Passion and Paper Tigers

passion

Fear preys on passion, but it is a paper tiger. ~Vautaw

I received a check for $25 today from the Poetry Society of Indiana for winning 1st place in the Linda Bannon Memorial Category with a poem I wrote specifically for the contest called, “Overflow“.

In my mind, I wielded the check like a sword to shred the paper tiger that has pursued me since the day I dared to publish my first word. Apparently, it worked, but I know a legion of paper tigers exist for every word I dare to share.

I am taking advantage of this momentary victory and boost of confidence by dreaming big, writing like I am already famous, and visualizing my name among the greatest writers of all time: Hemingway, Vonnegut, Faulkner, Joyce, Shakespeare, Tolstoy, Eliot, Bronte, Woolf, Plath, Atwood, Angelou, Christie, Cartland, Steel, Vautaw…

That last one is me, one of my pseudonyms, fits right in doesn’t it?!

Whew, I got that out before the next paper tiger spotted me and fueled my inner critic with enough adrenaline to make me want to escape through the open tab to check my email or scroll social media… anything to avoid the thoughts of inadequacy, of not being good enough to even think of being in the same sentence as the “greats” or “real” writers, of dramatic despair of dying with my words and stories left unsaid…

But, wait, I have my sword. I may not even cash the check. I may post it on my vision board as a reminder of an Amelia Earhart quote, “Fears are just paper tigers“. So, write to your heart’s content. Write the words that you want to share with the world. Write the stories that make your soul shine.

En Garde!

WriterKat

 

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No Excuse

Little wins

Little wins create big victories! ~ Kathy Chaffin Gerstorff

I really have no excuse for not stringing words together much beyond my Morning Pages lately. No one cares if I do or don’t. No one but the soul that is currently taking up residence in my fleshy abode and patiently waiting for me to do what I was born to do which, from all the flashing arrows and neon lights in my mind, is… WRITE!

My response to this other worldly prodding is typically some form of resistance from blissing out on Ben & Jerry’s Chunky Monkey or other vegan confections to procrastinating with another personal development/business building program, to the infinite social media scroll.

But today, the Universe wins. I showed up and let my muse dance across the keyboard, despite the steady stream of interruptions that started the moment I sat down. I forgot what an endorphin rush it is to push through the obstacles and finish something as simple as a blog post.  It’s little wins that create big victories!

Write On!

Kathy G

 

 

Write Now

Most of us have two lives. The life we live and the unlived life within us. (2)You can’t think yourself out of a writing block. You have to write yourself out of a thinking block. ~ John Rogers

I have a dozen book ideas floating around in my head, some of which have characters suspended in time like the mannequin challenge, for over a decade! I have used every excuse in the book to procrastinate including writer’s block, no time, distraction, foggy brain, you name it! But here’s the thing. I’ve ran out of excuses. Time is on my side right now. A couple weeks ago, I lost a “temp” job that I used as my “no time” excuse for years. The whole reason I decided to do temp work in the first place was so I could write! Somewhere along the way I got complacent. I stopped doing the things that nourish my body and soul. Creativity took a back seat. And I was willing to stay in the comfort zone because I believed I wasn’t cut out to be a “real” writer anyway.

That j.o.b. crutch is gone now. It’s just me and reality. The truth is I have let myself fall victim to the disease that strikes many writers and creative types and that is fear. Fear of my writing not being good enough. Fear of no one wanting to read what I write. Fear of wasting my time. But guess what I’m wasting time already and not accomplishing much. Why not dive into that fear and watch the muddy water turn crystal clear! Fear and action do not mix. Fear thrives in a stagnant environment. Once you take action, the water starts to aerate and life begins to grow. That is where I want to be, among the living things.

Writing is the key that unlocks the door to my world of wonder. It awakens my imagination and takes me out into the great big world that sometimes seems scary, but at closer look just wants the same love, passion and purpose that I seek.

 

 

Welcome to Oz

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The Wizard of Oz is my favorite movie. When I was a kid, I loved the technicolor and the idea of getting swept up in a storm to visit a magical place. As an adult, I appreciate the subtle message of the movie and I see it in action every day.

Many of us are looking to the great and powerful OZ, whoever that may be, to help us achieve our dreams when the ability to make it happen resides within us. We just have to believe in ourselves as much as we believe in Oz. After all, Oz turned out to be human with just as many insecurities and flaws as the rest of us.

So click your heals and skip along the adventurous, sometimes scary, road to make whatever it is you are searching for in someone else come alive in you!

Write on.

WriterKat

Back Talk

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It was beautiful outside today but inside my mind a storm was brewing. My nature is quiet and peaceful, but when too many negative things happen at once, something goes haywire in my brain and I feel like a volcano about to erupt. Usually, I can get control of it, but today wasn’t one of those days. It seems like once you let that one thought through that says I’m having a crappy day, the Universe conspires to confirm it by releasing a meteor shower of more crap.

I am a peacemaker and when my environment is chaotic without any sense of control, the lava flows. My calm demeanor turns to angst. My smile turns upside down and when mama’s not happy, ain’t nobody happy! My quiet, flower-child self turns into a drill sargeant barking complaints and commands to regain order in the household.

Am I the only one who can pick up after themselves or the dog who insists on relieving himself inside at random places (like my grandson’s original one-of-a-kind painting of Einstein) even when he is taken outside to potty multiple times a day and has a puppy pad? Am I the only one who can do laundry or cook? Am I the only one who can run errands? Am I the only one who can work to pay the bills? Am I an enabler who has bred a sense of entitlement by my passive personality? Those thoughts were clanging into each other in my head when my IP training kicked in…

BREATHE I tell myself. Take a deep breath and find something to be grateful for. It was pretty hard at first because my mind was on a roll confirming my “bad mood” by naming more reasons to justify my frustration.

What are you grateful for? My coaching self asks.

I just don’t feel the love today. Lord give me strength to deal with everything.

One thing. Find just one thing.

Fine. Whatever. I say to to my coach self like a rebellious teenager (that I am being reintroduced to since taking my nieces in to raise a few months ago). I’m grateful the sun is going down and it’s cooling off outside. I’m grateful this day is almost over!

The sun. Yes. It is cooling off outside. You are cooling down inside too. Feel it?

Thoughts become things,” I hear my mentor Mike Dooley say in that positive part of my mind conditioned by years of personal development.

Okay, yes I am a bit calmer, but you know what would really cool me down? A McDonald’s sweet tea and a Mocha frappe. I have a $1.55 in change and five McCafe points!

You realize that’s over 80 grams of sugar? My skinny self buried beneath layers of inflamed adipose tissue says.

Yeah, well I need something to put the fire out.

Try water. You know your moodiness could be caused by dehydration!

Water isn’t touching the flame today baby.

The happy-go-lucky side concedes this round. Sometimes, you have to pick your battles. Some days aren’t wrapped up with a sweet ending like a sitcom. Fortunately, a day is only 24 hours and HOPE for a brighter tomorrow is hard wired in my brain.

Write on.

WriterKat

 

 

 

Honorable Mention

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“There is no dishonor in honorable mention.” ~ Mike Rothman

There was a time when honorable mention felt like losing to me…

“If she can’t win, she doesn’t want to play.” My cousin said those words about me when I was ten years old or so and a group of us kids were playing red rover or some similar game that I decided I didn’t want to play for reasons I don’t even remember. My cousin continued his berating, “It has to be her way or not at all.” He was talking to them about me right in front of me. I was furious, stomped back into the house and slammed the screen door to make the point that I was mad which probably just confirmed his point to the group. My cousin’s biting words stayed with me all these years. I think about it from time to time. Am I really that rigid that I don’t want to play if I can’t win? There have been many times in my life when I felt like that was true. I have never been into sports perhaps because I know I can’t win without training and I have no desire to train for any athletic event, not even hippity-hop when I was in the fourth grade. I was always last to get picked for the team and I really didn’t care. I would rather be sitting by myself somewhere coloring or reading a book.

Writing is a different story, sort of. I want to the be the best, do my best, but often feel like I fall short which used to prevent me from entering writing contests or attending big writer conventions where MFAs and bestselling authors abound. I remember the first time I attended the Midwest Writers Conference. I felt so inferior after coming home from that event. It took me months to get beyond my self-imposed limitations of thinking what makes me believe I have a chance of getting published when there are so many great writers who are struggling. Thank goodness self-publishing became popular and easily accessible or I would have probably never pursued publishing my writing.

Once I self-published, it was like breaking through an invisible barrier. Suddenly, I could say I was a published author. I began to see myself as a writer. I continued to study, read and write, becoming a little more confident with each poem and story I wrote. I began to enter writing contests, only a few that meant something to me. I remember the first time I won a writing contest, it felt like I won an Olympic gold metal. All I won was some random poster from the 70’s that became ashes along with all my journals, poems, stories and books when my house burned down a couple years ago.

After the fire, I got a new perspective about what is really important in life. I no longer wish to accumulate things. I would rather accumulate memories. I no longer write to “win” a contest or get published. I write to say what I feel I have to release into the world. If it resonates with someone, that is wonderful. I love when that happens both as a writer and a reader. But, I’m no longer in competition for the coveted “best-seller” title or winning any awards. I write because it is who I am and what I have to do to quiet the voices in my head. I write because I love the written word. Passionately.

When I got an honorable mention at the recent Mounds State Park Poetry contest, I felt that twinge of “first place” memory and smiled inside because I am in the game now, playing, having fun, right along with all the other writers who submit their art for something that is important to them.

Being willing to step outside your comfort zone and writing from your heart, that’s what makes you a winner!

Write on.

Kathy G

 

Scaredy Cat

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I admit it, I’m a scaredy cat. I’m afraid of the violence that’s happening in the world. I’m afraid for my children, grandchildren and other loved ones’ future. I’m afraid of not being able to support myself and my family financially. I’m afraid of the effects of processed and GMO food. I’m afraid I will never be at my ideal weight. I’m afraid I will never live the life of my dreams. I’m afraid I will never overcome my insecurities or the stigma of my past. I’m afraid I won’t write a bestseller. I’m afraid no one is listening when I speak, reading what I write, or will attend my events. I’m afraid the voices in my head will lead me to a life of mediocrity. I am afraid of so many things…

BUT, I do not let fear define me. Every day I wake up and face my fears. I move forward despite the fear. I write. I hold the events. I help others. I keep smiling. I keep the faith… and as I move through the fear, it fades like fog in the morning light.

Fear may continue, but the more I lean into the fear the stronger I become and fear turns into fuel for success.

Write on!

#WriterKat

 

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