Then I promptly closed my email, blogger, social media websites, and I left the house. I couldn't take the waiting while I knew others were reading my work. I wanted to know what people thought, but couldn't handle staring at the screen in silence. The waiting period is an aspect author C. Hope Clark just recently blogged about, and I couldn't agree with her more.
Yes, it can be terrifying to share something so close to your heart, whether it's the project you've been working on, a piece of artwork, a fashion design, a novel, even a new recipe. Yet, you can't let that fearful moment between, "here, I made this," and "what do you think?" stop you from creating or sharing.
That's why it's so important to be brave enough to put yourself out there.
A few weeks ago I wrote about Items of Importance in books and movies, and how much I love them. I also mentioned that I'll be sharing my own Items with you as I write and edit my novel, Burning Spirit. My hope is they are intriguing enough that you get a feel for the book through these items before you have the chance to read the story. Well, today I'm happy to share with you the first Item of Importance from Burning Spirit, and that item is a key.
Elsbeth, the main character, first receives this key when she goes to an inn. While it seems simple enough--insert in lock, turn--the key represents something more, something Elsbeth herself isn't aware of.
Elsbeth lives a life of secrets as she searches for other witches, but the person who gives her this key knows all too well who, and what, she is. What other doors could this key open beyond Room 9?
But what does that even mean?
Knowing your voice is knowing truly who you are, how you express yourself that sets you apart from others, and finding the part of you that consistently delivers what you want to give to others without becoming generic or routine.
Knowing your voice takes time. You must grow into yourself, dig your roots down (not out to others), and find out who you are. For some this happens at 20, others need to hit their 70s for it to click, but whether you know your voice or not, know that it is already within you.
Rita Dove has a poem titled Ars Poetica, which speaks of a man who "entered each day with an ax." That's my way of knowing your voice. To enter each day with the same powerful tool, whether it be an ax, an ear, a shoulder, a pen, ambition, vibrancy, etc. But knowing your "voice" isn't something exclusive to writers. Everyone should, at some point in their lives, come to know their voice and hear how it sounds unlike any other.
If there's anyone I can literally cry to, it's my sister. She's heard every trouble and walked me through every emotional nightmare I've been through from teenage drama to life and death moments. There's no doubt she's the strongest rock on the dark, craggy cliffs of my life.While I work as a freelance writer, and have since 2009, the fluctuating wages of the last year have been less than stellar in this economy. The idea that I might need a 9-to-5 kind of job has turned into a glaring truckstop sign on the road ahead. Yes, I have come to the crossroads between the desire to work from home versus making money by clocking in.
If you're like me then there have been jobs on your resume which you loved, some that you absolutely excelled at, and those that you just knew had all the wrong edges to be the missing puzzle piece in your life. I've always called the latter type of job "selling your soul at an hourly rate." Sure you need the money, but man does that job strip away any ounce of will-to-live you might have.
So in light of my dwindling financial situation, I did what adults do when faced with tough choices and life decisions who really just need to get a good night's rest and write up an action plan: I called and cried to my sister.