Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Are You Brave?

If someone asked you the question, "Are you brave?"  what would your answer be?

I used to think I wasn't brave.  I'm not the type to sign up for bungee-jumping off large cliffs or skydiving out of  airplanes, but bravery doesn't always consist of endeavors that push my physical limits.  Being brave sometimes involves the mental challenge of just getting out of my comfort zone.  Christina Katz, author of Writer Mama and the popular ezine, The Prosperous Writer, writes in her ezine about the 52 Qualities of Prosperous Writers.  Number 15 just happened to be bravery.

After reading Christina's take on bravery, I reminded myself that I am brave. Crossing a huge threshold of comfort to start and continue this blog requires courage.  Submitting essays to local, regional and national publications requires guts. My fear of rejection and ridicule is paralyzing but I continue anyway.  Why?  Because every other writer I know has the same paralyzing fears.

Christina says, "You have to be brave in your writing to say what you mean, not what you think others want to hear" and "It takes some serious chutzpah to present your work to industry gatekeepers like agents and editors."  If a successful author like Christina says it takes bravery and chutzpah, well, then, I guess my timidity has merit.  I also hear from every writer I follow that at one time or another (or even continually for some) they felt fear.  I can't read a book or a blog by a respected writer without discovering how they pushed through that fear.  When I realized that I didn't corner the market on "anxious new writer," I started writing.

I am still nervous when I hit the submit button.  What if the editor didn't get my analogy?  What if she thinks I'm too vain?  Did I follow a narrative arc or add enough dialogue?  The questions go on and on and on.  But, whenever a question about my ability pops into my head I recall past accomplishments in which I was called upon to be brave.  I remind myself that I have already tackled fear.  And won.  Like the time I backpacked through Europe by myself.  Or, the time I interviewed for a new job and negotiated a salary almost three times what I was currently making.  Or, becoming a mother.  If being a mother doesn't require bravery, what does?

So, I keep writing and I keep submitting. The only way to become a published writer is to write.  The only way to get better is to keep practicing.  The only way to combat fear is to read ezines, like Christina's, to learn about the industry and other writers' experiences.  To belong to writers' forums to develop a camaraderie and gain insight from like-minded people.  I learn.  And I learn some more.  And with each learning process the fear becomes less like Mt. Everest and more like a sand dune.  It still exists, but it's slightly more manageable.

If you think you aren't brave, think again.

9 comments:

Mommy on the Spot said...

You are awesome!

I totally get this. It all takes guts to be yourself in whatever forum.

Laura Renegar said...

Nice post. Being brave isn't about being without fear, it's about continuing the adventure even when things get scary.

Patti said...

I had no idea you were a writer/or working hard at being a writer!

My sister in law could have written this blog. In fact, she has similar blogs she has written..... She's had poems published and is currently working on a book...hoping and praying to one day be a publisher writer. What are your writing goals?

Kim Murray said...

Mommy-on-the-spot: we writers need to stick together to give each other support!

Kim Murray said...

Laura,

Thanks for stopping by!

Kim Murray said...

Patti,

Can you link me to your SIL's blog? I would love to read some of her stuff. I am just dabbling here and there right now, but would love to get my name in some local or regional magazines. Not sure what to focus on yet as my time is limited! When Christopher is in school full-time I can do a lot more.

Mommy on the Spot said...

We sure do need to stick together!

I learned about your blog through a mutual friend so I think you might live in my area. I am checking out some writers clubs. Maybe you would be interested, too. If so, email me:

spotonmommy@yahoo.com

Patti said...

http://cecinestpasunecuisine.blogspot.com/

I just realized you asked for her blog info ....I dont get a notification of any sort when you reply to my post, wish I did.

Her name is Jeannette Cook
She grew up in MI but moved to Brussels in 1997 and loves it there.

Kim Murray said...

Hi Patti, thanks for the link!

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