Monday, February 27, 2012

Is My Freak Flag Big Enough?

My head is groggy and I want to return back to the cozy comfort of bed.  No, it's not morning.  I fell asleep on my bed with my youngest, who didn't want to go to sleep. Sometimes if we lay on "my" bed, he'll crash out.  I'm happy to say it worked, but unfortunately, not just for him!

Before we both fell asleep, I mulled over what to write for this blog post, and the only thing I could think of was the title, "Is My Freak Flag Big Enough."

First of all, I don't want anyone to be offended by my use of the word "freak."  My definition of "freak" is a person who has qualities of all the quirky, creative, intelligent individuals of the world and is confident of who they are.  It is a very loving term of endearment.

Here is a lip-dub by Cosplay Fever of Pink's Raise Your Glass.  When I watch this video, I am proud to let my freak-flag fly.  There are some swear words, by the way.  The radio version of the song has those bleeped out.




Some day I might dissect exactly what it is about the video and song that I like so much, but right now I'm satisfied with knowing it makes me happy inside!

Anyway, one unintended consequence of all the blog hops I've been involved in, as well as the Fourth Campaign, is that I'm finding a ton of creative people.  Super creative people who make me wonder about my own creative talents.

I know, I know.  Self-doubt. Don't listen to it.

It isn't that I'm entertaining the possibility that I have no creativity.  It's that I wonder if I have enough.  There are so many talented people out there.  So very many...

Photo by Tom Curtis/Free Digital Photos.net
I wouldn't be writing a post about this if I didn't think that other people maybe feel this way, too.  I think we all have times where we realize exactly what kind of a task we have set up for ourselves.  It's kind of like Christopher Columbus getting halfway across the ocean and thinking "Uh-oh.  What did I get us in to?"

What do we do when those types of thoughts come knocking on the door of our minds (and self-esteems), and we're far enough out into the ocean that we can't (or don't want to) turn back?

I can tell you what we don't want to do.  We don't want to open the door and invite the thought in for dinner.  It'll have a nice evening with you, and then, when you ask it to leave, it'll pop it's shoes off, and stick it's stinky feet on your nice leather ottoman.

No.  We have to meet the thought at the door, and tell it that it has to go elsewhere.  Don't let it get a hold of you.  Acknowledge that it is a concern, then let it go and return to whatever it was you were doing. 

It gets easier the more you practice it.  Trust me, I know.

Those self-doubts stem from competition.  We can only label ourselves when we judge ourselves according to other's achievements or abilities.  There's enough people out in the writing world that, quite honestly, have to judge us.  Yes, we need to always be aware of how we are growing and progressing, but we don't need to always hold ourselves up against every other writer out there.  It isn't helpful.

We're all in this writing boat together.  If we support each other, we can all fly our freak flags together.

How do you handle those moments when negative thoughts come knocking?





27 comments:

  1. This has been happening to me lately, Lara, and I'm not even flying my freak flag by blogging, like you (so, good on you). When I was designing my website I started looking at the websites of other fantasy authors. A lot of them. Dread came slinking into my gut. They all have wonderful books, and I hadn't heard of most of them. And theirs are published!

    Then I got a recommendation to read Martha Wells The Cloud Roads. I downloaded, read, loved. I went to her website after reading to discover hers was one of those I'd looked at, one of those that had gotten the envy brewing. Her fantasy is great but utterly different than mine. It made me feel good, you know? That there was definitely room for two such different kind of books (hers and mine), and that we would have two audiences (that may have some overlap), that we were on this journey together, flyin' our own freak flags. Not just Martha and I (although I already like her, and got her to join WU), but all of those authors and my future published self.

    Sorry for the long comment, but wanted to share. Yes, whatever the size and color, our freak flags are distinct!

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    1. Thanks very much for the long comment. :) It is an excellent point that there is a lot of room for all different kinds of writers. I think that is one reason why we really can't compare our own sucesses and qualities against each other. At least, we can't if we want to stay calm and focused on the way ahead. My pathway is not your pathway, and your pathway is not the same as another writers. Thanks again for sharing.

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    2. I just wanted to add that sometimes, in moments of weakness, I do forget EVERYTHING I ever learned as good advice, by the way. It's nice to have wise people like you around to remind me. :)

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  2. Hey,

    When self-doubt comes a-knocking, I look to my comments and email for positive reinforcement.

    For example, today I got this from a great writer I've come to know here in the community. Her name is Lara (she has a funny last name I can never spell,) but boy, does she got some kick-butt talent.

    This is what she said, in part: "... Those near-wins sometimes are every bit as important as actually making it. You know you're on the right road. :)

    Her words were a real pick-me-up and totally made me day :)

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    1. Geez, Mark. You made me cry! Not tears rolling down cheeks cry, but tears in the eyes, face squinched up kind of cry. I guess I really needed to hear that kindness of yours. You totally made my day, too. :)

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  3. No offense of "freak" here, as I wear the term proudly. Way to tell those thoughts who the real boss is. :)

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    1. I wish those nasty thoughts would take a hike. ;)

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  4. My freak flag is so huge that it is just a normal thing to me. I work for a circus company so I am very in touch with my freak flag (It is actually much of a creative job than people would think!) Whenever I get worried or have self-doubts, I step back for a second and say to myself, "El, you have the choice for things to be normal and easy, but what kind of a life and stories could you come up with then? And would you be happy?" That usually snaps me right out of it. Just remembering creativity is a choice.

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    1. You are so right, it is a choice. Some things we don't have control over, but we always have control over how we react to them. (Unless, of course, there is some sort of organic brain disorder going on, but I digress.) I do believe that, generally, it's all about choices.

      I think working for a circus company would be so cool!

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  5. Self-doubt better not stick its stinky feet on my leather ottoman! I do get those thoughts sometimes. I think mostly I just whine to my friends and family for a while until I get past it. :)

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    1. I love family and friends for that. They are so nice to let us be whiny, aren't they? :)

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  6. I love that song. LOVE IT! It's just fun and has a great rhythm to it. Also love your thoughts on how to get rid of those negative thoughts and feelings we might run into. We've got to make those buggers leave and not give them the time of day! Great stuff Lara. And I'm jealous you got a nap! Lucky!

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    1. My kids make me play the video every once in a while, and made me download the song onto my i-pod Nano. It is always fun to listen to and sing along with! I'd be so much more happy with the nap if it occurred in the afternoon, but it's a short rest right before bed, and then I can't sleep! I need to just get up and go write at those times, but my head feels like it's still half-asleep!

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  7. I love Pink and every song she ever comes out with! Negative thoughts roost around me like vultures every day. "I'm not good enough, I'm not popular enough, somebody's out to hold me back..." You name it. I try to mentally go to my quiet place and toss all the baggage aside, but it's difficult. As much as I love Facebook and social networking sites, I feel sometimes it's just another place to get 'dissed. Wow, I don't sound negative, do I??? Anyway, spending time with friends and family helps me, playing with my little doggie, reading quietly and other personal pursuits helps drain the negative from my soul. I get recharged, then head back into the fray and hope for the best.

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    1. Do you remember I call myself a "facebook failure"? It is easy to feel bad on social media, but I've decided to just keep plugging away, and (hopefully) sooner or later it will pay off. If nothing else, of the people I have met by social media, they've been wonderful, quality people!

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  8. Yes, we all have moments of self-doubt an unfortunately, it's kept more than one good woman and/or man down. I heard a national author say he's once met the greatest illustrator in the world and yet this man was working in a sewage plant in Utah and would probably never be known as such - why? Because he didn't believe in himself. So, whenever I feel like I'm not as good as another, I say to myself, "It doesn't matter if I am or not, all that matters is that I strive to be the best I can be and let the rest "fall into place." I'd rather have tried ~ than not tried at all." (Notice I left the ...and failed part out - because how do you really know if you've failed, especially if your words have helped at least one person?
    So, I'm in your campaign group and I've tagged you on my blog! Stop by and visit and grab the questions I have for you! http://theresasmallsneed.blogspot.com ~Theresa Sneed, author of No Angel and its forthcoming prequel, From Heaven to Earth

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    1. I agree wholeheartedly with the statement "It doesn't matter if I am or not, all that matters is that I strive to be the best I can be." That really is all we have control over. The rest we just have to hope works out the way we want it to. Which can be an uncomfortable thought, but at least if something does happen, we're ready for it!

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  9. Thank you! I will let my freak flag fly next to yours and say no to the lingering guest of self doubt :) It's hard to do, but with all the support here, I will be better at it!

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    1. Yay! I have freaky company! ;) I think there are some great, supportive people on the internet,(including you!) and I am very lucky to have found you all. :)

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  10. I have a hard time banishing my doubt demons when the positive feedback I get is only from family and friends. It's hard to take their compliments seriously without the nasty "They have to say that because they love me" thoughts creeping in. I've recently started taking a writing class that focuses on creativity and sharing. It's helped to have people who don't know me from Eve comment on my writing. I can so relate to everything you have shared here!

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    1. Have you been in my house? Just wondering, because I will have those same thoughts. I try to remind myself, too, that just because they love me doesn't mean they don't know if they enjoy what they read. But it is nice to have outside feedback to complement the loving comments!

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  11. Welcome, Theresa and Mandy, and thank you so much for pushing the blog followers count to 100! Yay! Double-Yay! :)

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  12. Hey Lara,

    Whoot! Whoot! (Leigh... you are in trouble:) Well done, Lara for making 100 Followers :)

    Yahhy you, and thanks for signing up for the Got Green Blog hop, too:)

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    1. Thanks Mark! I'm contemplating what to do as a celebration on Friday. And - I'm so excited for the Blog O'Hop!

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  13. I don't answer the door when negative thoughts come knocking. They are a waste of precious positive time. It took me many, many years to be able to say this. Great post, Lara. Raise that freak flag!

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  14. It can be a tiresome lesson to learn. Thanks, Marcia!

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  15. When the negative thoughts try to crowd in, I just remind myself that lots of people with no talent have done well, so surely I've got a better chance than them? :P I know it doesn't always work that way, but ssshhh let's not dwell on that okay? :)

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