Some of y’all have noticed that I have not actually written anything on my blog this summer.  Well, I haven’t written anything else either, unless you count the two novels’ worth of business writing I’ve done for cashola, when I’d planned to write two real novels instead.  The reason I know some of you have noticed is because I’ve gotten (many) tweets and emails gently encouraging/scolding me.

* sigh *  I KNOW.

I know writers write, I know I am a writer, even if I am a writer who hasn’t written in three months.  I have a schedule and big dreams, but they’re on hold while I take care of life.  Eric and I haven’t even danced the cha cha or played music in two months, either.

So, why do I keep posting to this silly blog, if I’m not writing?  Why do I post pictures and — worse — crappy videos?  Why don’t I just let my poor readers have the same break as me?

Because creating these posts — creating anything — drives me to write.

“Um, really, Pamela?  If so, how come you haven’t written?”

Stay with me here, because I have to go back to the beginning of it all for this to make sense:  allowing others to read my words renders me exposed in a way I have never experienced before.  Putting those words down on paper/screen causes me to dig deep for creativity and COURAGE.

Now, most people that know me only know the outwardly fearless side.  The confident woman.  The woman who stands toe to toe with anyone and doesn’t flinch, except when it suits her.

Well, she’s just a cardboard character.  The real me, the me inside, is always scared of failing.  This me hates “putting it out there.”  The girl I’m talking about wants to stay in bed, silent, in the fetal position.  She needs a hug.  She wants to “scratch” from the triathlon she signed up for.  She wants to print off sheet music but not play the song for anyone.

She gets really comfortable NOT writing.  It’s safer than exposing hopes, dreams, failures, limitations, and fallibility.  She likes to wrap her excuses around her like a fuzzy blue blanket, with hot milk and chocolate chip cookies in hand.

But everytime I click “publish” and send my blogs out there, I am forcing myself to remain accountable to the writer in me.  “You can’t hide forever, Pamela,” I hear, as the words “post published” appear on my screen.  “Hiatus cannot become ‘quit’.”

Last week I upped the ante.  I video’ed myself sans makeup, hairdo, and good outfit, singing and playing the piano.   This was it:

[youtube AObbInDU3Qc]

Yeah, wow.

 The response was huge from the other side of the mirror.  My readers woke up.  Some of you asked me, “How do you have the courage to put something like that up?”

Leaving aside what that says about the quality of the playing, singing, and production (yes, I know the piano was too loud), it is important to me to answer that question.  Where does that courage come from, if I am the scared girl inside?

First, it comes from the safety of not seeing your faces and the comfort of “not trying.”  If I had dolled up, gargled salt water, and cleaned up my step-daughter’s “going to college” pile of crap behind me, I would have felt a need to be brilliant.   Instead, I could just do it, tongue in cheek, and cower behind a URL.

Second, and more importantly, it comes from knowing how much easier it is to video myself singing than it is to write.  That whole exercise, all four “takes,” took only twenty minutes.  A blog post like you are reading now?  An hour.  Or two.  Or more.  And I feel much more exposed showing my writing than I do letting people watch the silly video.

Third, and most critically, creative expression of any kind keeps my embers burning.   Publishing that expression and receiving feedback stokes the fire.  That act coupled with the feedback could could result in actual flame.

And, my friends, that is exactly what happened.

I received a lot of surprising and sweet messages.  I didn’t get any haters, which shocked me; I just keep waiting to open my youtube channel and see someone making fun of me.  So far so good.  I had many people tell me that my video made them cry.  That was very nice.  Y’all know how I feel about praise, though.  But the comment that cattle prodded me into typing this blog (which counts as writing, by the way), was this one:

"Your bravery never ceases to amaze me. You and Will Ferrell."

Now, I could have taken that the wrong way, comparing my video warbling to the comedy of the man that gave us Talladega Nights.  Instead, I took it this way: Will Ferrell does truly embody “putting it out there,” and sometimes when he puts it out there he is a comedic genius and sometimes he is an epic fail.  And he keeps on and keeps on and keeps on doing it, because that is who he is.

A writer is who I am.

I needed some stimuli.  I fished for it.  I got it.  And it makes me remember that I am brave, that I am not just the scared, tired girl full of excuses, that I am a writer on a journey, and I won’t get there if I hide under the covers.  I have to keep moving forward, in whatever way I can, big steps, baby steps, or crawling on my bloody knees.

Today, think of this as baby steps.


p.s.  Conceding Grace is still with two agents, one of whom is “seriously considering” it.  And, it’s been with both of them for 2.5 months.   At some point, no answer is an answer, I’m just not sure if we’re there yet.  If I could finish the division of Leaving Annalise into its two book format, and finish book four, then I’d consider, like some of my really talented author friends, going the e-book route.  E-publishing is really starting to mushroom.  And, I won’t do it until I have a mini-library to put out there, so don’t look for it to happen tomorrow.  Meanwhile, we await feedback from these two agents.

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22 Responses to Anything to keep from writing.

  1. Pamela,
    ———you just wrote down the same thoughts that most of us have.
    Love your honesty. This is what readers want. This is why people
    respond to your blog! For Reals.
    “….She likes to wrap her excuses around her like a fuzzy blue blanket, with hot milk and chocolate chip cookies in hand.”
    You are brilliant & Real.
    If you get any haters over there on YouTube…I’ll kick their asses! xxx

  2. Pamela- You already know I’m with you in like mind- except it takes me WAY longer to compose a post… You are a brilliant, kind woman sharing her journey to the top of the fiction world- many of us have a deep gut feeling about this: hence, the prodding. I love seeing the Road to Joy in my inbox- but when I don’t, I know you’re doing something that keeps adding to that Pamelot star quality. 😉

    • Pamela says:

      Yes, thanks for self-identifying :) Ridgely was one of my prodders. I know we’ll hear from at least one of the others soon.
      Thanks, RJ. You are awesome!

  3. Heidi M says:

    I know those feelings so well, my friend. And this, too, shall pass. :) Peace!

  4. I had to come back to share this quote- In doing my early morning Erma Bombeck research…

    “There are people who put their dreams in a little box and say, ‘Yes, I’ve got dreams, of course I’ve got dreams.’ Then they put the box away and bring it out once in awhile to look in it, and yep, they’re still there. These are great dreams, but they never even get out of the box. It takes an uncommon amount of guts to put your dreams on the line, to hold them up and say, ‘How good or how bad am I?’ That’s where courage comes in.”
    — Erma Bombeck

  5. Susie says:

    Because I am your mom and have been watching you for 44 years I can tell you that I have always admired your courage. I haven’t ever seen you shrink for what you really want to do. I am very proud of you (as always)

  6. Eric Hutchins says:

    This blog is so real, so true to the Pamela that I see. The one that can swing between great outward confidence, the presentation of yourself to the world that is so full of life and spirit and courage. I get to watch as you take on huge challenges and crush them like grapes. And self doubt.

    I am so incredibly proud of you. or proud for you, or in awe of what you do, or or or whatever the right way to say it is.

    You really are a writer. Not, “maybe someday you will be”, or “you are pretty good at that”. IT is something that you are, that seeps out of you when the time and spirit moves you. I only hope that public acknowledgement of that comes soon enough to reward how much of YOU that you put into this.

    I know that it has to be very very difficult to be told and retold to be patient. To be given examples of authors who had 1000’s of rejections that later became successes. However, similar to Anne Brennans recent blog post, you are already successful, you have already completed something multiple times that people only dream about and most cannot do. Your success will continue to grow. This is part of who you are.
    I believe in you.

    • Pamela says:

      Suprisingly, my husband has not been prodding me. He has in the past, but during this last hiatus, he has let me stew in it. I asked him the other day if anything about me surprised him, in the sense that we had known each other for years before we got together, had been friends, co-workers, enemies, and finally, without ever speaking of it to each other or dating, had independently concluded we loved each other. So that when we finally did speak of it, it was hello, I love you, “I do” in pretty much one breath 😉 We’ve been together for years now, and still I can put myself back in those initial moments, that free fall dive from the cliff together, like it was yesterday.

      So, Eric said what surprised him was that, while he had known I had courage and did not quit and had admired this quality, he had no idea how deep it ran until we lived together. He has seen me run a marathon on a foot that felt like it had an iron post through it (which I had no business running, but did b/c his daughter had signed up to do it with us so I by God was not going to ruin this for him and her — I had to take off for 1.5 years to recover after that idiotic outing!), and he has seen me do similar things that require me to overcome mental, social, or professional fears. Such as letting people read what I write.

      He also said he was surprised at how feminine and soft I was inside, the part I hid from the world, where the tough woman really was a girl just wanting to be loved by a boy. Ah, he’s right!

      Aren’t we all just a mess of contradictions? People are complex, life is complex, and writing is complex for me.

      So, from this baby step I hope over the next week to drag bloody knees across concrete, in other words, pick up “Book 1” again and start the rewrite/division.

      Thanks honey. Keep me honest.

  7. Yes, keep the creativity flowing and keep on being the YOU that we love. Whatever you put up is always great stuff….so most importantly, just keep it coming.


  8. Well, I just can’t imagine you attracting haters. Unless it’s haters of gorgeous athletic blonds who write and make music and have handsome husbands and beautiful childrean. Yea, there could be some of those haters. I’m a fan, as you well know. Hating takes too much energy. Your thoughts on writing would have been news to me this time last year; however, now that I’ve been blogging almost a year and working on a book, I get it. I have days…sometimes weeks, that it would just be easier Not to write. I haven’t stopped, though, just slowed down a bit. Nowadays, writing is so much a part of me that I have to do it. It’s a good thing we don’t have to pay someone to let us write, or I’d be a junkie…out there begging and stealing for my fix.
    There I go, thinking weird stuff again. Hmmm, maybe I could write something up about that.
    Love ya’s and your Blog and can’t wait to read your books.

  9. Heidi says:

    Wow, it’s like we’re twins.
    Except I’m not as pathetic.

    But seriously, I’m a better writer for having met you.
    That’s a fact.
    And I think there’s a scared person in all of us.
    I know someone who has let it consume her.
    All she has wanted to do her whole life is be a writer.
    She even got a degree so she’d be good at it.
    But she hasn’t written a single story…not even a short one.
    She might die having never lived her dream all because of fear.

    So taking three months off to recharge yourself and your esteem, ain’t so bad.

  10. Sandy Webb says:

    I think blogging ebbs and flows with just about everyone. Taking a break from anything is good…I believe in the work world they call it “vacation”. Relax, enjoy yourself and when you do get back to writing the words will most likely flow effortlessly.

    I watched your singing debut on Youtube and I thought…”wow, that girl has some guts!” You do have a beautiful voice though!

  11. LBDDiaries says:

    It truly has been a strange summer – mostly because of your lack of blog posts (sigh). I didn’t realize how addicted I was to you until you stopped and I found myself on the floor screaming with the screaming meamie dt’s wondering, “What am I withdrawing from? What hurts so badly?” Then I realized – it was a week without a Pamelot blog post… or two… or vlog… or song… OH! The agony. It was THE most awful withdrawls ever – I’m still shaking and shuddering. Please, please… I need another hit!

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