Wednesday, January 6, 2016

IWSG: I'm Like An Old Worn-out Shoe




It's that the first Wednesday of the month, which means it's Insecure Writer's Support Group Wednesday. Thanks to our noble Ninja Captain Alex J Cavanaugh, it's time to share our fears and insecurities, or support and assistance. Doesn't matter which.

If you'd like to join us, click here. Be sure to link to this page and display the badge in your post.

Our hashtag is #IWSG

Alex's awesome co-hosts for the January 6 posting of the IWSG are L.G. Keltner, Denise Covey, Sheri Larsen, J.Q. Rose, Chemist Ken, and Michelle Wallace! 

Please stop by and thank them for their time and effort.



And don’t forget we're announcing the winners of the Anthology Contest today! 





Thanks, Alex for creating Insecure Writer's Support Group. Thanks IWSG bloggers for making it a safe place to share. Over the years, many of your posts have moved me deeply. I've grieved with you. Laughed with you. Cheered for you. You have inspired me during my best and worst moments.

For a long time, sharing the worst moments felt redundant to me, as if giving those moments relevance was useful.

I believed that -- at the same time that you were putting it out there for everyone to see.

The Writing Life is difficult, you wrote. Also wondrous, exciting. Sometimes horrible.

That you continue to share personal feelings like that is appreciated. (I'm searching for a better word) Valued.

Sometimes I stand outside myself and look at the life I've lived. To the world I am a pleasant woman, a proud grandmother. Cheerful, optimistic, kind. On occasion: wise. People often say they look at me and sense joy.

Most days I look in the mirror and see the opposite, not only insecurities but despair. I often wake joyless. Even now, the child in me is horrified to see these words jump out at me: This is who you really are, Joylene -- fearful, anxious, sad. These negative emotions fill my cup, even while I live the best times of my life.

All this might sound alarming, but you must remember I am a storyteller. A contradiction. I channel my fear and write compelling novels about strong protagonists who overcome being broken. Life isn't easy, and while I can and should choose to be happy despite everything, most days it helps to incorporate the pain into a story. Which doesn't mean I can't be happy or that I don't love life.

I'm sharing this today because I know there are many who feel this way, and I want you to understand that you're not alone. Being brave and announcing to the world that you feel consumed by feelings of rejection or irrelevance won't bring the world to an end. It won't give birth to more havoc. Revealing those fears won't break you. It's simply a declaration that you're writing from your gut to announce that this is part of who you are.

Life is a struggle. Being a writer is a struggle. In the morning, before your eyes open, tell the universe what it is you want. Then let it go. If doubts surface, which of course they will, whisper your new mantra:


"Everything will be okay--everything will be okay--

Everything will be okay--" 



88 comments :

  1. Happy New Year Joylene. Everything will be okay! Thank you for sharing your inner most feelings - I'm sure we can all relate. But like you say, we can incorporate those feelings within our characters to make them more real. If we felt happy all the time, it would be difficult to give our characters depth. Wish you a good week.

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    1. I agree, Nicola. I think that's one of the reasons we write such compelling characters. Happy IWSG and Happy New Year!

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  2. I think we all hide behind a facade of joy to some extent. Writing is the way we channel those negative energies out of us.

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    1. Very true, Ken. That's why we all fit together so nicely. We get what it means to be a writer.
      Thanks!

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  3. It's simply admitting that we are human. Superheroes are cool, but most people identify with real people with real problems.
    And you have to be joy. It's in your name!

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    1. My minister once remarked that my name stood for: Jesus, Others, and you (as in me). That made me feel very blessed. Thanks, Alex. Happy New Year.

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  4. Reading the blog posts of others, I've found a lot of people feel as you do. Considering the number of times I've been victimized by thieves, liars, and cheats, I should feel the same as you do. But apparently I'm too dumb and just keep focusing on my targets, believing I can actually get there, and the greater fallacy, that once I get there it'll make me happy. I channel my wishes into my books -- where bad people and criminals get their just deserts and good people end up happy -- since it never seems to work that way in real life. Thanks for the honesty of your post which encourages others to be brave about the problems they face, too. Wishing all best for you in 2016!

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    1. That was the biggest shock for me too, when I first published. That nothing really changed. I'm still me. Lexa, you are a huge influence in my experience online. I hope you realize how valued you are. Happy New Year.

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  5. A couple of years ago, I wrote a Christmas letter full of the terrible things that were happening in my family's life, but I phrased everything in a silly, mad-cap fashion. People loved it. It was so different from the usual "everything's perfect" letters. Now people tell us they look forward to reading our Christmas letter, so I will keep on putting in all the insane, horrible things that happen (along with some good to balance it out.)

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    1. That is a very kewl idea. I like the one about using old family photos, too. Thanks, Tamara. Happy New Year.

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  6. Powerful blog post and comforting at the same time. We always try to bury our sadness or disappointments and put on a happy face. Your post told me it's okay to "feel." Really appreciate your honesty and your strength to allow yourself to whisper to the universe to help you know everything will be okay.

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    1. Thanks, Janet. This means alot. Happy New Year.

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  7. Thank you for sharing this. I know that feeling you describe very well - too well to my liking.

    But yes, everything WILL be okay. Some days you will have more confidence than on others, but in the end it will all work out. Indeed a mantra to hold on to!

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  8. We do expose ourselves to rejection and fears as we put our work out there. But I don't think there's any other way. How we handle those feelings of rejections matters the most. Because we all know we are going to be rejected at some point. I think of it like a reader. I LOVE some books while other people could care less about the books I hold dear to me. This is how publishers and agents feel about your book(s). We just have to find the right person to love our books.

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    1. So true, Jennifer. We're not defined by those rejections. Happy New Year.

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  9. I always thought of old shoes as the most comfortable. I guess it's in the perspective. :-)

    Anna from elements of emaginette

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    1. Nah, you're right. I'm comfortable. Great post today, Anna. Happy New Year.

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  10. Writing is tough, and some days it's hard to keep going, but as storytellers, we have to soldier on. Everything will be okay.

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  11. The best writers write from a place of angst. It's who we are. We shouldn't be afraid to admit it.

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    1. Yet, there are so many who are. As if admitting fear is akin to failure. Another reason why IWSG is so important. Happy New Year, Diane!

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  12. Thank you for a very inspiring post. These blog hops have been a big comfort to me over the years.

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    1. So glad to hear that, Steph. Thanks for visiting and sharing your thoughts. Happy New Year.

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  13. You've put that into beautiful words. Experiencing the emotions that we need to put in our writing is the only way to get it right. The face we show to the world isn't always what's underneath.

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    1. thanks, Susan. Hope your new year is off to a great start! Best in 2016!

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  14. Before this past year I would have never thought about it. I won't say I am glad to hear I am not alone but am grateful for those who share their experiences. Thank you

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    1. You're very welcome, Michael. Looking forward to witnessing all your success.

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  15. I'm imagining this wasn't an easy post to write, but being honest in our words is important. Despite answering "Fine" to the frequent "How are you?" question, we aren't always fine. There's an elderly lady at my church who usually answers with a smile, "I could be better, but nobody likes a complainer." I suppose she's right, but I believe there's a big difference between stating a fact, and complaining about it...acknowledging how we feel is a good step in a positive direction.

    (I've discovered if I use Chrome instead of Safari, I can once again post on Blogspot blogs. Yay!!)

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    1. Yay, you're back! Thanks for commenting, Carol. I cherish your comments.

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  16. Hi Joylene - "Everything will be ok" .. we just need to get past that stage .. and then life will be!! Writing is in the blood .. we can't give up - so enjoy this year of writing and getting your words out ... cheers Hilary

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    1. Thanks very much, Hilary. Thanks for your continuing support. Means a lot. Happy New Year.

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  17. Life isn't easy and putting our fears and the darkness we feel into our stories, making them as real as our lives, is a great way to grow and heal. I often feel the same way you do. And I use it.

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    1. Good to hear, Chrys. Thanks. And Happy New Year.

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  18. Wonderful post, thank you for sharing your feelings. We've all been here and we'll all visit these feelings often. Knowing we have company is one of the things that keeps us digging our way out of the fear and darkness, because when we crawl out we can help lift another.

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    1. That is so true, Charity. It's what helps me often. Thanks. Happy New Year.

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  19. Wow, what an impressive and inspiring post. I felt and sympathize with everything you said and ditto. It is funny it is the struggle that makes a good story. I wish I was better about channeling my emotion into story, but often they lock me up and fear consumes me to the point I do nothing, I hate that, I want to overcome that--I want to be the heroine of my own life. I think you are that, which this post shows.

    Much Success and Happiness,
    Juneta @ Writer's Gambit

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    1. Yes, sometimes while in the midst of a crisis, it's hard to drop everything and start writing. I haven't figured out how to do that either. Thanks, Juneta! Happy New Year.

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  20. I'm a firm believer in setting my intentions and making them as positive as I can! I've found that helps me more than anything in reaching my goals, short and long term.

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    1. I'm learning, Lee. Slowly. Another reason why I cherish these first Wednesdays. Thanks, and Happy New Year.

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  21. Wise words, and yes, from a wise woman. It is how you say, and while we mostly try to put our best face forward especially in the blogosphere, not all days are good, but then again not all days are bad. Thank you!
    Wishing you, all of us really, more good days than bad!
    Happy New Year!

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    1. Thank you, Yolanda. Wishing you the best, too. Happy New Year!

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  22. I'm afraid to share doubts and fear, too. I always feel that makes me a whiner. But you're right. Everyone experiences these emotions. I think writers experience them more deeply though. Without the depth of emotion we can't write those experiences into our characters. And just experiencing them doesn't make us like that always. It just means we're paying attention.

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    1. You're right. We're up and we're down, and that makes us normal. With one exception, we have characters running around inside our heads. That's not normal. LOL Happy New Year, Sara!

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  23. I identify with the kaleidoscope of emotions you describe. Your honest outpouring was successful in teaching me the messy feelings I live with are normal. Or at the very least, we are kindred spirits. Even your mantra matches mine. I'll start repeating it before I open my eyes at 4am. My experience of you is an irreverent person that makes me laugh.

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    1. And you are a dear girl, Lynn. Thanks for reminding me how awesome life is. Happy New Year. And Happy IWSG.

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  24. What a great way to start the new year, by reminding everybody that everything will be okay. I have the same struggle, as a writer, and I have to remind myself that it will all work out and everything will be okay.

    I will add, that it is awesome you all visited Stonehenge.

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    1. Thanks, Jewel. Yes, visiting Stonehenge was a wonderful experience that I shall never forget. Happy New Year.

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  25. Joylene, yes, everything will be okay. Of course it will. We just have to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and get going along our path. I can't help meandering though. Very interesting life I live, lol!

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    1. Thanks, Denise. You do lead an interesting life. I'm amazed and a little envious of your energy. Wish you'd write a post on how you maintain your schedule. Happy New Year.

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  26. Happy New Year, Joylene. For me, when I'm not having an easy day, I just have to quietly remind myself I'm trying my best.

    Sometimes I think the pains and sensitivities we have help us be better writers.

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    1. So true, Cynthia. It's the same for comedians. Some of the best in the world are bipolar. When I first learned that, I was shocked. But it makes sense. They're fighting their way out every day.

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  27. I can very much relate, Joylene. It's a part of what drives us to write, which in turn sends us slightly insane, and on the cycle goes.

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    1. Like being on a merry-go-round. And around and around. LOL. Thank goodness for IWSG. And you five terrific admins. Happy New Year, Lynda!

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  28. Happy New Year, Joylene! Thanks so much for this supportive post. I can relate to it all too well. We're just human and we feel all the emotions. That's what it means to be human--to feel it ALL, good and bad. We writers are the ones who share it and tell the world it's okay to feel them.

    Everything is going to be okay--you're right about that.

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    1. The wonderful thing is, when something either extraordinary or horrific happens in the world, human beings sit back and wait for the poets and writers to explain what just happened. We bleed onto the page and then our words touch others. Remarkable.

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  29. Hey Joylene, nice to meet you! Thank you for your lovely comment! I can tell that you're a beautiful writer, just by how you use your emotions as tool. But I must say this: little by little, day by day, I'm starting to overcome my fears. And here's what I'm learning: being anxious, sad and everything else you said doesn't make you broken, it makes you human. There's nothing about you that needs to be fixed. The concept of "broken" and "fixed" is so ridiculously black and white it doesn't make any danged sense to even think in those terms because that's not what life is. Life is brilliant, vibrant, technicolor. It screams and shouts and changes pigment like a chameleon on a rainbow. And we get to ride it- changing ourselves every step of the way. My wish for you is to look in the mirror and love yourself so deeply that it shocks you. Because THAT is a journey worth taking!

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    1. Bev, your words are beautiful...they brought tears to my eyes...

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    2. Thank you for your lovely words, Beverly. You are so right. We aren't broken. We're just human. Sadly, the one stuck in the dark doesn't realize this. They see themselves as broken and often unfixable. Broken and unfixable are only words, you're right. You and I know there is no such thing as a wrong path or a wrong decision. But to someone stuck in that moment, they haven't yet learned the simple truth. So, when I'm talking to someone who is in dire need, I try to choose the words that best make sense to them. I know we're only human. I know the answer is to simply choose happy or glad or even anger over despair, but I've learned over the years that one first has to trust enough to take a small baby step out of the darkness.

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  30. Hey Joylene.
    This is such a lovely post.
    But you're right - everything WILL be okay...
    (will e-mail you...)

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    1. Looking forward to hear from you, Michelle. Hope your New Year is fabulous!

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  31. Such reassuring words, Joylene - thank you. Now I know I'm not alone in my depression, so its time to face a new day. :-)

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    1. One day at a time, Roland. Or when it's darkest, one step at a time. Everything will be okay. Happy New Year.

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  32. Happy new year! What a wonderful, heartfelt post. You helped a lot of people with this one.

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    1. I hope so. I don't even need to know for sure. It's my deepest hope as I struggle with these posts. Happy New Year, Nadine!

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  33. Thank you dear Joylene. Your words brought tears into my eyes. As I said most of my Estonian blogs never get feedback and there can be many reasons. Maybe they are most often jealous that I dare to live my dreams and hate me. Maybe they do not know what to say when I share that I am most of the time happy now. Maybe they are just busy and never read it. Maybe ... But you did. You read and wrote back and that is a huge thing for me. I think that must have been rooted in the childhood, where the good words where hard to get and you almost had to do or be in a certain way to get them. Your reply nailed it - as I could feel your heart behind your words. The word what talked to me the most was 'belong'. I am realizing now that this has been my main drive behind my adventures, my stories and explorations in the world, in myself and in my relationships. I am so happy to have found another place where I can safely share my shadow sides now in writing. Your post in IWG was talking to me a lot too. Last year 2015 was a huge shadow year to me - a broken heart several times, learning how to build my new life from 0 again and so many more. But instead of running away from my shadows as I so many times and years did, even escaping to the other continents - only finding out - oops, they follow me then this time I now stopped and stared at them. Not only, I also embraced them. I acknowledged their presence and awareness. I listened to their messages. But I started to tame them and show who is the boss in the temple of my body and the mind. It seems to work. Life is beautiful and even though we maybe would like to have only the white and light, there is that other side and I think you Joylene know quite a bit about it as do I. How to come out of that being broken and turn into a phoenix and turn things around! Thank you for who you be Joylene and your words! Happy New Year to you too!

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    1. Tänan teid teie lahke sõna, Crystal. Oled kena tüdruk. Sinu sõnad kolis mulle sügavalt. Võin ainult lisada, kui tänulik ma olen, et me oleme kohtunud.

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  34. Everyone has their downs. It's what makes us human. Thank you for sharing because it's true, sometimes, life is hard. But we need to keep telling ourselves everything will be okay.

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    1. Hi Loni! You're welcome. Thanks for visiting. Hope 2016 is the best year yet.

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  35. I think we all fake it until we make it, at some point in our lives. We put on our happy face to the world until we actually feel as happy as we look. Not easy. Here's to a happy, enjoyable 2016.

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    1. Thank you, Diane. Back at you. Happy New Year.

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  36. Dear Joylene....How wonderful to meet you via your visit to my blog. Thank you, also, for Following Writing Straight from the Heart. That made me very happy! You have a wonderful blog here and I look forward to checking in regularly. Sincerely, Susan

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    1. I enjoyed your post very much, Susan. Mucho gusto!

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  37. Hi Joylene,

    It's gone four in the morning, I'm exhausted and yet sleep evades me. Thus, I thought I'd attempt to comment on your post, my dear friend.

    Thank you for your candid honesty, which I do know many will relate to. I also know that the happy, kind, caring demeanour you share with the outside world, is very much part of your reality. Just as the lady who stares in the mirror and has doubts. We have exchanged some messages in the past and you have confided in me that clearly communicates that you share with me, as I share with you, that powerful gift of empathy.

    Bless you and now I return to that other world of mine where the silence is deafening and my other reality of a scared, lonely man kicks in. Yet, despite that, like you, I try to focus on the positive and try to live my life with realistic, positive anticipation that all will be okay. Yes, help each other, we help ourselves.

    In kindness,

    Gary

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  38. The look of the "inside and outside" of us - well, it really can be a contrast, can't it? I've had my challenges this year too, and still don't feel like it's all the way sorted out. But we are works in progress, trusting the One who made us to help us grow and fulfill our purpose along the way. Appreciate you sharing this, Joylene. You are a great blessing to me. :)

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  39. You wrote MY TRUTH. So beautifully, too. ((hugs))

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  40. Happy New Year, Joylene. Such wise and honest words. Thank you for sharing this with us. These things are not easy to admit, but something I believe most writers experience.

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    1. Thanks, Laura. I also want to say how much I enjoyed the list you have on your blog.

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  41. I know that feeling. The outside persona not mirroring the inner self. My writing is a joy and a release but I should start my day telling myself it will be okay more often. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us.

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    1. You're very welcome, Suzanne. Thanks for the visit.

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  42. Wow, it's like reading a page out of my own mind. Your advice at the end stuck with me. The idea of ideation of an idea and then letting it go. I like that idea immensely, and I think I'm going to use it. Thank you so much, and have a lovely, happy New Year!

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    1. I'm glad what I wrote resonated, Nicohle. More than I can say. Happy New Year to you, too.

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  43. You are a contradiction. Through reading your writing closely and all of the MANY, MANY interactions we've had over the years, I long ago got got a sense of your complexities, although I'm certain you're more complex than I realize, in ways I haven't imagined. Seems like you've found or created a mental attitude that provides a good balance, and I'm so happy about that. I admit I'm spouting off like I know you better than I probably do, but writing certainly seems to have been a major help to you. But you knew that. I'm always grateful for your friendship. But you knew that too. :)

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    1. Haha. Oh, Keith, you are a treasure. Of course, I knew that. And we've been friends for over 20 years, so you know me better than you think. You are a blessing and a huge contributor to who I am as a writer. Thanks for the comment. You are a dear friend.

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  44. Yes, we all get those days when we're not even sure we're making a difference, but on we go because 'it will be okay'.

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