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Posts tagged ‘limiting beliefs’

Stranger than Fiction

20160826_082336I’ve always had what you might call an overactive imagination. My entire life, I’ve made up stories in my head. But it wasn’t until two years ago that I ever thought seriously about writing them down.

Well, actually I’ve thought about it, daydreamed about it, most of my life. But for some reason I was convinced I I didn’t have what it takes to be a writer of fiction.

Even as I say it, I realize how absolutely ridiculous that is. But most limiting beliefs are. Like that meme that makes its way around Facebook every so often, of the horse tied to a plastic lawn chair. The caption is something to the effect of: Sometimes the only thing holding you back is in your head.

Two years ago, I decided to challenge that limiting belief. And on September 1, 2014, I started writing my first novel. Chris Baty’s No Plot, No Problem, was my guide through a month-long fiction-writing binge, where I endeavored to write 50,000 words in 30 days.

And I did. The result was an atrocious first draft of a novel that may never see the light of day. And yet, it was the most amazing thing I’ve ever written. I love every single word. Someday I’ll go back and make a serious attempt at editing it. But for now, just having written it is enough to make me pretty damn proud. (I have since finished 2 more first drafts, and am half-way-ish through a third.)

Now, writing a novel in 30 days is not for the faint of heart. There are days when trying to meet the daily word count almost does you in. Even worse was playing catch up if I missed a day. Or five. But then you have one day where you finally get out of your own way and the magic flows. It makes even the most difficult of days worthwhile.

For me, the process was even more exciting than the finished product. Because I discovered that, as much as I love reading fiction, I love writing it even more. It’s play time for me.

I know what you may be thinking. Here I am talking about how much I love writing fiction, but I’ve never actually shared any of it. Well, that’s about to change.

No, I haven’t landed some publishing contract. Not yet, anyway. But a girl has to dream.

I’m setting a new challenge for myself this month. My goal is to write fiction every day for 30 days. Rather than work on a serious project, like a novel or short stories, I’m going to play.

For the last couple of months, I’ve been stretching my fiction-writing muscles with a really cool writing exercise. I picked it up from Lawrence Block in Write for Your Life. It’s essentially a timed free writing exercise, but instead of using a topic as a starting off point, you use a sentence.

The first time I did this exercise, it blew my mind. As you may have gathered from my other blog posts, I tend to get in my own way a lot. But every time I have done this, I am surprised and delighted by the characters and storylines that reveal themselves with absolutely no conscious effort on my part. These aren’t fully formed stories by any means, although I do have a few nuggets that may become seeds for other projects. But they are so much FUN.

So for the next 30 days, I’m going to do one of my fiction free writes every day. And yes, I’m going to post them here.

Holy crap. I can’t believe I just promised that.

To pull this off, I’m going to need your help. Each of my 30 entries will require a starter sentence. Yes, I can pull them from other sources, but it will be so much more fun if you’re involved.

So if you’d like to lend a hand to my little endeavor, please post your submission in the comments below, on Facebook, message me, etc. You will, of course, get a shout out – and my undying appreciation – if I use yours.

And bragging rights, of course, if there are any to be had.

This all sounds like madness to me at the moment, but I’m committed to it now. Wish me luck!

xo

M

Let It Be Easy

 

Let it be easy_1

Let it be easy. That’s my mantra for today. It’s not a plea to the universe but a reminder to myself. Step out of your own way, Melissa. Stop worrying and overthinking. It doesn’t have to be hard.

I haven’t always believed that. In fact, for most of my life all I’ve needed is a single, solitary negative thought to set me off on a downward spiral. One thought compounded into twenty, all reinforcing The Awful Truth.

The world’s against me.

I’m not good enough.

No one respects me.

I’ll never accomplish anything.

I can’t get anything right.

I’m a fraud.

I should make that a drop down menu so you can pick your own poison. Because we all have one or more of these “truths”, don’t we? That negative core belief we go back to time and time again. We just keep reinforcing it, over and over again.

But here’s the thing: Those Awful Truths aren’t actually true. And that inner voice? It can be your best friend – or at least an enthusiastic sidekick. You just have to train it to build you up rather than tear you down.

That voice inside you is a mimic. And what it’s been mimicking is the limiting beliefs you’ve internalized about yourself from the well-meaning people in your life that have been filling your head with you-can’t-you-won’t-you-shouldn’t-you’ll-never-you-have-to-do-it-this-way bladdy blah blah from practically the day you were born.

They meant well, always trying to protect you from harm. Save you from getting hurt. Prepare you. Teach you. Set you up with ‘realistic’ expectations. But what we absorb in the process is that our lives have to follow a certain pattern. It’s ok to have dreams, but you shouldn’t really expect to reach them. That’s why you need that nice, steady accounting degree to fall back on.

Well, $^%& that.

Do you know how to spot the people who don’t have limiting beliefs? They’re the ones out there doing what they love and absolutely killing it. They’re the ones who have determined what success means to them and are going after it.

I’m sure every one of them would tell you that, at points in their journey, people have told them that they’d never get where they wanted to go. That they’d never achieve their dreams. But you know what? They nevert believe that kind of trash talk. Because they believe in themselves.

While people are telling them that their dreams were impossible, their inner voice is saying, “You’ve got this!”

Your inner voice can do the same.

As for mine, I’ve been putting her through something of a positivity boot camp. She still tries to steer me back to those Awful (Un)Truths every so often, but I’ve discovered she’s fairly easy to distract. She’s rather partial to flowers, and absolutely loves the water. And as I’m taking in the beauty around me, it’s easy to be grateful for all the love and blessings I have in my life.

And if you’re anything like me, when you’re steeped in gratitude, reminded of my blessings, everything seems easy.

Let it.

 

 

“Let it be easy” is a nugget of insight I gleaned from Notes from the Universe, a daily dose of (often humorous) inspiration and enlightenment delivered direct to your inbox from the brilliant minds at TUT.