Friday, November 30, 2007

Ducks and Other Fearful Distractions

by Jo Robertson

I was looking at some pictures of my granddaughter Annie the other day. Her family took a trip to Apple Hill, a beautiful place in the fall, where there’s a small fishing pond and a picnic area for children to play. Ducks swim on the water and waddle around the shore.

Initially the ducks fascinate Annie. She has no frame of reference to fear them. They look harmless enough. Pretty, too, with their white feathers and long "lellow" noses. Mommy whispers those noses are called beaks.

Annie reaches for one. It quacks or makes whatever frightening sound ducks make, startling her. She backs away, crying.

But, an hour later, with a little coaxing, and having become accustomed to them, their peculiar sound and smell, she inches forward.

By the end of the day Annie decides ducks are pretty cool.

Myself, I’m not the adventurous sort. I never cut class in high school. Really. I never sneaked out of the house at night. I never drove my dad’s car without permission. I never tried drugs in college even though it was the height of the hippie era. I avoided the deep end of the pool.

Like the words of that Kelly Clarkson song – I didn’t stray too far from the sidewalk.

There’s something wise and smart and cautious about not taking risks. Risk-takers often end up getting hurt. Or hurting other people.

When I was younger, I wanted to be a professional singer. After I was graduated from high school, I worked for the U.S. Government for eighteen months before college, lived at home, had a little extra money, and wanted so, so badly to take voice lessons from a professional instructor. But I was too chicken. I wouldn’t take the chance. I was afraid to risk embarrassment. Afraid I wasn't good enough.

As a result I didn’t sing my first solo until I was thirty-two in a small church in Jerusalem. The song was something about lighting a candle rather than cursing the darkness and every muscle in my body quaked like an aftershock -- but not my voice. My voice was clear and smooth and unfettered.

But you see, I could have done that at age seventeen or eighteen instead of thirty-two.

I know a lot of writers who never submit their work. Ironic, huh? That’s like a singer who won’t sing in the shower or a dancer who doesn’t tap his foot to the beat of the drum. But it’s true. Their convoluted logic is that if they don’t submit their work, they won’t face rejection.

There’s a concept that the more we do something, the easier it becomes. The task doesn’t get easier; our ability to accomplish the task becomes greater.

So my question for you is -- What have you learned to do that got easier with the doing of it? Come on, share those stories, folks. It doesn't have to be about writing. We writers get our inspiration and our perseverance from your successes!

Jo's Pumpkin Bread HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

3 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
3 c. sugar
1 c. oil
4 eggs
2/3 c. water
2 cans canned pumpkin
Nuts (optional)

Mix wet ingredients well. Add nuts and dry ingredients. Bake at 350 degress in greased pans about 35 to 40 minutes. Do not overbake. This recipe works best in small loaf pans. Makes 6 small loaves or three large loaves.


Joan said... it official? Have I grabbed the golden duck?

Joan said...

Woohoo! Two fowl for the price of one!

I think one thing I've done that I've finally gotten comfortable with is critiqing another writer's work.

It came to me this past week as I went through my doctor friend's first manuscript. His chosen genre is sci/fi, thriller. A natural talent and amazing with dialouge his story has a real chance to be published.

But, as with all first time writers there were things he'll need to work on: info dumps, backstory, POV.

I realized as I went through the manuscript, marking and making suggestions that six years ago I had not one clue how to tell somebody else how to write. I would have stared at those pages and said "Huh?" Now I can zone right into the head hoping, make sense when I talk about taking the reader out of the moment. I know what plot is LOL.

I'm feeling kind of proud of myself :-)

Donna MacMeans said...

Hey Joan - Congrats on snagging the GR. That bird gets around, doesn't he?

Jo - I got so involved in your pumpkin bread recipe, I forgot the question! Had to go back and look.

I'd say saying "NO" has gotten easier. WHich is a bit ironic as every mother knows - No is the first and most frequent word every toddler learns *g*. But somewhere along the way, with being a good girl and not wanting to hurt anyone's feelings, it got harder to say NO. (Quiet Karen, you know what I mean). It's easy to lose yourself, trying to please everyone else. Recently, I've found that I've had to say NO. No, I can't drop everything and run to the store for you. No, I can't take on another client. No, You can't use my laptop right now. And you're right. I'm improving with practice ;-)

Keira Soleore said...

Oh, so many things, Jo, because I'm a chicken. So I had to make myself do scary things, even if my knees shook and my hands got cold. But the deal I made with myself was: I would never let fear stand in the way of getting something I really wanted.

-Talking to strangers
-Sending writing out (I'm published in nonfiction, not books, but no fiction yet)
-Starting a new job
-Moving to a new city

The list goes on. There are every day things in it and huge life changes. But there were all scary. However, the more I did them, the more confident I became in my ability to do them, and the easier things became and so I did better at them.

Keira Soleore said...

Jo, your granddaughter is so cute!! Our family has many fowl "friends," and we're extremely fond of ducks (alive and stuffed). Quack!

Christine Wells said...

Congrats, Joanie T! That Rooster gets around.

Jo, what a gorgeous little girl. You must be so proud. I've never been a risk-taker either, so giving up work to pursue writing was a big deal for me. I certainly haven't regretted it!

Christine Wells said...

Hi Keira! Long time no see:) Were you entering the Golden Heart? If so, best of luck to you!

I hope everyone got their entries in the mail. Some of our Banditas took it right down to the wire, but they got there. Woohoo! Good luck, ladies!

Helen said...

Jo your grandaughter is beautiful and I am defiantly going to try that pumpkin bread.
There are lots of things that I have been afraid to do I was always careful and still am I don't have a lot of courage to try new things I am too comfortable, One of the hardest things that I have overcome is actually posting on blogs and message boards on the internet it took me a long time to actually post something on the boards I had signed up on I lurked a lot and read everything and I still lurk at some sites and yet at others like this one I feel very comfortable thanks Guys.
Have Fun

jo robertson said...

Wow, Joanie, what are you and the Toga boys going to do with our GR? Handle gently, woman!

It's interesting you say that you've gotten comfortable with critiquing. Having scored all those student essays, I was pretty confident with that, but I learned that in romance writing there's a whole new bunch of terms used. I had to relearn all of them when I started writing!

Hope you like the pumpkin recipe, Donna. I almost forgot and had a dream last night that I left out essential ingredients and everyone hated it!

Yes, learning to say no is a great stride. Now I have to learn to say no without feeling GUILTY!

jo robertson said...

Great for you, Keira! Honestly, fear can simply paralyze us if we let it, and then we reach a certain age and think, man, what have I done?

Thanks to all for the compliments on Annie. She sure is a scene stealer. And lest my other two-year old is reading this LOL, Ezra's a doll too!

jo robertson said...

Helen, I had to LOL at your saying you were going to "defiantly" try my pumpkin bread. I think you meant definitely (and you FOR SURE) get the malapropism prize!), but if not -- go girl -- defy that pumpkin bread all to heck and back.

Sorry, I'm still smiling.

Have to rush off (yes, I KNOW it's 5:30 a.m. and get my kids off to school.

As Arnold says, I'll be BACH! And Mozart. And Brahms . . .

Caren Crane said...

Jo, what a cutie! Aren't you happy they captured the whole traumatic episode on film? I'm sure Annie will be tormented with those pictures for the rest of her life. *g*

Joan, congrats on snagging the GR! He used to be my friend, but my time dwelling in the Golden Heart cave scared him off. But, the last manuscript got finished and in the mail. Yes, I am one of those Tardy Writers to whom Christine referred. =:-0

This will amuse all the Banditas: I used to be afraid of public speaking. Terrified. But working in retail as a teenager taught me to approach people (who often did not want me to speak to them) and keep a good attitude despite their behavior. That and waiting tables was great training. Now, I will stand up anywhere and speak. I often have to address hundreds in our congregation at church and it doesn't bother me a bit.

The other one is one Susan mentioned in her Fears post: talking on the phone. When I was young, I was terrified to call people. Having children pretty much cures you of that, since you have to call parents you don't know all the time. Also, in engineering I had to call clients all the time--often in other countries. So, I got over it.

Practice definitely makes it easier! Oh, and I would gladly sing in front of people, but no one would want to hear me! *ggg*

Caren Crane said...

Donna, I am still working on saying NO. I've been actively practicing for about 10 years, but I am a chronic volunteer and old habits are hard to break.

Case in point: I have just been appointed the RWA Bylaws Committee Chair. Bylaws! Believe it or not, I kind of dig bylaws. I know, I'm a sick, sick person...

Joan said...

LOL, Jo. Me and the boys will handle the GR with kid gloves. No, wait. There were no kid gloves in 52 AD. Marcus? Put that spit down!


I'm so surprised to read that you might have ever held back talking to strangers.

I remember meeting you at Anna's table at the literacy signing. Your beautiful smile and friendly manner. I'm telling you, you win friends on the smile alone.

Caren! Bylaws Committee chair!!! Congratulations...I think.

My CP is a bylaws geek too. I've learned a LOT from her though I still don't quite get it all. But when faced with chapter members who want to "just do it this one time" I'm learning fast.

And Jo, I join in with everyone else about how darling your granddaughter is. I love being with little ones and watch them experience life...and ducks LOL

I was watching a little one at the mall food court yesterday. Obviously just learning to walk but the sheer joy and enthusiasm of his toddling made me smile!

Off to the mall, again and I might swing by the Kroger for a second can of pumpkin, come home and defiantly make your bread. (Stop me! Just try to stop me!) :-)

doglady said...

Official congrats on the GR, Joan!! And that pumpkin bread is a must have for me!! I am also sending the recipe to my Mom. Just what she needs, another "please, Mom, it won't be Christmas if you don't make this" item! Jo, your granddaughter is a doll! What great photos to have. I have to watch for crossing ducks when I go to work every morning. I live on a dirt road and their is a huge pond at the top of the road. The owner keeps ducks to keep the pond clean. Spring is loads of fun as you have to stop for Mama Duck and her brood to cross the road. Always makes me smile. Singing in front of 50K people? No problem. (All singers get nervous no matter how long they have been doing it. If they say they don't they are lying or in denial!)However, until a little over a year ago I would NEVER have let someone read my writing. Avon FanLit, all those great ladies there, and your own AnnaC helped me get over that. And yes, I am one of those last minute GH'ers. I am on my way to the post office right now. EEEEK! Oh and Caren from yesterday, every year my Mom says she is going to stop making the Lane Cake BECAUSE it is so much work, but every year we beg and plead and she gives in. AND finally Aunty Cindy - SURRENDER THE BOOTY is so much better!!!! I'll fork over the dough for a shirt! Sounds like the perfect excuse for you to take a little trip!

Susan Seyfarth said...

Hi, Jo!

Things I've gotten better at the more I do them?

Cheerfully admitting that I have no agent, no contract, no prospects, but that I'm loving my writing CAREER.

Letting people dislike me. I taught high school English for an ill-fated semester at 21, then spent the next four years workig with with high-risk, inner-city youth. By the time I turned 25 I was an old pro at letting it all roll off. Not that it doesn't still sting, but I've learned to be at peace with being unpopular.

Like Helen, participating on-line. This goes back to my phone phobia (Caren! Sister!). I have trouble feeling comfortable in conversations where there are no visual cues, & when you take away spoken inflection? Oh lord, save me from the social blunders I am about to commit... But the banditas have been helping me get my sea legs. :-)

Oh, & thanks for the pumpkin bread recipe, Jo! I'm trying that one out this weekend!


Beth said...

Your granddaughter is adorable, Jo! And I'm so glad she had fun with the ducks *g* We used to have a pond down the road where we could take the kids to feed the ducks and geese (btw, I could add geese as one of my random fears - very mean and aggressive creatures) but they had to drain the pond because during heavy rains it would flood the road!

I was more of a risk-taker in my younger days *g* Actually, I guess I still have a bit of risk-taker in me. Mostly things that bother my husband like me going to a Big City by myself w/o a map and just driving around until I find what I'm looking for *g*

Like Susan, I think the biggest thing I've learned is to let people dislike me. Having two teenagers, I get a lot of practice with that one ;-)

shannon said...

I never minded doing something I was SURE I was good at (like performing or public speaking), but when it came to something that was out of my confidence zone)I held back. I remember being on swim team as a child and was fine when we were just swimming and learning strokes. But I wasnt the fastest or best swimmer and so when it came to an actual swim MEET I chickened out. I was literally sick to my stomach about competing because I knew I wouldnt likely place and could possibly even come in last and that was terrifying. My self esteem couldnt bear that. When it came to competing in solo competitions I was nervous of course, and realized there were many singers better than me, but I felt confident that I was better than many singers myself and was likely to do well. So my fears have always been limited to what I am not able to do well... does that make sense? I am still in my PJs and my head is swimming from my little duck-loving toddler waking at all hours last night. I am sure she said last night at 2am "mommy... duckie... bite!" So perhaps this duck thing may be more traumatic than we know :)

jo robertson said...

Ah, Shannon, my #1 daughter! Half-mother to Annie, welcome to the Lair.

And for those of you who don't know Shannon not only sings, she has the voice of an angel. When she was a young teen, her tones were so sweet and lovely, I'd pinch myself so as not to cry during her performance.

Helen, that's amazing that you used to be afraid to post; now your coments sound so confident.

I was nervous talking on the phone, like Caren, especially if the occasion was confrontational. I used to write down the words beore I made the call LOL.

jo robertson said...

Doglady, what a wonderful scene to have every morning before work. Those little details just give me the chills -- in a good way! And congrats on entering the GH. What's the category?

Susan, I had to laugh at your comment. Yesterday I had lunch with my old book club (teachers from my school). It'd been about a year and I was dreading the old "so did you sell" line. But they were very kind.

flchen1 said...

What a darling, Jo!

There are lots of things that have become less difficult... like Keira mentioned, a biggie is parenting (although that seems to present new challenges constantly, so that's a shifting target!). Also when my oldest was a preschooler, we did a co-op preschool deal where the parents took turns teaching--the first few months were SO hard, and that definitely got easier with practice!

Public speaking is something that has NOT gotten easier, maybe because it's something I still avoid doing as much as possible! (Yes, yes, I'm a coward! *hiding under the bed*)

Kennan said...

my husband (who will try almost anything and is a creative genius!)would say i'm a big chicken. I like to call myself "cautious and practical." i don't want to waste my time on something i think won't turn out well, and i tend to think more things won't turn out than will (like playing live music at a small cafe when you've only practice with the band twice?).

i also declare myself a project finisher, when my dear soul mate leaves everything UNfinished (like the dishwasher he lovingly installed that never actually got attached to the counter...that's okay because i'm used to it falling over when i open it now :). finishing projects means you have to be dedicated and plan it all out. who has time for that? so i just never start them.

my husband (who would put "never wrote me a hit song" on my headstone if i weren't already going to donate my body to medical science--now there is something i'm not a chicken about!) believes being bold means starting a business, sending a cd of your original music to NPR, making an independent film (even though he's never taken a film class) or WRITING A BOOK--and he could probably do all those things (well, i guess he has if you count a dissertation as a book).

the naive do-gooder in me wants my risk taking to change the world, not just myself. like campaigning for small farmers' rights to sell their own milk, organizing a community garden or lobbying congress to change FDA regulations on the health and beauty industry. but alas, the chicken in me won't get those projects started! could they ever be finished anyway?

p226 said...

I know a lot of writers who never submit their work. Ironic, huh?

Hmmmmmm..... *g*

Add one more name to that list.

What have I done that got easier with time? That's a pretty long list really. And the more I think about it, the longer the list grows. The thing is, for me writing -- actually getting a story out on paper is not hard. Stories, storylines, plots, ideas, dialog... they just flow. Now the question of the day becomes "yeah, ok, it flows, but are we talking about a clear mountain stream or something that burbles its stench along the understreet sewers of NYC." And there's the rub. Do I REALLY want the answer to that question?

Dunno. right now it appears that I'm too chickenshit to get the answer. It's just not a huge priority for me. Though, I do have one WIP that so few people will ever see. But I think it's powerful. I think it will move those few people. I think those very few that actually see it will not quickly forget it. Does it have any commercial value? Hah, no. None. Was it hard to do? Not at all. I wrote it in about fifteen minutes. The idea had been swimming and taking shape in my head for years. But the actual writing? It just FELL out of my noggin onto the screen. There may have been an audible "plop."

One thing that was hard at first, and took a GREAT deal of patience for improvement was my guitar playing. I've been playing since I was fourteen years old. I think I suck, but my wife assures me I'm very good. But when my frame of reference for "good" consists of guys like Frank Zappa, Steve Vai, Randy Rhoads, Michael Hedges, Tommy Emmanuel (for you ozzies out there) and other REAL talents, "good" looks pretty damned unattainable. I'm not going to get there without ten solid hours of practice every day for the next five years.

So, with guitar, which can certainly be analogous to writing, the issue becomes clear. Yes, it's hard at first. Yes, you get better the more you do it. But at the end of the day, the bottom line comes down to one thing. Commitment.

Caren Crane said...

Kennan, my mother said something that your comment reminded me of. Now, you have to realize I have always seen my mother as an absolute whiz at everything. When my father deserted us, she single-handedly raised five kids with no help, no education and no job experience (except a couple of secretarial jobs as a teen and young woman). She went to school and had a 4.0 average. She worked as a respiratory therapist and segued to a number of other careers and was successful at all of them. She can cook better than Paula Deen, do crafts, paint, and decorate like a dream.

So, a couple of years ago she says to me, "Oh, you know how I am. If something is hard, I just don't do it!"

What the...? She went on to explain reasoning much like yours, Kennan. So, never fear. Your children (and probably anyone else in your future life) will believe you are a Wonder Woman who can do anything and everything. As long as you don't tell them otherwise. *g*

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, JT, congrats on the bird!

Jo, what a fantastic post. And so many inspiring answers. And to think I read the title and thought you were giving me a recipe for roasting the GR!

Helen, I'm very glad you got over your list phobia!

Actually this past year, I've faced one of my long-term fears and conquered it. I was terrified of public speaking. You know, if someone said would you rather die or speak to a group. It would be a close thing, but I think death would win!

But when I sold, I realized I was going to have to talk to a lot of strangers (which is true!). So when in 2006, Amy aka Downundergirl asked me to MC our local conference, I felt utterly ill but I said yes. It was a baptism of fire. It meant being on show for two entire days. I started out like I had a broomstick stuck up where the sun don't shine - do I need to paint you a picture? But by the second day, I'd relaxed into it and it wasn't too bad. Well, I wouldn't have wanted to shake my hand without a nice absorbent towel nearby, but it wasn't too bad. Since then, I've had to do signings and workshops and talks and I've reached a point where I take them in my stride. If I can relax and have a good time, generally the audience will too and that's about all you can ask. So feeling rather chuffed with myself!

Actually I think I've learned I have to face my fears. It's something experience has taught me. If you don't face them, they master you! Oh, dear, starting to sound like a self-help manual here!

And I absolutely understand that terror of submitting. I spent 13 years not sending anything out. Not a sausage! Seems a bit silly now!

terrio said...

Lovely pictures. I'm the risk taker in my family. I'm not jumping out of any planes but I've been public speaking for years (DJ) and I've moved to a new state on my own more than once. For me it's talking to men. I know, not good for an aspiring romance writer. Put me on a stage in front of 10K people and I'm comfortable. Put me in a restuarant with one man, I'm done for. Terrible affliction.

I haven't gotten to the point of submitting as I'm still working on the first WIP but I'm actually excited about sending it out there. Every rejection is another step forward, right? Right? Lie if you have to.

Suzanne Welsh said...

Lovely granddaughter, Jo! And to be able to conquer a fear at an early age. What a glorious thing for your daughter to have taught her. Great self-esteem skill for later in life.

Will be trying the pumpkin bread recipe. As I adore all short breads and most things pumpkin and spice related!

Risk taking. Hmmm. First there was becoming a nurse. Quite frankly the fear of causing more harm than good nearly made me quit as a young kid of 20! But over the years, the more I do it, the more I learn, the more skills I develop, the more I teach others...well the more I'm sure it's been a good choice for me.

Writing. Taking that big plunge and commit to writing a chapter, then a book, then another and then joining RWA, DARA, entering contests...and finally sending off my work to get published. Gets easier with each step! P226, you hit the nail on the head with the committment thought!

Travel. I've never been one to veer far from family and friends, but each time I get on the plane and go to another city and conference, the more I like it.

Caren, sadly I've NEVER had a fear of public speaking! (Or as Ron White might say, speak--ing in pub--lick!)

Caren Crane said...

Terrio, that's exactly the stance to take on rejections. Whatever you do, never believe they are an indication of how good (or bad) your writing is. Certainly, never take one personally! We have lots of conversations about how it takes talent, perseverance and a hearty splash of LUCK to make it in publishing. The luck part comes at different times for everyone. Yours will come, too! But as we also always say, you are guaranteed not to sell if you never submit. When you are ready, brace yourself and send it out!

Btw, I've never been nervous talking to men, so I'm no help there. I think I always figured they were just people, too, so what was the big deal? Now, I sort of want to pat them on the head, the poor dears. It's tough to be a man. Right, P226? *g*

Gillian Layne said...

I got on that tram that goes to Pike's Peak in Colorado, even though I'm so terrified of heights I was shaking. I just knew if I stayed behind I'd regret it the rest of my life, because I'd miss the look on my three girls' faces.

My husband was so supportive, holding my hand and distracting me all the way up. And then at the top, my oldest got sick from the altitude, and I immediately kicked into "mom" mode, all fear forgotten.

I was so proud of myself once we got back down I didn't quit smiling for a week. We went into a Colorado Springs ice cream shop and ordered a ten dollar Pikes Peak sundae to split, in celebration!

Suzanne Welsh said...

Gillian...good for you! And I feel your pain. I'd probably hurl all the way up and back. Shivering at the meer thought of the heigt!

jo robertson said...

Ah, Kennan, you're the child of my heart. I too don't like to do anything unless I can do it moderately well. That's why I don't do sports LOL.

But some things you really do just do for yourself 'cause it makes you happy even if you suck at it.

BTW, Kennan is an amazing song-writer and sells herself short. NPR's gonna be clamoring at her door one day! She's already Wonder Woman to her family.

P228, yikes, Ican tell what excellent prose you write. Now, WHY haven't you submitted???? Like you said, it's about commitment.

Terrio, I so understand that concept. Sometimes it's far easier to speak in front of a nameless crowd of thousands than go one on one. Especially if the guy's delicious. Sigh!

Anna Campbell said...

Terri, getting up the guts to send something is a huge achievement, so it's absolutely a step in the right direction. And as someone famous who I can't remember said, "Every no, you're one step closer to a yes."

Jo, meant to say before that your granddaughter is gorgeous! Those pictures are cute as a button!

Christie Kelley said...

Jo, your granddaughter is adorable! I love the duck story because I've seen some pretty mean ducks.

I had the same fear as you, singing in public (and still do). I did take some singing lessons but the idea of getting out there in public terrified me.

For me, I think it's rejection that has gotten a little easier (only a little). After listening to multi-published authors talk about being rejected after they had sold so many books puts things in prospective. It took me a while to learn that it's not personal, it's business.

terrio said...

Thanks for all the support but we need to remember I'm enthusiastic now - when I have yet to be rejected. We'll see if my enthusiasm remains after ten or twelve of them.

Helen said...

I should learn to spell shouldn't I have never been a good speller.
Anna I have heard you talk and you are a natural at it you seem very comfortable when speaking in front of people, and I too am glad I can now post on blogs otherwise I would not have "met" all you wonderful people.
Have Fun

Trish Milburn said...

Jo, your granddaughter is such a cutie-pie!

Caren, when I saw you were the new bylaws chair, my first thought was "she'll be good at that", and my next one was "ew, bylaws." :)

Cassondra said...

Ah, all is right in the world...the Golden Rooster is with SOMEONE ELSE. That said, Joanie, if your Gladiators chip that black toenail polish, I will be one mad Bandita. It took FOREVAH to paint all those little rooster toenails. And he HATED the polish remover....

Hmmmm. Fear.

Jo, I'm thrilled your cutie pie has parents who are teaching her not to be afraid. I think so many fears are actually "learned" fears. I hear little kids from the city, who've never seen or been near a snake, say to someone..."you saw a snake? Why didn't you KILL IT?"

Me: "Why would they want to kill it?"

Kid: "Cuz snakes are bad. I'm afraid of snakes."

The parents have taught the kid to be afraid of something. I saw it all the time when I ran ropes courses--and like Susan, I had to learn that it was okay if somebody doesn't like me. (You often end up making the person REALLY mad when you bring him/her to a point of self-realization and it's not a pretty one....)

What have I done? I've spent my life saying "I'm afraid of that, I'm going to DO it just because I'm afraid of it." And still....submitting? One of the hardest things I've ever done. Even harder than that was playing my own songs in the "songwriting town"--Nashville--at songwriter clubs where writers go to hear other writers' new stuff. I can sing in front of a stadium full, but that made me shake violently.

I think because it was MINE.

I was talking to P226 about this the other day in an email...there's that song where the girl sings "....I'm naked in front of the crowd cuz these words are my diary screamin' out loud and I know that you'll use them however you want to..."

Being "naked" metaphorically--emotionally--letting someone see the inside of you? That's the hardest thing I've ever done--and sometimes NOT done.

As writers, that's what we do. Okay I think I'll go to school to be a neurosurgeon'd be a lot easier.

jo robertson said...

Wow, Cassondra, well said. I think that's one of the things we romance writers try to get at -- that whole our characters standing metaphorically naked in front of each other. Well, maybe literally too VBG.

Powerful stuff.

Trish, I second your comment about the bylaws thing. Yikes! Can't imagine anything more stressful. Go, Caren, go!

jo robertson said...

Helen, spelling is highly over-rated LOL, and that's what spell check's for!

Terrio, your comment reminded me. Did you see the Entertainment Weekly Nov 30 issue? J.K. Rowling was named their top entertainer of the year! Bet she's not very sad about all the rejections she's garnered over the years.

Rejections make us strong. Truly. They do. Ask any Bandita.

Kate Carlisle said...

Jo, what a darling girl!! I love those pictures!!

I'm still at the day job (shhh!) so I'm not thinking very deeply about things, but I'm relating to Helen's answer about commenting on blogs. I used to be a real lurker--and I still do it on some blogs where I feel intimidated. I'm getting better, though. :-)

Also used to hate public speaking, and the idea of promoting myself was the scariest thing imaginable. The American Title contest snapped me out of that one in a big hurry, LOL.

And I can't wait to try the pumpkin bread!

Tawny said...

YAY Joan ;-) Congrats on the GR nabbing.

What have I done that terrified me but got easier with doing? Public speaking. Last conference I had to do a workshop (yes, had to -my editor said so) and I was terrified. But.. I did it, and it wasn't so horrible.

At least not for me -the poor audience might have been suffering a bit.

terrio said...

Jo, I did see JK on that cover. How about that. I'm just excited they chose an author and they consider her a true entertainer.

I heard Sherrilyn Kenyon's speech at the NJ conference about her struggle for success. I think she said she had a folder of 120 rejections in one year and that was after having half a dozen books published. Yeah, that's encouraging. LOL! She's a true force that woman. And sweet as can be.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Hi Jo! Fun post! GORGEOUS granddaughter. She looks about the age as my youngest who's in that discovery age too. It is SO fun. I think he's going to be an engineer because he wants to know how everything works. Including snakes. "How they eat, Mommy?" "What they eat, Mommy?" Hmmmm. "We'll talk about it AFTER breakfast, son." Snork.

As to fears, like several others have said, I can talk to anyone - a friend once said I could talk to rocks and get them to answer; I can sell just about anything, especially if I believe in it. I have no fear of the phone. Or snakes (at a distance, please)

But let someone READ what I WROTE? Are you out of your MIND? Now, hopefully, several people will, when my book comes out in June. Grins. It's a tough one to get over. The first time I read my work to a small writing group my knees were shaking so bad I had to sit down. The only other time I was that scared - faced with a guy high on PCP - I could run, and run I did as fast as I could. I didn't feel I could do that, not with those expectantly interested friends...arrrgh.

Yep. I sometimes think neurosurgery would be a breeze compared to writing. :> I was talking with a friend who's a perinatologist - very learned, keenly sought after by those with high-risk pregnancies, etc. She gave me a huge compliment by saying she thought I was very "well-rounded" (and she wasn't referring to my weight, thank God.) "You have to know about a lot of things to write."

I realized she was right. As Anna says, I was chuffed to realize I knew a lot of deliciously interesting trivia and info and was able to weld it into something (hopefully) interesting. Ha!

The first time I sang in public, by myself, was pretty scary too, but it was easier than reading. Oh, and singing with an a cappella group. But, again, easier than reading that first time.

Great bread recipe, Jo. I LOVE pumpkin anything, and I too, will defiantly make it! Grins. Thanks for that, Helen. It made me smile.

Lily said...

Pumpkin bread... should it not have been for Halloween or Thanksgiving!!