Thought for the Month: Elements of Surprise in the Life of a Writer

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SURPRISE!

I’m one of those people who doesn’t like surprises — even good ones. However, as with other facts of life, surprises are inescapable; and the majority of them, at least in my experience, are welcome. It’s the fear of the unexpected that repels those of us who ascribe to the myth that we have control over what happens in our lives. We enjoy inflicting the element of surprise on our loved ones (who may not necessarily appreciate them), and we enjoy seeing those surprise wedding proposals on the KissCam at sporting events, but surprises are for other people, primarily those outside our private bubble.

When I saw this month’s optional question, “Have you ever surprised yourself with your writing?” the answer was easy. Every. Single. Day. As a debut author, whose only previous works have been unpublished attempts at fan fiction, the inspiration for my first “serious” work might have been the biggest surprise of all.

After dabbling in a disastrous attempt to co-write an erotic suspense novel with another indie author, I thought I might close up my laptop for good. I’d been burned–badly–by someone I trusted like a sister. My contributions were torn apart and ultimately deemed unworthy by my co-author, and I believed her. I felt like a failure, a fraud, and a fool. The betrayal was the worst kind of surprise–the kind that makes you question your self-worth, or worse, abandon your dreams.

I loved that story–and its principal character–so much, letting it go was like burying a loved one. Later, seeing it retitled and published by my former friend added salt to the wound that burned from the inside out. Then came the second surprise.

As I drifted off to sleep one night, a long-buried incident from my past turned into the story that only I can tell, and Where Angels Sleep began to unfold, like buds on a grapevine after the cruelest of winters. At that moment, as I frantically captured thoughts on paper, the characters came alive and guided my pen. The bitterness of previous experience faded and the surprise of self-discovery took hold.

Every time I’m tempted to give up–when I get blocked, the middle gets muddy, or yesterday’s prose reads like utter crap–I remind myself that this story is mine alone to tell. That the tragedy that inspired it infuses every paragraph, but its happy ending is mine to imagine. I remember the young man–my beloved cousin Paul–to whom the book is dedicated, and I resolve to finish it as a personal tribute to his memory. To devote the time, effort and money it takes to make it the best it can be. To publish it and to love it, even if it never hits a list.

As it turns out, the book’s theme has everything to do with what happens when life spins out of control, and how the right surprise, at the right time, can change our destiny. For a woman who’s not fond of surprises, this amuses me to no end.

Today I took a long walk to consider what to write for this month’s Insecure Writer’s Support Group (IWSG) post. (BTW, It should come as NO surprise to those who know me that I’m an insecure writer!) As I walked, enjoying the first cool, sunny day in weeks, a song from the Where Angels Sleep playlist came to mind. It deals with the memories–and associated feelings–that we bury “down deep in our souls.” To me, this speaks to the essence of authentic writing–the surprise of what emerges when we take ourselves to new depths and explore that which we most fear.

Please listen and enjoy. Think about what unique life experiences have led you to tell your stories. Leave a comment about them, if you please. Then go forth and write your next story.

About the IWSG

Purpose of IWSG: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

Posting:  The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer – aim for a dozen new people each time – and return comments. This group is all about connecting! Be sure to link to this page and display the badge in your post.

Let’s rock the neurotic writing world!

Our Twitter handle is @TheIWSG and hashtag is #IWSG

Every month, we announce a question that members can answer in their IWSG post. These questions may prompt you to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story. Include your answer to the question in your IWSG post or let it inspire your post if you are struggling with something to say.

Check out the details and sign up on the IWSG website!

The awesome co-hosts for today’s posts are Tyrean MartinsonTara TylerRaimey Gallant, and Beverly Stowe McClure.

This Beautiful Escape: Writings of Hope for Ataxia Awareness Canada

This Beautiful Escape
Ataxia Awareness Fundraiser Anthology
Release: 11/24/2015
This Beautiful Escape, Parts 1 & 2, is a multi-author compilation of inspirational thoughts and words of hope from some of your favorite authors, who have joined forces to raise awareness of and funds to support Ataxia Awareness Canada.



This Beautiful Escape

Volume One


By: Melissa Ann, Monica May, David S. Scott, Ethan Radcliff, Chelle Bliss, A.M. Wilson, Lora Ann, Airicka Phoenix, Audrina Lane, Bernard Young, Cleo Scornavacca, Heather Dahlgren, J.D. Stockholm, J.P. Barry, K.D. Grace, Kim Black, Linda Hamonou, Muffy Wilson, Naomi Shaw, S.L. Bull, Siren X. Star, Teesa Mee, Pablo Michaels, Komal Chandwani, K.L. Shandwick, Elizabeth Butts, Ella Medler, C.A. Bell, Cathy Schisel Knuth, A.T. King


Contributors: Bella Jeanisse, JD Hawkins, JW Snootz, Jenna Galicki


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Synopsis:

18+
Open this book each day for an inspirational message written by some of your favourite authors.
This Anthology is special because each author that contributed has shared a piece of their heart with each and every reader.
This book is about spreading love and hope through the written word.
All proceeds will be donated to Ataxia Canada.
Available in ebook and paperback Nov. 24/2015


Buy Links:
This Beautiful Escape Volume One $2.99 USD
PAPERBACK CS: http://bit.ly/1YkNp7H 
PAPERBACK AMAZON: http://amzn.to/1XeVB76
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This Beautiful Escape

Volume Two


By: Melissa Ann, David S. Scott, Scott Hildreth, Ethan Radcliff, C.C. Genovese, Jacqueline George, Addison Kline, Chris Kalyta, Denice Garrou, D.J. Prewer, Kora Knight, Sam J.D. Hunt, Mason Sabre, A.T. King, Aimee Shaye, Alexa Keith, J. Nichole Parkins, Krihstin Zink, Kain B. Fairbrooks, Linn B. Halton, Layla Stevens, D.S. Cuellar, Maggie Adams, L. Marshall James, Dr. Julia E. Antoine, Cecile Hoare, Aral Bereux, Teesa Mee

 

Contributors: Darkmantle Designs, Elise Faber, K.C. Rice, Kimberly Hart, Muffy Wilson


This Beautiful Escape 2.jpg
Synopsis:
18+

 

Open this book each day for an inspirational message written by some of your favourite authors.
This Anthology is special because each author that contributed has shared a piece of their heart with each and every reader.
This book is about spreading love and hope through the written word.

 

All proceeds will be donated to Ataxia Canada.
Available in ebook and paperback Nov 24/2015


Buy Links:


This Beautiful Escape Volume Two $2.99 USD
PAPERBACK CS: http://bit.ly/1l9HvYB
PAPERBACK AMAZON: http://amzn.to/1MZknCv


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Ataxia Awareness Fundraiser Links:


Event:


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If you would like to learn more about Ataxia and what Ataxia Canada does click the following link: