

I remember one gym member, who was a former trainer, told me that he was in disbelief about how poorly some of the trainers trained their clients–giving them exercises they weren’t ready for, not correcting poor form, and not always watching them. This isn’t to say that I agreed 100% with this member’s assessment. This is simply to say that someone will always have something to criticize. Nothing is ever perfect.

And then I had to think back on something the trainer who criticized me told me in the past, making me realize that he doesn’t exactly stay within his scope of practice as a trainer; thus, if I’m going to consider anyone’s criticism, I’m going to consider the criticism of trainers who take their scope of practice seriously. Those are the kinds of responsible trainers that I should be looking up to. Having a certification or even a degree doesn’t automatically make you someone worthy of being listened to.

Again, I did consider his criticism, thought of why he felt that way, and did my best to correct possible sloppy form. Yet, it’s criticism I can’t take personally in the long run. All I can do is believe in the mantra that slow and steady wins the race. All I can do is be cognizant of my form during my workouts and be observant of others’ form during their workouts when I’m out on the floor interacting with other members.

Insecurities suck, though. They have the power to either give you the kick that you need, or the power to suck the life out of you as you begin to wonder why you’re doing what you’re doing. They freeze you in place, make you less enthusiastic about work, and make you wonder if you’re truly  meant for the career that you’re in. At the end of the day, the only person who can make you insecure is yourself. So you have to take the time to figure out why you feel so insecure, and then do something about it!



The Madness of Writerly Insecurities

The Madness of Writerly Insecurities

Despair. Pure despair.

As writers we’ve all got our insecurities. I have mine. My insecurities revolve around my ability to be able to craft a story that doesn’t need to be sliced to ribbons. The writing itself I’m confident in, but I know when Georgia McBride sliced the sequel to When Stars Die, my confidence was shaken–but it was shaken only slightly because when I re-did the first chapter, I had nailed it the first time.

But still…I have insecurities about my story. Are my characters developed enough? Do I have plot holes? If I have plot holes, can I easily fix them with just a few tweaks here and there? Is my plot on track? Those are my general insecurities, and they’ll probably always be insecurities of mine.

However, they’re not so bad they keep me from writing. If anything, my insecurities fuel my desire to get better as a writer and a self-editor. I have enough confidence in myself as a writer though. I know my ideas are invaluable, that someone will love them, that someone will want to give them a chance. This confidence has come from years of writing experience. But I know there are writers whose insecurities run so deep they’re nailed to the floor and just can’t bring themselves to write. They lack confidence in themselves and their stories.

In order to fix insecurities about your writing, you need to search deeper to why you have those insecurities in the first place. Do you fear rejection or failure? Are you afraid of getting hurt? Of hard work?

This post is not coddling, by any means. Rejection is something you’re going to have to get over. It will happen, it will sting, but you need to realize there is an entire world out there devoted to publishing, so many options, and move on to another one. Or you need to learn to accept criticism that your instinct tells you will make your story better.

Look, I’m a sensitive person, but my sensitivity does not affect my ability to take criticism. I love it, but I’m also a perfectionist. Critique is not meant to hurt you or your story. Critique is meant to help you, and nine times out of ten, the person critting you wants you to develop as a writer. So keep that in mind.

There is also no such thing as failure in writing. Writing a novel that ultimately has no potential is not going to hurt you. You’re only going to learn from it and grow because you’re going to begin to develop an understanding of why it has no potential in the first place. Repeat after me: There. Is. No. Failure. Failure only exists because you say it exists, so take that out of your mind right now.

Writing isn’t just about publishing either. It’s about growing and developing as a human being and learning amazing things about you and your world around you. It’s hard work, it’s tough, but our ability to be able to fashion things from our minds is a beautiful gift, and once you’ve been bit by the writing bug, you should never take for granted what can come from that mind–even if it’s overdone, or seems stupid, or undeveloped. You can only learn and grow. Learn and grow.