From my last newsletter:
I just finished reading Appreciative Advising by Jennifer Bloom, Bryan Hutson, and Ye He. I’ve had it for a few months now, ever since going to the Bloomington Academic Advisors Council Spring Conference because I’m very interested in taking my education career in this direction. That said, this week has been super-interesting for a great number of reasons. This picture, above, from the book really clicked and set off the gears of critical thought and my approach to just about everything since we moved to A New Bloom.
I’ve been behaving like a victim. Really, I’ve been behaving this way for a long time. So on Monday I was having a moment in the car, listening to “Interstellar” by Desert Mountain Club, and thinking about these graphs. I was getting really sad and my Shadow Kingish feelings were coming into play in a strong way. But I had a breakthrough about my writing and everything that I write, because I know I’m a creator. I know what it is that I do now: I thought that to be a creator is to make your own reality and that’s what my novel The Human Library is all about—being able to make a new reality for yourself, when you’ve been treated like a victim your whole life. When that happens you start to believe that it’s true. But to be a creator is to make a new reality for yourself, with your hands, with pen and paper. That’s what I do here—so make a good and positive reality. Creators make their own reality through action, learning, seeking solutions and that’s what my writing is about—creating a new reality and making it something you want to be in that you haven’t seen before.
It’s easy for creators to slip into victim-mentality because we deal with rejection so much. We start to quantify when you’re told no, so that “Yes” feels so sweet, when in reality being a creator is all about rejection. Just look at what Ben Percy writes in Thrill Me, Stephen King, Ursula Le Guin—being a creator is all about how you deal with victim feelings without complaint and getting your butt back in the chair and doing it better than you did the day previous. It’s about working smarter rather than harder.
You may wonder what the hell that means: Smarter rather than harder. It’s not about how many hours you spend at the keyboard but how you spend the time you do have at the keyboard, how intensely you focus on getting that scene done, that page done, that chapter done, that cover letter. The writer-creator is always trying something, taking action, seeing what that action stimulates their environment, then faced with that stimulating rejection or acceptance seeks solutions and makes a choice to try something again until, finally, the creator achieves goals. But most importantly, the creator decides to stop blaming others for their failures and instead leans in and goes back to the drawing board to learn something new about themselves and what they’re doing.
That’s the beauty of being a writer—you can always write something that changes your life. That next thing could do it. You may be on your heels, but instead of giving up–lean into it, and it will pay off.