Saturday, March 30, 2013

When Life Gets Too Real

You've all heard the--ack!--cliches:
"You're never given more than you can handle."
"When life gives you lemons, make lemonade."
"That which doesn't kill you makes you stronger."

I've been having that kind of month--the "how much streeeeetch is left in this rubber band, anyway?" kinda day-after-day. I offered to trade w/Atlas. He said no thanks. If one more person mentions a light at the end of the tunnel or the end of the rainbow, I'm gonna scream! <LOL>

But weirdly enough, you can use it as inspiration for writing. Because all the "experts" tell you that whenever you get into a writing rut, "up the stakes." Which is basically, making it WAY worse for your characters than it already was. Up the stakes. Increase the tension and the drama. Make it way more interesting for the reader, even as your characters plot to stab you in your sleep...

You really have to look at the level in the cup and decide how the character would view it. The level of "can do." Because wallowing is human nature, but at some time the heroine has to put on her big girl panties and say, "Know what? This PITA situation's not gonna resolve itself, and I'm sick of the way things are." She either fixes it, or throws it aside and moves on. Change is scary, but the best kind of character to cheer for is the one who TAKES ACTION. Even if they don't succeed at everything (hard to relate to that perfect superwoman), you want your readers to recognize a character's humanity and be able to relate to them.

I want to be a good role model for my kids, be someone they can look up to and admire. I know my
situation's not the worst in the world, but it's causing some hard choices and that's not necessarily a bad thing for kids to see and realize that nothing comes without cost--for everything you get or do, something else has to be let go. Prioritize. Plan long-term. Teach them to survive. Teach them the difference between want and need.

Characters are the ideal--you can let them have the victories that elude you. You can tie up all their loose ends. No matter the setting or time period or scenario, people all have certain things in common. What Campbell used to call universal truths. Nothing's more inspiring than taking a bit of heart from a story or legend to get you over a bad spell. When things happen, how you respond is what keeps you growing and changing and moving forward.

Be the hero in your own story. Give yourself something to look back on with pride. Be the kind of grandma your kids tell tales of to THEIR kids!

Never quit.


Renee Wildes said...

Morning everyone!

Hope everyone has a happy Easter!

jean hart stewart said...

An incredibly good post.. Hope the dratted light at the end of the tunnel shines on you soon..Jean

Tina Donahue said...

Great post, Renee - I'm having one of those months. I don't know about the 'what doesn't kill you makes you stronger' - however, it does help me create more believable characters. :)

Fiona McGier said...

If one more person tells me that as smart and educated as I am, I should be able to get a good secretarial job somewhere, or tells me I'm wasting myself doing my multiple jobs, I'm gonna scream! If I could find one freaking well-paying job, don't you think I would? I send out applications and apply constantly...for the past 10 years, actually!

So yeah, I know what you mean about others trying to "cheer" you up when all it does is irritate you! My MIL tells me I shouldn't "waste" my time writing "that stuff", but should write a history story...the kinds of stuff she likes to read. Sigh...

Kelli Scott said...

Argh! Yes. (1)I know I'm over-qualified for my job, and I should be making way more money...my mantra is...it's good to have a job...any job. (2) Doing my taxes and don't see any way out of having to pay way more $ than I can afford (3) Hubby's car got hit today while parked in front of the house. Good start to a new year!!!

Fiona McGier said...

In the famous words of Rosanne Rosanna-Danna, "If it's not one thing, it's another..."

I try to focus on what good times I can squeeze in, in-between crises! It helps me cope.