Self deprecating humor, solid advice

I decided to revisit a post I wrote back in 2016 and update it a little bit. When I started blogging, I used a self deprecating title and tagline to catch the reader’s eye —advice from WordPress’ Blogging 101 course. It was fun for a while, but in time I chose to make the blog more professional and eliminate the silliness. The blog was called: Meg Sorick Writes Better Than She Dresses and the tagline read: “She tried to look picturesque but only succeeded in being untidy.” To explain, here is the post I wrote in 2016:

Have you wondered what the deal is with the tagline for my blog: “She tried to look picturesque but only succeeded in being untidy?” It’s a quote from Oscar Wilde’s “A Picture of Dorian Grey” and refers to Victoria, Lord Henry Wotton’s wife. In the scene from which the quote was taken, Dorian is lounging around at Lord Henry’s house waiting for him when Victoria comes in. This is how the narrator describes her:

“She was a curious woman whose dresses always looked as if they had been designed in a rage and put on in a tempest. She was usually in love with somebody, and, as her passion was never returned, she had kept all her illusions. She tried to look picturesque, but only succeeded in being untidy.” There’s more of it, but that’s the bit I like.

I imagine you all read the blog title and the tagline and think to yourself, “that Meg must be a mess.” Well, not true, mostly. For one thing, I rarely wear dresses. Skirts, yes. I can match them with a black t-shirt. My friends and family do roll their eyes at me though, because I tend to wear the same or similar things all the time. But that doesn’t mean I don’t want to look nice, I do. Those fitted black t-shirts from H&M are very flattering. And no I’m not too old to be shopping at H&M. Not for t-shirts, anyway. Besides, I am also cheap.

I guess I don’t easily tire of wearing the same things. I’ve always said I’d do well in an environment where someone told me what to wear. Like the army or prison, maybe. Frankly, it sure makes getting dressed in the morning easier and faster. I will not be the reason you are late getting out the door. Nevertheless, I assure you I am not untidy. I just really find those lines from ‘Dorian Grey’ amusing.

When you think of a writer, what image pops into your head? The disheveled man or woman, still in their bathrobe, sitting at the computer with coffee stains all over their notebooks and crumpled bits of paper strewn across the desk and overflowing the wastebasket? If you write full time, work from home and don’t actually have to see people face to face, would it be easy to slip into that habit? I think it could be. My office is in my home but seeing patients prevents me from sliding down that slippery slope of not bothering.

Imagine what that would do to one’s self esteem after a while. Not getting dressed, not fixing your hair or putting on makeup. Who cares? No one’s going to see me… That’s just one step away from: “I’m not worth it.” I wrote a post in December about treating your writing like a job. Making time for it, being disciplined so that it doesn’t get shoved onto the pile of unfulfilled dreams. Let this advice be another aspect of that discipline: Take care of yourself. Get up and stretch, get some exercise. Come home and shower and make yourself presentable. Wear perfume, just for yourself. Put on makeup so that when you walk by the mirror you won’t be terrified (ok, that’s just me, you probably look fine without makeup). Guys – shave (or at least groom, if your a beard guy), ditch the sweatpants and put on clean jeans and a nice shirt.

Don’t let your writing space turn into a dump, either. Granted, when you’re in the middle of a project, a certain amount of clutter is inevitable but don’t let it get out of hand. Wipe up the coffee stains, empty the wastebasket and whisk the crumbs off the keyboard. Wait till you see how much better that feels. You wouldn’t get away with that if it was your desk in an office building, right? Pretend that it is.

Will these habits help me find inspiration? Cure writer’s block? Help me edit more clearly? I say yes. Don’t believe me? Give it a try.

Self Care

The awards notice on the top of my sidebar seems to be of no consequence to my dear friends here on WP! I do appreciate being nominated. It’s just that I feel weird trying to pass the award on to others. And for either one of two reasons: 1) leaving someone out or 2) forcing the burden of passing it on to another. Nevertheless, my recent nomination by Tarnished Soul for the Miranda Sings Award presented an opportunity to do something that I might actually need right now. Find seven things to love about myself. I know, it sounds a bit egotistical, doesn’t it? I suppose it would be if you were a naturally confident, self assured, positive and extroverted person. Yeah, I’m not…tmsa.png

Seven things I love about myself. Uh, here goes..

  1. I have excellent reading comprehension skills.
  2. I am extremely inquisitive. (Though some would say that’s not a good thing).
  3. I really like my current haircut. (I know that’s stupid, but I’m already struggling with this.)
  4. My boobs are nice. (TMI, but they are!)
  5. I have a good sense of humor. (Obviously!)
  6. Oh yeah… I guess I’m good at this writing thing. Maybe. Or at the very least I like what I write!
  7. I must be humble because I can’t think of another damned thing…

Here’s where I deviate from the rules. I’m not going to pass on the nomination to anyone else. But thanks again my friend Tarnished Soul for thinking of me! You are a sweetheart!

Worth It

Don’t get discouraged…

Writing can be a blessing and a curse. If you’ve been at this a while, you know what I mean. Sometimes things go very well. Creativity is sparkling, words are flowing, the keys of the keyboard tap out a furious staccato. The finished work is brilliant – some of the best stuff you’ve ever written. You edit carefully, then send it out into the world, on your blog, into a self-published book on Amazon, or in a query to an agent. You wait for the response.

And nothing….

You get a few likes on your blog, maybe a couple lukewarm comments. Your book languishes, sales are weak, nonexistent even. The agents are silent, or worse, dismissive… “Thank you but your work isn’t a good fit for me. Good luck in your journey…”

If you are expecting the usual litany of “think positive”clichés, sorry! You know how I hate that crap! Nevertheless, how do you keep from going under in the floodwaters of writing and publishing?

Remember why you started writing in the first place.  Even if your goal is to make a living at this endeavor, your most basic reason for writing has to be because you love it.  You have a song to sing, a story to tell, a cause to champion, and so forth.  We all want to be appreciated, have readers enjoy what we write.   But it is a rare thing to achieve overnight success.

Our world has trained us to expect instant gratification.  If we can’t have “it” right now, something is wrong.  Writers need to have vision – a long view.  Ok, here’s a cliche but an appropriate one:  it’s a marathon, not a sprint.  A marathon requires setting a pace, having time goals for the splits of the race, refueling at appropriate opportunities… You know what I’m saying?  Yes, some faster runners will blow by you. But here’s the cool thing about marathon running:  most runners race to achieve a personal best.  That’s why thousands of slow runners sign up to participate in marathons.  The goal is completion, not winning.  So to carry the metaphor back to writing, success can’t be tied to sales, reviews, likes and comments.  Success is tied to your personal best.  And like a runner who keeps training, you only get better the more you run.

Don’t let your desire for validation derail your dreams.  Whatever you write, for whomever you write, on whatever medium you write, remember that you love to write.  And that alone makes it worth it.