How to Overcome the Anxiety of Sharing Your Written Work

Sharing your written work can be a stressful process. For some, the thought of opening up yourself to possibly be criticized or judged is paralyzing. It’s a scary thought for anyone, regardless of age, but there are things you can do to help alleviate these anxieties.

1. Acknowledge your fears: they are real, they are legitimate. They’re also very normal. You’re stepping into a new situation and let’s face it, there are some not nice people out there, but that doesn’t mean you stop doing what’s in your heart to do. So look for the rationale behind the fears, understand them and then come up with a successful plan of action to deal with them.

2. Find someone you trust to share your stories/writing with. Someone who will read what you wrote, and not criticize you. This may be family or friends, a mentor or a teacher. The key is that this is someone you trust.

3. Determine if your writing is ready. I like to quote Hemingway, the first draft of anything is garbage. So you probably don’t want people to read your first draft. But a little extra work and love will get your writing to the place where you’re comfortable sharing it. This doesn’t mean it has to be perfect, because nothing and no one is. But it can be good.

4. When you find that person you can trust, be clear about what you’re requesting of them. Do you want feedback? Do you want a critique? Or do you just want support? There are plenty of people who are happy to support you and meet you where you are, you just need to ask.

5. If you’re not comfortable with people close to you, you can get anonymous readers. There are lots of great sites out there that allow you to post your work anonymously. Use a pen name. Or find someone, like myself, who you can work with to get an unbiased opinion about your work.

Don’t let your fears stop you from doing something you love.

#ruthegriffin #studiogriffin #reader #writer #publisher #selfpublisher #selfpublishing #writingtips #publishingtips #writingprocess #journaling #creativesuccess #storyteller #quotes

A Step In The Right Direction

Sooooooooooo … it’s Inauguration Day. And while I have no problem getting up on my soapbox and discussing politics, I will spare you of that.

Today is a historic day when you factor in the last four years, and January 6, 2021, in particular. It’s a historic moment when you consider our new Vice-President Kamala Harris, and her husband, Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff. Honestly, the romantic in me is tickled pink by what I’ve read and seen of their relationship. And for me, that might actually be the highlight of this administration, the relationships–theirs and the Biden’s. That’s the stuff romance novels are made of.

But the biggest thing I think perhaps that identifies this as historic–again, for me–is the forward momentum we are now (hopefully) making. Not because we have a person of color and the female gender in the second highest office in the land, but because we are can now move forward. Regardless of where you stand of the political spectrum, you cannot deny that we hit a standstill and stopped moving as a nation. Not just in unity, but also race relations, the pandemic, our place in this world–everything. We stopped moving.

No, I take that back, because sliding back is movement. So, I think it’s better to say, we stopped moving forward. We’ve made no progress in four years. And even before that, we slowed down and quit moving forward. We stalled at some point and just got comfortable where we were. That’s a dangerous place to be–as a nation, a community, a people, individuals. We get to the place where it’s easier to stay where you are than to step out on faith and take a risk. Try something new. Listen to others. Co-exist.

There’s nothing wrong in wanting to continue the good things, but when those things only benefit you, are they really good? Are you discovering all there is to discover? Are you breaking glass ceilings and encouraging your progeny to do better than you did? Are you setting yourself up for true success? Are you fulfilling the potential that lives in you? Are you being all that you can be? Are you encouraging others to be that as well?

I think at some point, we stopped doing all that AS A COLLECTIVE, and this world, this nation, this life became more about, ‘Every Man For Himself.’ This is not to speak of people who are serving with a heroic selflessness (I see you, pandemic first responders), but when not everyone buys into the collective mission–

Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!

–well, that’s when we hit a standstill. We have to be better than that. We have to be willing to take risks and step outside of our comfortable space. We’re not all going to be presidents and lawmakers and influencers, but we all have neighbors, and friends, and we should all care.

Oops, I stepped up on that soapbox. Let me get down.

So yeah, in summary, today is historic in many ways, and we will not see what progress will be made for a while, but it’s a step in the right direction. And sometimes, that’s all you need–just to take that first step and see where it takes you.

#ruthegriffin #studiogriffin #storyteller #awardwinningauthor #reader #writer #publisher #selfpublisher #writingtips #publishingtips #writingprocess #journaling #inaugurationday #peace #historic

Happy New Year (Two Weeks Later)

I quit doing resolutions years ago. Those seemed pointless in the long run. ‘New year, new me’ was a hard thing to get behind, especially when you’re dragging the last year with you.

So I started doing goals. That seemed more reasonable. Everyone has goals, and making goals sounds less…fickle than making resolutions. Yeah, I said fickle. You know how the gyms get crowded on January 1, then by February 1, they’re a little bit less crowded, then by March 1, they’re mostly back to normal? That’s what I didn’t want to be. So goals it was…except, all I was doing was carrying most of the goals from one year to the next.

Sounds ‘resolution-y’ to me.

But that’s all I had to work with.

Until 2020.

We might have to change the dating system to make 2020 the new marker of age. Sorry, 1 A.D.

I can’t say anything specific happened in 2020 for me. I didn’t catch the virus, I didn’t have to go to work with or in the virus, I didn’t have to…actually, I didn’t have to do much of anything. I stayed home. And worked from home, but with fifteen hours of weekly commute time returned to me, I now had time to think and do other things. And I did those other things.

Go to the gym? No, because the gyms were closed, but hey, running outside was now a thing. As were workout apps.

Eat right? We’ll go with, “Sure.” Mostly because going to the store was now the only thing to do, and stores have food and now we could get creative. Yes, sometimes we had coffee for breakfast, cake for lunch and cereal for dinner, but mostly, we were trying some new recipes and foods (tempeh and steaked cauliflower, anyone?).

Lose weight? Yep. A big yep.

Start a new business and watch it take off? I had already started my own business a couple of years before, but I was now watching it pick up steam, so check.

My point is, I was now doing stuff, I was actually getting to that list of things I didn’t, couldn’t or wouldn’t do before. And when December rolled around, I was determined to finish striking as many things off that list. Again, 2020 wasn’t as traumatic for me as it was for others, but I think we can all agree, sometimes, you just want to say, “Enough is enough,” as you shake the dust off your shoes and walk away, not looking back for anything.

And for the first time in my life, I was able to that. I finished the year and left it behind me. (Actually, that pleasure came yesterday, but who’s counting?) I accomplished much last year, but the most significant thing was when I finished editing a book that I had been working on for the better part of 2020. (‘Dragging my feet’ on is a better description of what I was [or wasn’t] doing.) And it was only after I saved my edits, closed the file and sent it off that I realized the significance of what I did: I had completed my goal list for 2020 and was started 2021 with ‘nothing’ to do.

Ah, don’t mind me as I revel in my ‘nothingness’ over here.

Honestly, it feels like I’m starting a new adventure, and I don’t have to worry about finding a baby/dog sitter, giving notice, or packing anything–I can just pick up and go. I’m OCD, so I will make a new list, but damn, it feels good to start the year unburdened, to start 2021 with a blank slate. I can do anything I want with it, make it anything I want it to be, decide what I’m going to accomplish this year. And I will do just that…

After I get a cup of coffee.

#ruthegriffin #studiogriffin #journaling #creativesuccess #storyteller #newyear #resolutions #goals

Writing Tip: Schedule Time to Write

“You gotta make it a priority to make your priorities a priority.” ―Richie Norton

We often say that we are too busy to write, but the truth is, we haven’t made it a priority. We don’t have to spend hours writing, or even complete a chapter a day if that’s not where you are right now. But if you are able to schedule time to write, you’ll find that you’ll make progress. So, whether you’re a morning person and can get fifteen minutes in before you head to work, or you prefer to come home and spend thirty minutes on the computer after dinner, schedule time to write. Put words onto the page. They don’t have to be very good, but they do have to be there. You can edit bad writing, you can’t edit a blank page. So schedule time and start writing. 

#ruthegriffin #studiogriffin #reader #writer #publisher #selfpublisher #selfpublishing #writingtips #publishingtips #writingprocess #journaling #creativesuccess #storyteller #quotes

Writing Tip:

I would advise anyone who aspires to a writing career that before developing his talent he would be wise to develop a thick hide. — Harper Lee

When you set out to write, one of the best things for you to learn is how to take criticism. To do that, you need to listen and take notes. Hear what’s being said and understand if and how it’s applicable to not just what you’re writing, but how you write. Use the criticism to become a better write, but be careful of the source. Early in my career, back before computers, I was looking for a job and had sent out resumes by mail. One person sent it back, having circled all the errors. No other comments were made though. I was younger and was hurt by the situation instead of seeing it for what it was: someone with too much time on their hands. Contrast that to when I was writing my second book, Stepmothers Anonymous. I asked my sister to read and comment on it. And she did. She had plenty to say. I had to rewrite several portions of the book. But here’s the thing, I’ve been able to use her comments not just for that book, but for the subsequent ones I have written. So embrace critiques and use them to better yourself and your craft.

Merry Christmas!

Time and time again over the next few hours, Joseph had to quell his instinct to protect Mary. She had become his other half, as Heli said, and to hear her suffering was more than he could bear. Joseph began to pray; however, the words were barely out of his mouth when he heard another cry, a different one: it was the cry of a babe, a newborn. Struck by the sound of it, Joseph stood up and made his way to the stall where he left Mary. There he found his wife, sitting on the stool. She was dressed in her undergarments only; her legs were uncovered and there was blood on the nearby straw; yet she was wearing the biggest smile he had ever seen. She gazed up at him and that’s when he noticed the bundle in her arms.

Her son, he thought, then corrected himself: their son…the Mashiac. Apprehension gripped his heart once again.

Mary moved the blanket away from the child’s face as Joseph stepped closer to her. Reminding himself of his father-in-law’s words, he took in a deep breath and knelt beside Mary. She leaned into him, so he could take a closer look at the boy. He was small, pink and wrinkled, with a head full of black hair.

“Isn’t he beautiful?” Mary whispered.

Having been struck speechless, all Joseph could do was nod. Foolishly, he had imagined the child would be born with the full wisdom of a man and the knowledge of his destiny. And maybe somewhere in his consciousness, the babe was aware of it. For now, though, he was simply a child, perfect in shape and form, just as G-d created him. He would fulfill his calling in time; until then, Joseph would accomplish his and be the boy’s father.

“What will you call him?” the woman asked.

“Jesus,” he replied, gently stroking the child’s head.

(Excerpt from Full of Grace).

Merry Christmas!