Insecure

Man, what does that title mean? Am I gonna lay down my deepest, darkest fears? Burden you with my low self-esteem issues? Ummm, no thanks.

What I am working through, though, is something I feel very insecure about. My writing.

Say what now?

I received this stamp a few months ago (cool, right?!),

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yet, I remain among those grappling for confidence.  And you know what? I’m not sure I’ll ever get there.

It’s not that I don’t think I’m a good writer. I do. I am. I know this. I’m good at it. So what’s the problem? What is insecure anyway?

According to Merriam-Webster, it means: not confident or sure : uncertain. feeling somewhat insecure of his reception.

Yep, that pretty much sums up how I feel. My book is on the CUSP of going out into the world. At this point I am moving commas around. Time to get it out there. But I pause, my finger trembling over that send button.

Ugh.

Am I ready for rejection? Cuz it will come. Of course it will come, and probably first. Every manuscript gets rejected numerous times before (or IF) it gets accepted.

Can I handle this? Or is it better just to stay safe and stick my little story in a drawer, start on something new, and just chill, knowing that I wrote a novel.

I did it.

But that’s not the point, is it?

I didn’t write a book for myself. I had something to say. I wanted to get it out there – I just didn’t realize how hard it would be.

Can you relate? Is there something in your life you’ve been putting off, even though the timing is right? Is it because you’re afraid of how you’ll be received? Because that’s all that insecurity is.

FEAR.

Let’s all agree that we don’t want to live in fear. Because that sucks.

Let’s all agree to walk in faith.

Let’s all agree that insecurity has no place in something that we KNOW we were MEANT to do.

Now, grab a coffee, and have a great day. If you need me, you can find me giving a pep talk to myself while I get the nerve up to press SEND.

My goal is May 31. I’ll keep you posted!

The Hum

There is a trend happening. Social media is being used as a conduit for social justice. A click of the fingertip can bring positive change, but it can also destroy a life. Such intoxicating power. It concerns me. Does it concern you? Power and influence should be more than just a tweet or post away.

We’ve all been guilty of swallowing what we should have questioned.

The Hum

I destroyed them. It was easier – much easier – than I thought. It’s so easy to destroy now. You wouldn’t even believe it if you knew. How easy it is. To kill. 

I suppose it happened rather inconsequentially. I raised my voice to right a wrong – a grave wrong. It was good and noble for me to stand up, and those around reacted – like minded – but without a voice.

I gave them mine.

They came like bees, pouring out of crevices, swarming toward me. So many. So many that I almost didn’t know what to make of it. They were looking to me. But I was young! They didn’t care. They were young too.

“Lead us!” they cried.

I shrugged, and said, “Follow me,” not really thinking about it.

I knew, as the buzzing cloud covered me, that they offered me a purpose. A reason to be. And there was pride too. I can’t forget the pride. Plenty of it. It dripped off me like honey, but the bees told me it was good. All my decisions were good. The taste of it was so thick on my tongue that it was hard to talk. Yet they still listened. Cheered. Hummed so loud our thoughts became one – one voice so incredible that everyone else had to stop talking. Stop thinking. We took over. It was grand.

They needed me. You know that. I was necessary. A voice that all needed to hear. And they heard. I had a message. Before the humming took over, do you remember what I said then?

Pity. It was a good message.

Part of me mourns it, because I was innocent then. Still young. Still unsure. Not like now. Confidant. Cocky. Powerful. Still young though. I suppose that can be an excuse. 

You know, it happened so quickly. Can you believe how fast it took over? The power? I craved it. I had so many followers! How could I go wrong? They loved me. They heard me.

They demanded from me, “Keep talking! Scream it! Feed it to me!”

Their mouths opened, urgent, ready to take any tidbit I offered, and carry it to those around them. Regurgitating it. Vomiting my words up for others to eat. Still tasty. Still so very good.

My message spread, but not the way I thought. It spread like a virus, infecting, infiltrating, stabbing into other messages, until the original was so convoluted that even I couldn’t find it anymore. But the hum had become so loud by then.

My hungry little bees.

A good leader couldn’t let them starve. They were starving, can’t you see that? Can’t you remember how their rib cages poked out and their beady eyes became sunken and faded? They just needed something minuscule and they’d survive another day. I just had to give them something small. I dug out little seeds from my pocket, wrapped in shiny foil. They ate them up. Didn’t even remove the foil. That’s how hungry they were. Didn’t even question the food. I could have fed them rocks. Maybe I did. Yet they would’ve asked for more. They were that starving. Near death. Looking for a savior. It was me.

Then that day came. The killing day. I tell you, it felt like only moments since this had all begun. I was so high now. I was lifted up, levitating on the wind created by my hives’ incessant batter of wings. There would be no wrong decision. I could do nothing wrong, they told me.   

 Then, someone’s voice pushed through. Someone outside of us. I can’t remember what it was all about now, but you know, it was important at the time. So important. Everyone was upset for me. Oh, we were all plenty upset.

“Louder!” they hummed, for fear my voice would lose its power.

“Do it!” they cried, and for them (it was for them), I agreed.

I could not disappoint my clan. They had supported me. Their righteous indignation spurred me on. And I knew it could be done.

Someone had to pay. Someone’s blood would be shed. My busy friends wanted to lick up the red  with their tiny tongues, and paint it all around, so that all would know I was the strongest, the most powerful – that my message was still throbbing in their hearts. That everyone had to listen, and do as I say. Only I.

Oh yes. That message. In hindsight, a bit weak. I would rewrite it though. My vengeance is what you would know now. That was the important thing. That was my message. Hadn’t that always been my message? How could you argue with that?

“Why would we want to?” my happy hum paraded, and choked on the rocks I fed them.

I raised my hands, and brought them down, obliterating those that had to go. It cost me nothing. I didn’t even see their faces, for the swarm had blocked my sight. I didn’t hear their cries, for the swarm had crawled into my ears. I slept at night, rocked by a lullaby of gentle buzzing, knowing that what I had done was good. I was justified. Those who surrounded me told me so.

No one would question me again. I wouldn’t question myself either.

I would only listen for the hum.  

written by – Ami Cameron – March 2018

Thanks for reading! Leave me your comments below. And don’t forget to check out my award winning story, Snow. Blood. Love. here, and my online interview here.

Story Ideas

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I’ll tell you a secret… I sorta pride myself on coming up with original ideas. Whether it be a great birthday gift, or a creative solution to a problem, or even what I wear, I really enjoy using my creative juices to come up with something unique.

So with my writing, I’m not really interested in telling a normal story. I’m not writing boy meets girl, love ensues, enter conflict, boy and girl overcome, cue happily ever after music. At least not the Disney version.

That stuff’s not for me, although it certainly has its place (and a huge following).

What I really enjoy spinning is a psychological tale. I love psychology! I have my degree in criminology, and I like to draw on that too. So, if you’ve ever read one of my short stories, you’ll see traces of both of those. And they all start with this disturbing question: What if…?

What if a woman discovered a homeless man in her back yard, and he was strangely familiar?

What if a woman stopped taking her anti-depressants and convinced herself that her husband was cheating on her?

What if a young girl witnessed the shooting of her Aunt’s abusive husband — and her grandmother was holding the gun?

Hmmm… what if…?

I don’t write fluff, and that means I may not write a feel good story that leaves a smile on your face. However, maybe I”ll write something that will have you questioning what you would do, and will leave you thinking about the characters for awhile.

To me, those are the best and most interesting kinds of stories to read (and write).

Do you agree?

 

Yeah, but are you published?

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Sometimes I really hate telling people I’m a writer. Why? Because the first thing out of their mouths is, “Are you published?” Which I inevitably have to answer, “Well, no not yet, but important people are interested.”

Actually, that’s not what I say, even though it’s true, because I don’t like to honk my own horn.

The thing most people don’t realize is — it’s HARD to get a book deal! I will take you through the journey as I travel it myself, but I have friends who are in the mire right now, and have the mud stains to show how long they’ve been, well, stuck in so-called mire.

Here are the steps (as far as I understand them) that a writer needs to travel to become a published author:

  1. Of course, first you have to write your book. This doesn’t mean almost complete it, or write down the outline, or have a general idea. This means write it, start to finish, and edit, and edit, and edit, until it’s as perfect as is humanly possible to get it on your own. Then, just for fun, you edit again. I am currently on my fifth edit.
  2. During your edits, it’s wise to get some beta readers, or people you trust (preferably not friends), who can be brutally honest about what sucks and what doesn’t about your story.
  3. Depending on your subject and characters, you may need to hire a sensitivity reader. “A whaaat???” you say. Yep. Gone are the days when authors could write anything they wanted and get away with it. If you haven’t lived or experienced it directly, watch out! Readers (especially in certain genres like YA) will tear you apart if you write anything that can be misconstrued, or in any way offend or upset. Agents and publishers don’t want writers who cause trouble, so do your homework, and be sure of your content. This is meant to be a good thing, except that right now there is such a hyper-sensitivity to so many things, it’s getting harder to achieve consensus.
  4. If you’re goal is to be traditionally published,  your next step is to find an agent and/or a publisher (typically the writer finds an agent, and the agent finds the publisher).  To find an agent you must:
    1. Write the dreaded query letter – a summary of your novel that is basically the sales pitch of your book. This one letter can take literally months to perfect. You  get one chance per agent. You better not screw it up.
    2. Write the dreaded synopsis – A detailed outline of your plot, including all the spoilers and plot twists. Again, you get one shot. Don’t screw it up.
    3. Find agents who are looking for books like yours, and start emailing out your query letter (with your synopsis if they want that too), along with your first 50-100 pages.
    4. You may hear from these agents right away, or it may take up to a year to hear back. Crazy. In the meantime, better get building your platform, through blogging, tweeting, and any other social media you can think. Get your name out there, and get people interested in what you’re working on.
  5. Once you get an agent and publisher, you can relax. Haha. Just kidding. Guess what, time for more editing and revising, because now you have an editor who has ideas about your book.
  6. Eventually (and hopefully not after too many edits), your manuscript transitions to a book on the shelves of your favorite book store chain! Hopefully you’ve done a good job on building your platform, and your book sales are through the roof. Otherwise, you may be dropped by your publishing house and agent, and have to start all over from step 4 for your next book.

Now that you know what’s involved in the process of writing a book, and getting it published, you can see why it’s not so easy to get become a published author. But I’m determined, and, like I said, Important People are Interested. Honk honk. I’ll keep you posted! I’m on step 4.1.

I’m also going to get myself a glass of wine (maybe two), because I’m feeling pretty overwhelmed!!!

If you’re a published author, or are in the mire right now, let me know how the journey is going for you!

Great Escapes

Quotefancy-208553-3840x2160Sometimes I long to escape. Sometimes I struggle to see the beauty, for the horror that we have to experience in this world. Sometimes it seems so awful, and I want to hide my head under my arm and weep.

Perhaps that’s why I’m a writer. Because, in a few gliding strokes of my pen, I can create something different. I can take an idea, and form it on the page, into a new story – one you’ve never heard before.  And maybe for a moment, I can give you relief from whatever you’re needing to escape – a moment where you can forget, and smile again.

That is a gift I can give you. That, and the promise that you were meant for bigger, better things than what this broken world offers.

Did you know that the only purpose the stars have is to look beautiful for you? Just think about that for awhile, and let it blow your mind.

Then lose yourself in a book and escape for awhile if you need to. It will be okay again.

Why Bono’s My Boyfriend

I remember the first time I heard the album Achtung, Baby. We were on a family road trip and my cousin had the CD playing in his discman (wow, that’s a blast from the past). I would hijack it every chance I got, and listen to that album over and over. I’m pretty sure I was extremely annoying on that trip, but I was hooked, and have been ever since.

Not only is his voice smooth like buttah, but he’s totally gorgeous. I’m happily married, but Bono is totally my boyfriend (any my hubs is okay with that).

There are a lot of celebrities. So many people are famous, and some are famous for crazy reasons! Sex tapes? For realz? Gosh.

But Bono (and the band) has taken his celebrity, and done something with it. U2 was blessed with the ability to make music, but it wasn’t enough to just entertain.

They wanted to make a difference.

Bono credits their performance at Live Aid 1985 (a benefit concert for the Ethiopian famine) with changing the purpose of the band’s career.  And to this day, they are doing important work while they entertain us with amazing songs, and crazy good concerts.

I’ve traveled all around the world to see these guys. I’ve seen them in Vancouver, Dublin (that was the best ever), and most recently Rome. I don’t like getting on an airplane, but I will for these guys, or rather, for my boyfriend, Bono. Because I like what he says, and I love what he does. He has a platform, and he’s using it.

He’s making a difference.

I’m a writer.  I could write for entertainment alone, and sometimes I do. But I’ve charged myself with the task of also saying something that matters. I wanna make a difference too.

(And what kind of girlfriend would I be if I didn’t share the band’s latest music vid with you, released just yesterday!)

What kind of world would it be, if we all used our skills, our talents, our gifts, to make a difference? I think it would be pretty awesome, don’t you?

 

 

 

I’m a Writer!

I knew I was destined to be a writer from a very early age… I was eleven, and in sixth grade. I had written a short story in response to the question, “If you were an animal, which one would you be?” I chose a koala. I have no idea why. But my story was the one my teacher, a very strict man by the name of Mr. Teeft, read out to the class.

As he read, I sat, cringing, at my desk. I had used the word “was” ad nauseam. When he asked if anyone noticed any problems with my work, I was the only one who raised my hand, to point out my own error. I could tell he was impressed, although I didn’t know why.

Like many writers, I wrote in secret, almost ashamed of my hidden talent. I pursued a “real job” in university, got my degree, got married, and had babies. I wrote now and then, but had decided that I wasn’t really a writer anymore, and maybe had never even been one. Because a writer writes. And I wasn’t writing much. And certainly not sending my stuff out! Horror of horrors! Who on earth would want to read what I wrote?

But one evening, I was out with some friends, and the discussion turned toward those things we felt we were meant to do. I heard myself say, “I’m a writer.”

It was so simple a statement, and yet so utterly profound to me. I had never identified myself publicly that way, and I looked nervously from face to face, waiting for the conversation to shift, but instead, everyone was enthralled!

One of my friends smiled at me and… nodded. An affirmation. That little nod gave me courage, and confidence. Something in me shifted, and I got to work.

I am busy with mothering and being a wife, but I’m learning how to balance my time, now that writing is my “work”. Once I made writing a priority (I write 4 hours, once a week), I finished countless short stories, and one novel (that Larry Brooks called a future bestseller).

I’m at the stage to start publishing, but once again my confidence is floundering.

Once again, I need to say, “I’m a writer, and I’m ready for my future.”

Once again, I need to find the courage to embrace my destiny, because I know what it is that I’m here to do.

Thanks for joining me in my journey!