WANA: We may not have it all together, but together we have it all.
It’s Life List Club Friday again, and today it’s my pleasure to host the fabulous Jenny Hansen. Jenny’s one of the best bloggers I know, and if you don’t know her, you need to meet her. Her Saturday series on problem pregnancies is especially great. After you read Jenny’s piece here, scoot over to Gary Gauthier’s blog to read my post on buying a new computer. Then browse some of the other Life List Club members’ blogs. We’ll just make a party of it.
Without further ado, here’s Jenny:
Do You Have A Personal Mantra?
One of the biggies has been Life Lists, which ties in well with what the seven of us do every other Friday when we blog-hop. We celebrate life and any accomplishments we’ve made, we discuss our goals and how we get motivation to complete them. If you’d like to find out more about The Life List Club, click here.
What is a mantra?
My favorite definition is:
A group of words that is considered capable of “creating transformation.”
That definition lights my hair on fire, in a good way.
A close friend of mine helped me make my personal writing mantra. I’m pretty sure he had no idea at the time that he was doing it, but the story goes something like this:
About a year ago, I made dinner for some family friends of ours. The husband in this clan is an extremely successful musician.
It hit me, before he came over, that I know a great man, who is very successful at his CREATIVE career, and not once have I asked him about his creative process. Here I spend all this time on writing craft and process… Why have I never asked my friend about his creativity?
I can only say that it falls along the lines of not wanting to act like a groupie with him when he’s off stage. I like to think that when all of US are successful New York Times Bestselling authors that our friends will give us a break when we go to dinner at their house.
Rather than pepper us with all the “writer groupie” questions like – Where do you get your ideas? How is the book going? Blah-blah-blah – I’d like to think my friends will just tell me about their insane mothers, or provide advice on how to fix my complete lack of fashion sense.
(In other words, the things we talk about NOW.)
Still, that particular day had been full of creative a$$ kicking with my own manuscript and I’d been the loser in that contest. My enquiring mind wanted to know how my friend did it, year after year and album after album.
He smiled at me, a really benevolent cozy smile that made me feel better about bringing work to his Saturday night of fun.
And then he said, “I don’t really know.”
My response was, “WHAT? That’s it? Come on! I thought this music business was different than being a writer. That’s what all my writer pals would say.”
He looked at his wife, who is a major force in his success, and said, “Well SHE books the studio each year and tells me about three weeks beforehand that I need to write fifteen songs.”
She and I exchanged an eye-roll and I said, “There’s got to be more to it than that.”
His response: “Jen, every year when it’s time to record a new album, I feel like I’ve done it already and those are all the songs I have to write.” He paused a moment and added, “Then I’ll hear my mother’s voice in my head, like she’s right there talking to me”:
“Walter, you said you wanted to be a musician; it was what you trained for and practiced at. It was the only thing you EVER wanted. So, get off your a$$ and write some music, and quit crying about it.”
And he does, every single year. He goes to the place in his mind where his music lives and hangs out there, scribbling, until the music comes.
Ever since this conversation, he’s been one of my creative inspirations: He trusts in his creative process and has the discipline to sit down and kick himself in the keister, now that his mother isn’t there to do it.
His answer challenged me to create a writer’s version of that “Memo from Mom” above my computer screen, to assist me on those really crappy days. I’m gonna share it with you:
You want to be a writer. It’s all you’ve EVER wanted to be.
It’s what you spend all this time and money on, training and practicing your craft.
Get off your a$$ and write your page and QUIT CRYING ABOUT IT.
It’s working for me so far.
What about you? What helps you bolster your creativity? What helps you finish a page that’s going badly? Do YOU ever feel like you just can’t write another word? What has helped you bust through this fear and get to the other side?
About Jenny Hansen
Jenny fills her nights with humor: writing memoir, women’s fiction, chick lit, short stories (and chasing after her toddler Baby Girl). By day, she provides training and social media marketing for an accounting firm. After 15 years as a corporate software trainer, she’s digging this sit down and write thing.
When she’s not at her blog, More Cowbell, Jenny can be found on Twitter at jhansenwrites or at her group blog, Writers In The Storm. Every Saturday, she writes the Risky Baby Business posts at More Cowbell, a series that focuses on babies, new parents and high-risk pregnancy.