What I'm giving myself for my fourth anniversary

Mary Ellen called it in the comments of the last post: I have my life set up, like it or not, around accountability.

I make appointments and agreements out loud and publicly to keep myself on track and actually producing, rather than just musing about it. It's why I started this blog four years ago today, to externalize my process, in the hope of getting clear on my own inner workings. And to (hopefully) be helpful by sharing some of this knowledge I gained so, so late in the goddamned game. (No prodigy, I.)

I also did it to become a better writer, by which I mean a writer who is particularly good at it in her own, particular way, and also a writer who actually writes. Because a writer who doesn't write is just another schmuck who ought to go do something of actual utility, like raising responsible citizens who engage in critical thinking, or scrubbing toilets at a 99-seat theater, or raising money for starving people in ravaged parts of the world.

I'm kind of stuck being a writer, or a communicator, or the communicatrix, rather, because I'm not that all-fire great at being anything else. I'm a decent designer and an okay actress, but the amount of energy I need to expend to do those things at any level of excellence makes them a lousy ROI for me and, I'm feeling more and more, the world. We've all of us got to figure out what we're the very, very best at, and what we're here to do to make the world a better place, and just do the hell out of that thing. Did I wish I was a genius designer? Oh, yes. Did I hope to change the world from a slightly raised proscenium? Damned straight.

Alas, those were not to be my platforms. They were great training grounds for picking up necessary skills, but they're not the Big Show.

This is the big show. This, this. For better or for worse, externalizing my process. And, with a little continued good fortune in the right direction, helping other people to discover and disseminate their own fabulosity*.

So in the same way that I use Arno J. to help me in my practice of morning reflection, my shrink to help me in my practice of emotional honesty and my marketing coach to help me in my practice of business, I have decided to engage a little external help to kickstart my writing practice. That's right, those of you who clicked that last link: I've joined the ranks of the NaNoWriMo-heads, and am going to slam out a shitty first draft of a novel I was asked to write over a year ago.

Asked to write. By a major publishing house. On a theme wildly dear to my heart. Over a year ago.

Sometimes, I have to pause to reflect on how truly asinine I can be. Because really, it's spectacular, albeit in a horrifying way.

I actually turned in sample chapters at the beginning of this year, which were, to my surprise and delight, much beloved by the editorial team. But the people who would actually have had to sell the book? Let's just say I got a big "yes" on the voice, and a not-so-much on the execution.

I've put it off long enough. Now I either do it or dump it off the "to-do" list for the foreseeable future, and move on. And, as Marketing Coach sez, that's asinine. No one gets asked to write a novel. No one who's never written a proven one, anyway.

So I will sign off for now, as I have a great deal of writing to do. I will not sign off for a month, though if I write less of substance here, perhaps you will be understanding and forgiving.

I will, of course, continue observing my current writing obligations, including the monthly newsletter (next issue out this Wednesday, subscribe here) and the monthly acting column.

Wish me luck. Stay in touch. Keep on living your life out loud.

xxx c

Image of a geranium, the fourth-anniversary flower, by Swami Stream via Flickr, used under a Creative Commons license.

*That's also very much writing-related, but also involves moving increasingly into speaking and consulting. Which I'm doing, but which is not the particular focus of this piece. If you're interested in either of those things:

  • me, coming to speak to your group about how to use marketing and social media to get your message to the Peoples or...
  • me, working with you in a consulting-type fashion, to help you sort out what message you're trying to put out to the world and how to make sure it's elegant, accessible, "you" and focused like a motherfucking laser beam...

...you should email me. Seriously. All these crazy skillz I picked up during my travels through advertising, performing and graphic-designing are proving extraordinarily useful at helping people sort out their shit in a non-painful, actually-fun sort of way.