Why This Fear Matters to Us (Even if We Think it Doesn’t)

Humans share a handful of fundamental fears. The psychology of fear is complex enough that searching the internet for “fundamental human fears” will provide a million websites by a hundred thousand experts sharing a thousand lists of the true absolute definitive fundamental human fears.

These, though, show up consistently, right after fear of death and dismemberment:

  • fear of rejection
  • fear of shame
  • fear of loss of control (sending our creative work out into the world to be eaten alive by critics, for instance)

You have these fears. No matter how well-adjusted you are, no matter your support network, self-esteem, accomplishments, social status, level of confidence, or anything else, you have these fears.

And just as you can’t choose not to feel the pain when you stub your toe or get punched in the head, you can’t simply choose not to feel the pain of rejection, shame, or loss of control.

Because they’re the same pain.

Let’s ask a UCLA professor of social psychology to weigh in, eh?

… more … “Why This Fear Matters to Us (Even if We Think it Doesn’t)”

Writing Creates Reality

Between our great idea, compelling and exciting, and writing it down, something happens.

Why there? Why aren’t we prevented from having the great idea in the first place?

Because thinking is imaginary.

Writing creates reality.

The reality, of course, of our own belief. Just as we see, hear, and feel with our brain, not our eyes, ears, or fingers, we don’t experience reality outside of ourselves, we experience inside our heads.

And our heads are very very good at knowing the difference between imaginary and real. Planning a crime we’ll never commit, in order to write a story, fires very different portions of our brain than, for instance, remembering the time we actually stole something from the five and dime.

An Experiment in Shame and Reality

… more … “Writing Creates Reality”

Faster Horses II

holy-grail-of-author-marketing(Faster Horses was the title of this month’s newsletter. This is more on the same subject.)

“If I’d asked my customers what they wanted, they’d have said ‘Faster horses.'” — Henry Ford (attributed)

When I asked authors what they wanted, the universal response was “Someone to do my marketing for me.”

I’ve been racking my brains pondering a technology automation tool I could create to give struggling authors an effective marketing service they could afford.

Because, y’know, that’s what authors said they wanted.

… more … “Faster Horses II”

Learn to Love Marketing, or Give Your Books Away (or Both)

left, right, or middle?Almost every author I talk to wishes someone else would sell their books for them. The few exceptions are those who, by nature or training, enjoy marketing their books. They’ve learned enough to have a plan and to execute it consistently, persistently.

Even my wife‘s clients, who pay her large sums for social media marketing for their books, engage fully in the process. Those who don’t quickly become frustrated because she isn’t selling their books well enough, not realizing that’s not how it works (despite having that clearly explained at the outset.)

Here’s the good news: if you hate marketing and you don’t want to sell your books, you don’t have to spend another second on marketing.

… more … “Learn to Love Marketing, or Give Your Books Away (or Both)”

Free: Here, There . . . Everywhere?

How much free is good for your marketing?

I’ve written bunches about using “free” as a marketing tool. Generosity is your greatest marketing tool. Don’t use it sparingly; spread it around like manure and watch things grow.

Generosity and free aren’t the same thing. Generous can include over-delivering on what you were paid to do. I’ve had generous helpings of fish at our favorite chippy in St. Paul. Paid for, but still generous. When you hire me to help with your writing and publishing, generosity will be ladled over you like gravy. Good white gravy like we make in Texas for your sausage and biscuits; that kind of generous.

mailboxes

My newsletter is also an act of generosity, one which also happens to be free. Membership, though, is stalled out at 140 of you good folks. When we hit that magic number, a couple people unsubscribe, and then someone else finds me and we roll back up to one Tweet’s worth.

One thing I realized is that the signup form simply offers “more information.” Not the most enticing offer, perhaps. I considered giving away something more; a whole book, maybe?

… more … “Free: Here, There . . . Everywhere?”

Macabre Dance with Your Unconscious

Have you ever done something, or thought something, you’re ashamed of?

Uncomfortable as it is, dredge up that memory. We’ll be using it for today’s exercise.

The purpose of our experiment is to demonstrate the effect on our conscious when we try to write something our unconscious doesn’t want written.

Find a place you feel safe. Sit by the fire, if you can, or if that’s not possible, have a shredder under your desk. You’ll want access to methods of rapid complete destruction.

Are you sitting uncomfortably? Good. Let’s begin.

this is where the wicked writing goes

… more … “Macabre Dance with Your Unconscious”

Guest Post at ‘Bane of Your Resistance’

I made a comment at Rosanne Bane’s blog about letting go of what others thought so I could create better art.

She asked if I’d write a post on the concept.

I did, and it’s live over at Bane of Your Resistance.

Where Art Comes From When You Don’t Know Where It Comes From

fear needles usSometimes art is ground out one step at a time. I’ve done that, and even produced things I’m proud of that way.

Sometimes, art spurts out like mustard from the sun-stricken picnic table. When this happens to me, it always produces something I love.

Once we have the basic skills, writing is a combination of persistence and getting out of your own way. More precisely, getting your conscious, the prefrontal cortex which usually drives the bus; er, your brain, out of the way of your unconscious, including the limbic system where your emotions live, the amygdala where your fears live, and other scary medical terms where other important truths hide out.

To be sure, it is the job of our conscious mind to navigate, to step in when unconsciousness won’t do.

For a writer, that stage is editing, not writing. … more … “Where Art Comes From When You Don’t Know Where It Comes From”

Truth or Consequences: It’s Not Just a Town in New Mexico Any More

New Mexico windowTraffic is down here at Someday Box. We aren’t surprised, Best Beloved and I. The reposts from Finding Why and Business Heretics. Excerpts. Links to hither and yon.

Being the needy angsty type, my first impulse is to ask how I can make you love me more. The Dylan poster on my wall says it doesn’t matter who loves you as long as you love you.

Most of you show up on Friday, after the newsletter goes out. The in-between posts get less love, maybe because they’re not fresh. Maybe because the titles aren’t compelling. Maybe because they’re about someone else instead of me, and you’re all slavering and lusting for more me, less them.

Maybe I should have my head examined.

Truth is, there are consequences to change.

… more … “Truth or Consequences: It’s Not Just a Town in New Mexico Any More”

Writing in Public: A Silkworm Instead of a Parachute

happy landings!A guitarist I once knew said he had a friend who wanted a band to play at his anniversary party.

I said “Take the gig, and we’ll put a band together.”

He blinked a couple times and said “I find your level of confidence disturbing.”

Since I grew up (at the age of 43) I’ve often leapt from airplanes with a silkworm instead of a parachute. It lends immediacy to the task.

I chickened out just a little and didn’t tell you about this until I was 11,000 words in, but I’m writing another light mystery, a 1,000-word chapter at a time, over on my personal blog. It’s called A Long Hard Look.

I have an idea where the story will go, just as when you leap from an airplane you’re fairly certain of your destination.

Getting there in one piece, though, is not a foregone conclusion.