Welcome to Hump-Day Help


Hump-Day Help…

(Where this little red-headed girl will attempt to help you get over the humps/obstacles of writing, both internal and external, every other Wednesday)

Holy crap, it’s bloody 2016 and it’s started out fast and furious…for example, today I dumped all 10oz. of fresh HOT tea straight from the Keurig, to a mug, and then into my lap here at the office. Onto my new pants. After having a cruddy day yesterday and hoping today would be better.

Yeah…it’s THAT kinda year so far…but it can only go up from here so…ONWARD my writers, onward…to your Wednesday post from yours truly…

Now, you’ve probably noticed that the rest of the gang here at Magical Words are finding themes this year for the day they write, so I thought I’d do the same…I love a good bandwagon! 🙂 The question this created was, what should my day be called? Hmmm…

So I looked at my posts and I’ve noticed that I tend to yap about things that assist with troubles in writing. AKA the humps (or hills or mountains) you run into as you travel on this journey. Be it a convention, a book cover, or what is going on in your head…I like sharing how I attack (and hopefully overcome) those things that are not the technical aspects of the art. For I’m not an editor or a grammar queen (which is quite evident, sadly) or even the best writer who has a book deal with a top publisher and 100 Million copies sold of my books here to impart my wisdom. However, I like to think I help with those hiccups (or humps, I’m this case), that can trip you up by sharing what effects me and others I know, be they real tangible items or issues that live inside your head. So I plan to continue to do so, because, frankly, that’s who I am. I’m a certified drama teacher…my super power? Dealing with drama in all forms. And I do mean all forms!

So hence the title of your Wednesday posts from me.

What is today’s hump? Well, it’s a new year, so I’m going to start off with a bang because as we say in the theatre world, “Go big or go home.”

I’m going to talk about something gross.

He’s slimy, evil, vindictive, green, a HUGE hindrance to your writing, and…

His (or her, if you prefer) name is JEALOUSY and John Hartness talked briefly about this in 2013 (there will be a link at the bottom of this post) but it’s 2016 and you may not have seen that.

First of all, let’s be frank here, we ALL experience jealousy in our lives, and especially in this field we love called writing. In fact, I’ve noticed it’s a heavier feeling and more prominent in writers than in actors (this is likely b/c actors can blame more than just them. There’s the director, the casting director, the other actors cast, how they look, etc.). This affliction affects all writers…it doesn’t care if the writer is on the NYT bestseller list or just starting out. That green goo is not choosy and it can slap you in the face (or maybe think attach, like in the Alien movies) out of the blue! If you accept it as a host and don’t peel it off (and run), it’ll live in you; wrap around your heart and brain like a cancerous tumor, squeezing the life and creativity out of you.

Don’t believe me? Think about all that great, uninhibited, honest, and truly-you writing that flows when you want to be someone else………yeah, that’s sarcasm, cause there is none to think about.

Do you know what makes your writing so great? You…who you are, what you’re passionate about, your life experience, your free-flowing imagination, and your love for the art of storytelling.

Notice that nowhere in that list did I say that what makes you great is someone else, or hating yourself, or anger. Sure, writing on a broken heart is a powerful thing, I wrote my first book (by hand, in 12th grade, and no, it’s not published…thank God) to escape my sadness of a break-up. I needed a different world to hang out in (like many teens). But sadness is not hate, and jealousy is. It is self-hate where you berate yourself for not being where someone else is, for not selling like they do, for not being published like them, and so on.

It’s not a healthy place to create from. In fact, I’d wager a guess that those who are eaten up with jealousy are not as productive as they once were. They have placed this pressure to be someone else on themselves heavily, and here’s the rub all have to remember: YOU CAN NEVER BE SOMEONE OTHER THAN YOU. And no, don’t give me the, “Yes I can, I can be who I want in my story or in one I read”. THAT, my lovelies, is a given. Shoot, it’s why we read! To escape and go on an adventure that makes are heart sing. But I’m talking outside of the pages, where you are you and if you can’t love you, neither can your readers…or an agent/publisher/editor…if you want to go down that road.

Yes, I hear your argument now…”Great skill is also required, not just all the things you’ve mentioned.” Tis true, but remember, I’m not your MW writer on how to be skilled at the art. I leave that to Faith, John, David, Misty, Emily, and Melissa (to name a few writers/editors I look up to). Me? I ask, and your writing career asks, no…NEEDS is a better word, your writing career needs you to let go of your jealousy/hate.

And here’s the real kicker. You may have transformed that hate…now you despise yourself, or worse yet,  you’ve transferred that feeling onto someone else who has actually done nothing to deserve it. They are going further than you, they put more work out than you, they are getting into conventions you don’t, they they they…STOP!!!! “They” are not you or your crutch.

Wait, what? Crutch? Oh yes! You see, as a species, we like to toss our insecurities and self-hate created by that little green monster and throw it on someone else…often called “The Blame Game.” When that happens, you are no longer what is in your way, THEY are. You see yourself as the most amazing wordsmith and think the world of yourself and your work…its “them” and people like “them” that are in your way (or the “reason” you can’t move forward). That makes them your crutch, holding you up, making you think you have no jealousy issues or self-hate. But you do, you’re not dealing with it, and you know what, it could blow up in your face and hurt your writing and possibly a relationship (if the person you have transferred your hate to is someone you actually know) or your ability to learn/grow as a writer.

Now you are now asking, “How do I combat this infestation of creativity-sucking of ick? How do I stop being jealous? I want this so badly and I’m working so hard!”

First of all, breathe in deeply and breath out slowly.

Secondly, accept the idea that it will never fully leave. You are human after all, with wants/desires, weaknesses and strengths…a light side and a dark. You just need to choose a side to focus on. That is the key. When you feel that green glob of goo sprout horns and then hear it talk to you. Tell it to shut up and focus on what you HAVE done and realize that there are SO many people in the world that look to what you do and are jealous. It’s a vicious cycle, folks.

Wolf you FeedThird and most importantly, don’t put yourself in a position to dwell on it. If you see a post by a friend or writer on Facebook (as an example) and they are excited to tell the world that they _________________ and it makes you jealous and feel like you are lacking, don’t read the whole post, scroll onward. Don’t read it over and over and fester it out. That’s the worst thing you can do…yet, I know of folks who have done this, and I’m going to tell you what I told them.

Let it go (no, don’t sing the song, dear God, do not sing the song) and focus on something else. Once you have that weight off your chest go back and be happy for them. Repost their joy. Why? Because they’re very likely going to be over the moon for you when it’s your turn…and it will be your turn eventually. But not if you get bogged down in self-hate. Nothing beautifully creative comes from that side…and you want to be beautifully creative and inspiring with your storytelling.

Lastly, if you know the person you’re jealous of, maybe go talk to them. They obviously are doing something that is helping them get where you want to be. Heck, tell them how you want to be where they are and learn from them! These are not people to alienate, but to embrace. However, you can’t truly embrace who you hate, be it them or yourself, so step off the green bus, it’s driven by a crazy old lady who can’t see the road. Have you seen the movie, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off? THAT lady…yeah, she drives that bus…GET OFF THE BUS and go for a walk.

That’s it for me this time around…until next time, write hard, bathe in imagination, and if you step onto the Green Bus for a block…get off again, don’t stay on there…that old lady is gonna kill you.

Tamsin 🙂



3 comments to Welcome to Hump-Day Help

  • Great theme for Wednesday, Tamsin!

    Jealousy. I still clearly remember my first professional case of it. Grade 5. We got to write short stories for one class assignment or another. Sylvia wrote a 40-page double-spaced Sonic the Hedgehog fanfic, and everyone exclaimed over it. I was so jealous. I think at the time I just really wanted people to notice me, which they didn’t much back then. Really, I wonder if that’s one of the reasons professional jealousy happens for adults, too.

    She’s off making horror movies with her sister these days. Amazingly, more than two decades later, we’ve stayed in touch, even though it’s mostly just on FB and Twitter. And I’m so happy for them both. They’re an inspiration, and their success is something to aspire to. 🙂

  • Yes. This. It is so easy to blame *someone else* when it’s the market or the timing or *anything* else. It’s so easy to get depressed and hate yourself. But blaming yourself or someone else is useless. BTDT.

  • Laura – Fun Fact: The voice of Sonic the Hedgehog for a long period of time was a man by the name of Jason Griffith. You can find him on the back of my newest book, modeling for Lucifer. I’ve known Jason for most of my years here in NYC as he is good friends with a man I directed/choreographed two cabaret shows for. LOL!

    Faith – Like jealousy for anything, it will eat the person alive from the inside out and nothing good/creative can come from that place. I find I get jealous of John Hartness from time to time. He’s pushing out work as fast as I wish I could…and he’s making a living at writing, or close thereof, and I’m still working at a hospital and only putting out a book a year (and some short stories). But I have to remember that A) John got in the game much sooner than I did. B) He’s not one to be jealous of, but to emulate. C) I live somewhere completely different and have different bills and costs of living and health issues and and and…why? Cause I’m not John! LOL! And that’s okay ’cause I’m SO proud of his work and think he’s mad-ass talented. To be honest, it was his guidance that even brought me to where I am now because instead of being jealous, I said, “If you want to be where he is, learn from the man!” That’s how I ended up with redoing the Living Dead Girl book, turning it into the Windfire Series with a new editor, and going to conventions like Con Carolinas….and the rest is history. 🙂 So I owe John a lot and I probably don’t tell him often enough how important he’s been to my writing career…no matter if it’s not as bountiful yet as it will be someday.

    Love you, John!!!