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Writing Cheerleaders vs. Coach

I have many cheerleaders when it comes to my writing and I adore them. They give me the lift of a bit more confidence when I need it. They have cheered me on when I doubted that I could write a sentence, let alone a coherent story. They have been invaluable in my getting to the point where I’m currently at.

And yet even as I’ve been writing stories that I am so proud of, I haven’t been submitting them. Don’t have time to edit, or find markets, weekend was busy, blah blah blah. There’s a ton of excuses and I’ve used many of them. I don’t know why…

So I called someone who I know doesn’t really put up with bullshit. During the conversation, I told her off the bat I don’t need someone to tell me I’m great, I have that confidence. I need someone who can kick my ass. We talked about what I needed to get done, how I needed to change the conversations with myself, and lots of things. Including making a dream board.

I had a lot of goals for that first weekend. I made not a one of them. So I messaged her, told her that and what my new plan was.

Crickets.

Not a word.

I’m sure she thought I was just going to stay stuck in my ways. I considered it.

But I didn’t.

Instead, I hit each and every one of my goals for the week. Made the dream board, checking in with her, got an “awesome!” Out of her and kept moving forward. My stories are submitted, I’m up to date in class and am working on my next submission.

The cheerleaders are invaluable. I wouldn’t be writing without them.

But I wouldn’t have submitted them if I hadn’t had the courage to ask someone to step into the role of coach. She’s not a writer, probably would never to think to read what I write if it wasn’t by me. But she’s tough enough to hold me accountable and not accept any excuses.

Thank you

Wyndie

Competition 

I’m good at what I do. I enjoy the hell out of my job, now that I’ve gotten away from my crazy abusive boss. I have a great boss now, he’s not only fair he realizes that by giving me the tools and support I need to do my job…. his company succeeds. He isn’t afraid or hesitant to support me when customers are angry with me, and it’s generally like night and day compared to my previous job.

The only thing I missed from my old job were my coworkers. One retired, and I still see him and his wife from time to time. My son loves comparing phone games with her. Another does my taxes every year. One of the latter hires and I still talk on the phone from time to time.

There was one coworker whom I talked with everyday but I haven’t since I left. I’m on the left coast, and she’s on the right coast.

I’ve talked to her every day this week.

She is now a part of our team and I love it.

I am hyper competitive and we are now a sales team of 2. Before, I was checking my numbers against the Florida warehouse and I was ok with it. Since I’m not on commission, I feel like I should take care of all of our customers. No lie, keeping up with all the aspects of all the customers keep me on my toes. As I’m bored easily, it’s perfect.

Perfect!

However I’m hyper competitive. This is not something my boss puts onto me, though he likes it. No one is pressuring me. I’m not in commission, because I turned it down. I’d rather work on salary as I have the princeling. It also frees me up to answer phones and help everyone. 

But she… she’s good. She’s very good. And my competitive gene kicked in. And things starting building up…… so that by Friday morning I had a melt down.

A minor one. And all from internal pressure.

I understand and applaud putting customers who were under my rep number going over to hers if they will buy more. Every once in a while tho, one will come through that a different person reentered under their own number that was mine. My boss fixes it everytime. But one came through yesterday that was completely accidental and I lost it.

Thank God the boss man wasn’t there because I was so frustrated I cried when telling my coworker. Argh I hate that. But by talking it over with L I was able to calm down enough to email what had happened to the boss man.

I think L. may have talked to the boss man. 

Cool.

(And please be aware, my frustration had nothing to do with C.. I have always wanted nothing but to support her and make her life and transition easier. I like her. A lot. I love working with her. We worked together and talked almost everyday for 8 years. I’ve met her in person once, and had  blast. We used to joke wed take over the old company if we ever got together and that’s why we were only in the same place once.)

Later in the day, right before closing, he gave me words of encouragement. Something to the effect of C. being hired doesn’t take away from what I do. That I’m great at what I do and he’s happy with my work. He hired her to be a me on the other coast.

“It’s just I’m so competitive..”

“I know.” I’m pretty sure he said he like it too. I know he does.

“It’s just… I have my sales number to track, but I take care of everyone. House accounts, anthony, mine…”

And he gets it. He doesn’t try to make me feel less. He let’s me know he sees everything I do, and he likes it. I am good at what I do… even when I’m competing in my own head. Instead of being strung out and worried all weekend, I was able to leave work feeling great. It carried me through a crappie drive home. It stays with me everytime I get in the car at butt o’clock in the morning. I’m gone from 6:15am to 5pm and I more than ok with it. 

I used to say that my boss from my first job after college was the best boss I’d ever had. Tough, but fair and would always support me if I told him what was going on BEFORE the caca hit the fan. That has been changed. 

I’ll still be competitive. I won’t let that go. It’s all in my own brain, anyways. 

But for work, I think I’m going to focus my competitiveness outside the company. Show the industry what happens when women in the work place are valued and supported.

Yah. We can do that.

Getting the Words Down

When you first start writing a story, do you start where you as a writer need to start? Or do you try out first lines/paragraphs until you get it just right? I just finished 6 handwritten pages, and I know that it will all be backstory. The character that is the focus of that chapter isn’t a main POV character— but what happens to her is what sets the whole shebang going.

I needed to know what happened to her, what set everything in motion before I could start the rest. And still, I’m stuck. I know where I need to go, but I’m trying to figure out whether to open it up with the drunken knight or the scared little boy. These two characters are the ones that will change the most within the story— but I’m still probably going to start with the drunk. Simply because it’ll be fun 🙂

I’ve struggled with this one. Partially because I almost always have written female main characters. This will be a leap for me. My last big leap was a modern paranormal in first person. All in one shot! I think I’m at the point where I want to not only enjoy writing, but also stretch a little when I do it. The paranormal needs a lot of work before I send it out again, and I’m debating writing more on it….

But for now, I want to go back to magic and mayhem and horses and knights who are a bit broken. And the POV’s will be mail, and also…probably not quite the same tone as I normally use.

How do you stretch yourself as a writer? Do you change up POV, genre, style?