This Writer's Life · Up Close & Personal · Writing

The Fear of Failure.

Before I begin with this post, I’d like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a Happy New Year. Here’s hoping it will turn out to be a happy, healthy and prosperous one for all of us!

Recently I read a blog post by Kristen Lamb on the 5 Areas We Need Permission for Success. One of those was to allow ourselves the permission to fail. This is a big one as I believe that for me at least, this one area works like a domino affect as it creates all the others that she mentions.

Being the youngest of three daughters, I was labelled ‘different’ from an early age. I was imaginative, observant and a bit of a loner. The quiet one, or ‘shy’ as some would call it. My mother would call me ‘different’ as if it was a bad thing (yeah, still does). It’s as if there is something wrong with me. I always had the feeling that I didn’t quite fit in because I’d be compared to my sisters. When I started high school, teachers also started comparing me to my elder sisters, but it didn’t last long; I was ‘different’. There was always a level of high expectation. If I didn’t meet them, I was a ‘failure’, causing low self-esteem. I was afraid to try new things.

This fear of failure has resulted in being a perfectionist. I grew up with the belief that everything had to be perfect the first time around. It has become ingrained. During my University studies I would stall at starting any assignments which were all essays. The thought of writing something made me anxious, but I had a deadline to meet and once I began writing, I was fine. It’s the same these days when it comes to writing, only I don’t have any deadlines. Right now, I’m doing this for me. Perfectionism is the worst form of procrastination there is as I use different things to distract me; go on social media, play on the ipad, listen to podcasts, watch Netflix (yeah, I think you get the picture). I fail to try because I don’t want to fail.

The thing is though failure can be good for us. We learn what our strengths and weaknesses are. We learn through our mistakes and in order to make ourselves better, we work on them. We put in the hard yards until we are satisfied with the results. There can be times when mistakes can even take us down paths we never would have tried otherwise. Without making the effort to try, we’ll never know what we are capable of. We may live the rest of our lives with regrets.

I believe that I will be taking the path to self-publishing. That now is my biggest challenge. In all honesty just the very thought of it frightens the living daylights out of me. It is revealing myself to the world, revealing what has been private for so many years. Just writing this post is a frightening prospect, but this is why blogging has been such an enormous help. If I fail, then at least I know I’ve tried. And that’s all anyone can really ask for.

Are you afraid of failure? Has the thought of failure made you a perfectionist? Do you plan to step out of your comfort zone and do something different in 2018?

Side Note: Just a reminder that in 2018, I’ll be spending less time on social media and more time writing. I will continue to blog, although there may be times when my posts may become somewhat erratic, but it’s all in a good cause, so stick with me (pretty please). 😉

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This Writer's Life · Writing

Making Plans for the New Year.

It’s difficult to believe that it’s that time of year again. Christmas is almost upon us; it happened so fast in fact, that this year I was caught completely unaware. It was a good thing then that I had already begun to make plans as far as writing is concerned.

Looking back over 2017, this has been quite a personal journey for me. I have high hopes for 2018 and whether I accomplish all that I intend to remains to be seen, however, I have come to believe that small progress is still progress.

I seem to have become a slave to social media and the internet. I tend to spend a lot of time, if not on it, then thinking about it. Listening to all the advice of ‘experts’ telling us what we need to do makes one want to tear one’s hair out. My husband tells me to take these people’s advice with a grain of salt. Just go with your gut and do what works for you. I have seen other people lately take a back seat to social media and prioritise their writing, their families and their health. This will also be my plan for the coming year. I will continue to blog and be involved in other social media, but not quite so much.

Let me take this opportunity to wish you all a Happy Christmas and enjoy your holidays. Thank you so much for reading and being a part of the blogging community. You guys make this all worthwhile!

I look forward to seeing you all again in the New Year. Let’s make it a good one! 🙂

What are your plans for 2018? Do you hope to have more time to write? Will you also be spending less time on the internet in the new year?

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Back to the 80s

Back to the 80s: Z is for ZZ Top.

Here we are folks, we have finally made it to the end of my Back to the 80s Challenge (bring out the bubbly, it is almost Christmas after all)! Honestly, there have been some occasions when I didn’t think I would actually reach this point and felt like throwing it in a few times, but when I start something I like to see it finished.

This was the first time I set myself a blog challenge and I don’t think I’ll be in a hurry to do another, but never say never I guess. Anyway, thanks for sticking with me; it certainly has been testing my memory and has been a great help in researching the pop culture of the time for some of my stories.

Formed in 1969, ZZ Top had released three albums by 1973 and performed sold out concerts in the U.S. They released three more albums in the 1970s and had their first European tour in 1980. In 1983, they released the album Eliminator, which was highly successful and sold more than ten million copies. It included such hits as ‘Legs’, ‘Gimme All Your Lovin” and ‘Sharp Dressed Man’. The videos for some of these songs helped the band win their first MTV Video Music Awards. Released in 1985, their next album Afterburner became the band’s highest charting album and many of its singles became Top 40 hits.

The band went on to release six more albums, and in 2004 were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. They continue to perform to this day. Their trade mark beards and fluffy guitars make them one of the more memorable bands of the 1980s.

If you’re a blogger, have you ever set yourself a challenge? What other bands of the 1980s that begin with the letter Z can you think of?

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Back to the 80s

Back to the 80s: Y is for Yazoo.

Another week in and as we’re nearing the end of another year, so too are we nearing the end of my Back to the 80s Challenge. This week, we’re looking at the letter Y and I’ll be focusing on a synthpop duo.

Formed in England in 1981, Yazoo consisted of Alison Moyet on vocals and Vince Clarke on keyboards. Alison placed an ad in the hope of forming a band and it was answered by Vince Clarke, once a member of Depeche Mode.

The song ‘Only You’ was released in 1982 and reached No.2 in the U.K singles charts. The song ‘Don’t Go’ was released the same year and reached No.3. Their first album, Upstairs at Eric’s was also released in 1982 and reached No.2 in the U.K album charts. Yazoo became known in the United States as Yaz and their song ‘Situation’ had become a hit, making it into the Billboard Hot 100.

In 1983, they released the single ‘Nobody’s Diary’, which reached No.3 in the U.K charts. It was not long after the release of the single, that the duo announced they had disbanded due to a clash of personalities and lack of communication between the pair. Despite the split, their second album, You and Me Both, was released later that same year and reached No.1 in the album charts. Alison Moyet has an amazing voice and after Yazoo, she went on to have a successful solo career.

Other bands formed or who had hits in the 1980s starting with the letter Y include:- Yothu Yindi, Yello.

What other bands of the 1980s that begin with the letter Y can you think of?

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Writing · Writing Process

Writing In a Different Genre.

As an unpublished writer, I have the luxury of experimenting with what I write and how I write it. Recently one morning I woke up with an idea for a story title. I thought it sounded good – if I wrote in that particular genre. And therein lay the problem. Was my subconscious mind trying to tell me something?

For years I have struggled with this. No, I do not write romance, simply because I do not always like to see a happy ending. And right there are two important words – not always. So, sometimes I do like to see happy ever afters. In my teenage years I devoured Sweet Dreams Romance books, was introduced by a friend to Mills & Boon and enjoyed reading Jane Austen so much, back then I wanted to write just like her (yes, seriously). And just for balance I also read a lot of Stephen King (can you see my dilemma now?) 😉 This is why I believed my writing would be more suitable to women’s fiction, and my longest short story so far reflects that as there is no happy ending.

After I left High School, I wrote to Mills & Boon and received submission guidelines and a tape on how to write for them. Try as I might, I just couldn’t do it. I believed I could not write a romance, but perhaps the real problem for me was that they were too formulaic.

Perhaps, also, my greatest resistance to writing a romance is because I always looked at it in terms of the novel. As I enjoy writing in the shorter form and thanks to self-publishing, lately I have some ideas for romances of short story/novella length. It is a starting point to stepping out of my comfort zone and experimenting at the same time. Who knows if it will lead to something or not, but clearly such thoughts have remained repressed for some time. It just needed a little push. 😉

Do you write in different genres? Have you resisted writing a particular genre or are you happy to experiment? Has your subconscious told you something about your own writing and have you acted upon it?

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Back to the 80s

Back to the 80s: X is for XTC.

It’s the end of another week and once again, it’s time for my Back to the 80s Challenge. We are now down to the last three and it hasn’t always been easy coming up with band names. These last few have left me struggling sometimes to even to come up with more than one band name. This week is a perfect example of that!

XTC were formed in England in 1972 and their debut album, White Music, was released in 1978. It wasn’t until their third album, Drums and Wires was released in 1979, that they had their first hit single, ‘Making Plans for Nigel’. Their fourth album, Black Sea, was released in 1980. This album contained the hit single ‘Generals and Majors’, which made the U.K Top 40 and the album reached No.1 in Australia. In 1982, they released their fifth album and the single ‘Senses Working Overtime’ made the Top 10 in the U.K.

In the early 1980s, the band embarked on a world tour, but had to cancel due to health reasons for one of the band members. They then became a studio band and released six more albums in the 1980s, including two under their alter-ego, ‘The Dukes of Stratospher’. Over the years, despite issues with band members and their record labels, they released at least three more albums, but eventually disbanded in 2006.

‘And all the world is biscuit shaped, it’s just for me to feed my face’ – it sounds silly I know, but I always liked that line! 😉

What are some silly song lyrics that you like listening to? What other bands of the 1980s that begin with the letter X can you think of (it’s got me stumped)?

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This Writer's Life · Writing

What Would You Do Differently in 2017?

Looking back, 2017 has been quite a personal journey for me. It began with an operation that helped with a long-standing medical condition. Recovery took longer than I expected, but in the end, the result was well worth it. I went on a diet, lost a few kilos and still have a long way to go to reach my ideal goal, but I’ll get there! In more recent months, I have reached a milestone birthday, saw my favourite band as well as discovering that I may be a ‘sensitive’ and I’m keen to find out more about such things. 2017 was also the year when I came to the conclusion that I needed a change in direction when it comes to writing and will be going down the path of self-publishing.

In 2017, I did a couple of courses, found some helpful beta readers, submitted stories to competitions and tried my hand at writing a novella only for it to turn out to be a long short story (the longest I’ve ever written). I also have a clearer picture of my genre.

So what will I do differently?

Write a heck of lot more than what I have been doing, that’s for sure! Unfortunately there are a couple of things that continually get in the way. One is called life, the other is time management. As a writer who has a family and household to maintain, there isn’t much I can do about the first one, but the other I can control. I’ve struggled with time management for a while now and I know that if I really want to get anywhere as a writer, especially on the self-publishing route, I have to lift my game and make some big changes.

One of those changes will be cutting back on time spent on the internet. Over the past few years I have become a political tragic (sad, I know), but with two teenage kids, I do worry about their future and that of the planet. Also, with social media lately, I have become a bit sporadic, so I have at least started to cut back on that and may need to start using a timer for this as well as my writing. Of-course I will continue to blog – it is still writing after all! 😉

Breaking some of those old habits is not going to be easy, but I enjoy the sense of accomplishment when I have reached one of my goals; and for me right now, the biggest goal of all is publication.

As you look back on 2017, with all its successes/failures, if you could backtrack, what would you do differently? Have you learnt something about yourself this year? Do you find yourself struggling with time management? What habits have you had to break to get more writing done?

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