Wednesday, May 25, 2011


Josin L. McQuein has an agent!!!! Check out her blog post to learn more about how it happened for her. 

Ok, now to the scheduled post.

First, a reminder that Unicorn Bell is up and running. Today Carol is talking about loglines, so check it out.

Second, how often do you think about your potential? I mean, really think about it. We have so much potential in so many different areas of our lives, that I'm willing to bet we miss a lot about ourselves.

For instance, last night my two daughters performed in a dance concert at their school. Dance is offered as an elective. One daughter chose this elective, the other was put there. Because of this and the fact that the one daughter grew really fast (she's 5'6" and not yet 14), I went into the school with a certain expectation of what I would see.

I was wrong.

So wrong that I was in tears.

Let me give some background. K (who wrote this guest post) is my oldest. She suffers from generalized anxiety, but social interactions give her an especially hard time. Over the last two years she has slowly closed herself off so as not to feel pain or disappointment, but this means she's not happy very often either. 
In fact, if you think of Violet from the Incredibles you will know exactly how my daughter functions in society. K doesn't wear black, but she never wears shorts, always wears a sweater (even in summer), and never pulls her hair back.

She performed in the first dance and did a good job. Some of the awkwardness was apparent but it was alright. She came out for the second dance and I was struck by how beautiful she is. She had pulled her hair back in a half ponytail, the rest hanging long down her back.

She walked with confidence to the center of the stage with her group.

And she lost herself in the music (embedding disabled) and the dance. It was AMAZING.

She looked like a dancer.

She was a dancer.

For that moment I could see the potential that has been buried beneath her anxiety and anger. I wept because as a mother you ache for your children to be happy and fulfilled in whatever they choose to do. K is at the jumping off point and I want her to see the beauty within herself. To have the confidence to follow her heart.

For that moment she opened herself up to feel something and I felt blessed to witness it.

As writers we do the same things. We let our anxiety or anger with how things work in this business hold us back. Maybe we try to fit ourselves into a mold we think the publishing world wants in order to reach our goals.

We need to stop. We need to listen to our hearts and let the stories flow from that place deep within us that we keep hidden out of fear.

Revision will still be necessary, but think of the lives we can touch when we are willing to bare our souls. I know I hold a lot back out of fear of being judged.

Do you hold back the best parts of yourself when you write?


  1. Oh my goodness! Thanks for letting me know Josin got an agent! I've seen her commenting over on Nathan B's site. That's so cool!

    Yeah, writers can't let our fears and anxiety get in the way of doesn't work that way. Like you said--baring our souls. Otherwise, you get plastic-feeling books, 2-dimensional, distant.

  2. Thanks for the shout-out, Charity!

    Sounds like K has a real gift, or at least a real connection, with music and movement. Hopefully her school will continue to encourage that connection. She's lucky; we didn't have any cool electives like that where I went to school.

  3. I have generalized anxiety as well and it can certainly get in the way. For a long time I loved to write, but was absolutely certain that my writing was nothing but crap and I could never be an author. Now thanks to the encouragement of my husband I actually believe in myself and I am making a serious effort to publish.

  4. What a wonderful experience for your daughter! I know that I worry a lot about putting my work out there for other people to read, critique, even (SCARY) not like. It takes a lot of courage and faith to share something personal and trust that it will be okay.

  5. That is so awesome! Hope she heard that from you a million times. And if I'm holding back the best part when I write, I have no idea what that is.

  6. How cool for K. There is something about finding oneself through arts. Performance is especially hard. But it'll help her in the long run.

  7. Thanks everyone! Sorry if this will be a quick and sort of impersonal reply. Life is so busy at the end of the school year!

    Anyway, I'm hoping K will guest post again in the next week or two. She is reading my copy of Possession and will do her own book review of it.

    She really is amazing when she lets herself be. But then again, all my kids are super because I'm so fantastic myself. :)

    BTW, I'm only fantastic because of all the things I've learned from you guys. And the ego stroking I get from your comments.

    Good stuff in, good stuff out...

  8. Oh my...thanks for sharing this. It is why the arts are so important for our kids. Academics, sure, but the arts can open up so much more.

  9. E I know! They cut orchestra at the end of her first year and drama the second year. I'm glad she's headed to high school next year and will be able to take those again if she wants.

    Did they all forget about those studies that proved music and other artistic activities helped develop the brain?

  10. What a beautiful, yet heartbreaking story. I've suffered anxiety and panic attacks in the past so really feel for K. I hope she is able to push through her anxiety to realise her potential.

    I don't know if she'd be interested, but if she'd like to speak with someone (via email or chat) who's been through what she's going through and come out the other side, I'd be more than happy to speak with her...


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