Tuesday, August 10, 2010

8 Second Ride

I've lived in South Dakota for about a year, so you'd think I'd be used to the 'country' way of life by now. Short answer: not so much.

Tornadoes and farm equipment aside, I've seen and heard things that make this city girl scratch her head and back away...slowly. Very slowly.

But there was something I saw on Sunday that had me begging for more. *heh* COWBOYS! I went to my first rodeo, and suddenly I saw the light. Now I can see why the country life is so appealing.

I did sit and question why a sane man would sit his cute ass on a bull, shoot from a cage and risk his life while holding on for dear life to a pissed off bull. The odds of getting hurt were pretty damned high. Out of 10 or so bull riders, more than half limped out of the arena. One broke his hand after the bull stomped on it. Can you say ouch?

Watching these bull riders made me wonder why some individuals find it necessary to push themselves to the limit. They KNOW they're going to get hurt. You don't sit on a bull for a living and think to yourself, "This is a piece of cake. Good paycheck and great benefits." No. I bet they pray. "Please God, let the boys be okay after this ride. And I'm not talking about the men sitting on the fence at my back." Yeah, I bet it goes something like that.

The crowd went wild when the men lasted their 8 seconds, and gasped when they got thrown from the bull - which happened more often than not. I was sitting in the front row when I took that last picture. Poor cowboy. Made me think of romance writers. (Everything comes back to romance eventually. lol)

Just like the cowboys I watched in fascination, veteran authors cringe when their buddies get rejections. We watch in awe when a newbie comes out of the gate and lands a three book contract with a large publishing house. We help our friends dust themselves off when they get a bad crit.

After sitting there thinking for a while, I finally realized why these cowboys risk their life to get on that bull. They love it. I think they're a particular brand of crazy, but I also admire them for their strength and determination.

When I first started writing I didn't let rejection get me down. I framed the rejections I received and put them up on my office walls. Just like that bull rider in the pictures above, I got on the bull, held on, got tossed on my ass, and got back up. Rejection and defeat is all part of the process. (wow, can you tell I'm waiting to hear back on a submission?)

At any rate, I had a great time at the rodeo. I still think the men are nuts, but you can't hold that against a man in wranglers. No ma'am.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Frustrated Writer

Have you ever typed 'frustrated writer' in Google and then clicked on images? I shouldn't have felt such a rush of understanding when I gazed at all the pictures that sprung up, but the images made me feel better all the same. Been there. Done that. Living it.

A few days ago I fried my laptop. I shut it, thinking it was on sleep mode, and left it sitting on my leather couch. Yeah, can you say NIGHTMARE? Long story short, I was able to retrieve my files from the hard drive by buying some swank piece of hardware from Office Max. Thank you sweet baby Jesus. Anyway, I'm about to tackle those edits that I nearly lost, and you'd think I'd be on cloud nine. Hmm, not so much.

So I decided to blog about my lack of motivation and what I plan on doing to get it back. If there's something my friends know about me, they know I'll bring my A-game at some point. I'm stubborn and driven...on most days.

So I busted out The Art of War For Writers, an awesome book by James Scott Bell, a writer I had the pleasure of meeting at the Romantic Times Convention this year. Instead of focusing on what I was reading, I thought about a story he told at his workshop. A writer was once posed a question - what would he do if he had only 24 hours to live? His answer: type faster.

Now I know I wasn't the only writer in that room squirming in their seat. In fact, I'd bet money on it. Translation - that so wouldn't have been my answer. And my point for bring up that little story? Writers need to let go of the guilt.

The Art of War For Writers is the book to get you back on your feet. Sure, some writers don't need motivational quotes, but some of us LIVE on motivational quotes. I even have them on my website. This little book takes it a step farther and gives you strategies, tactics and exercises to get those creative juices flowing. Jeez, I'm starting to sound like a bad commercial.

I think we all go through growing pains when we climb that ladder of success. Doesn't matter the job. What matters is what you do about it. Don't let doubts suck you in and get the best of you. Finish what you started.

I didn't go to RWA Nationals this year, but I heard about a speech Nora Roberts gave from a few friends of mine. She said (and I'm quoting this from others), "Embrace the HARD."

Perfect. That sums up everything. Writing isn't easy. Just quit your bitching and get the words on the page. Edit. Put on your big girl panties and get 'er done. Yup, those are some pretty strong words from a frustrated writer, but you know what? I feel better already.