Dancing outside my comfort zone

Taking a Step Back to Find the Real Message

Against my better judgement, I read an article yesterday which impacted me profoundly, and not in a good way. I was tempted to blog about it, but after thinking it through, realized I didn’t want to share that kind of negativity here. As a result I didn’t post at all yesterday.

Now that I’ve thought it through, I realize that as bloggers, we have a right to post whatever we want to post. Sometimes, it’s controversial, sometimes it’s a rant, but always, it is coming from our own hearts. I, myself have offended someone more than once, but am grateful that I have the opportunity to write what I feel rather than what is politically correct. In the words of a friend I had years ago, either you love me or you hate me, but you’ll always know where I stand.

Knowing When to Gather the Facts and When to Just Leap

I make no apologies for my opinions nor do I claim that everything I say is based on fact. So much of what I write, in fact, what I live is driven by my gut that to claim my reasoning is fact-based is not only presumptuous but pretentious as well. If we waited until we had all of the facts, Leaps of Faith would never be taken at all, and some of the greatest inventions, the most beautiful art and music would never be created.

I won’t claim that I live my life on the edge; I don’t take what I would consider foolish, life-threatening chances (you’ll never find me bungee jumping or leaping from a perfectly good plane!), but I do take chances others might consider foolish, like quitting a perfectly good job to write. Granted, I was feeling like I was dying inside by continuing to put so much effort into being an accountant, but I admit that to some folks, it was, indeed a foolish risk. All of the classic wisdom says to get your writing career established before leaving your job. Forgive me if I never was a fan of classic wisdom.

I think that what makes it possible to make those leaps of faith is that somewhere deep inside we know that if it doesn’t work out, we have options. We have learned (especially after being around for as many years as I have) that we are allowed to make mistakes. We are allowed to make decisions and change them. We are allowed to figure it out as we go, and, in fact, it makes life a lot more interesting than planning every detail right down to the gnat’s ass, assuming, of course, you don’t suffer from OCD. The best times of my life have been when I’ve allowed myself to fly by the seat of my pants.

Society has taught us that the most important thing an adult can do is make a living. We are conditioned to work in a job which kills our soul simply because it provides a good life for ourselves and our children. In that, I guess I’ve failed. Sure, I worked in a job which left my passion dying inside, but there were several times when I went off on my own while the girls were growing up. I didn’t really put a lot of thought into it, so I did a lousy job of promoting my accounting business but I was around more to help in their classrooms and drive to various events. They did without a lot of things including a band trip I don’t even remember hearing about.

I didn’t take the time to study for and take the CPA exam, nor do the requisite 60 hour weeks to get certified. It would have landed me a job with more money but less quality time for my daughters and more stress for me. Did I really make the wrong choice? The only way to know for sure would be to go back and re-live my life, and even then, would all of the variables be the same?

Making the Trade-off from Secure Accountant to Insecure Writer

As an accountant, I usually felt that I knew my field. Sure, I wasn’t letter-perfect on GAAP and GAAS and the like, but neither was I in a position which required it. It was more important for me to know my systems and how to maintain audit trails. It was less important that I had all of the answers, yet critical that I knew where to go to find them. In everything, I had to be able to substantiate my position because management and sales will always try to circumvent proper accounting procedure. Even so, there were times when it was important for me to justify modifications due to limitations in a small company. Either way, I had the skills I required after many years in the industry.

As a writer, the whole thing changes. I remember one person in a critique group who was supposedly helping me improve my work asking in a rather patronizing way: “Have you even taken a writing course?” I was so dumbfounded, I couldn’t even bring to mind the many creative writing courses I’d taken in both high school and college, and, sadly, allowed her to cow me. Thankfully, I soon realized that she was as insecure as I was, but demonstrated it by trying to act superior to people who were newer to moving into a writer’s career path. Suffice it to say, I took the lesson and ended the association.

As a writer, I will always feel that my work needs improvement. I won’t, as this woman claimed, revise my novel 100 times before deeming it ready to publish. If my revisions and rewrites are so poor as to require that many revisits, I’m clearly missing the entire point and learning nothing from the books I read and the crits I attend. Being insecure as a writer or really, as an artist is just part of the game. If we didn’t believe we needed improvement, we’d never put in the effort to do so. We’d never ask the opinion of others or read books or attend classes. It is because we’re insecure that our writing improves. Granted, some of us take way too long to come out of that insecure shell that says You can’t do this. You’ll never make it so don’t even try. It takes some of us awhile to silence the voice and give it our best shot.

And yet, it is probably because of this that I find myself encouraging the high school and college-age members of my crit group. I wish I’d had the guts to silence that voice sooner. Knowing they, too, have that voice, I give them a ton of credit for trying, and for making sure the world doesn’t have to wait forever for the wonderful stories they have to tell.

ADD Strikes Again

Once again, I see I’ve wandered all over the map, topic-wise. Only someone else with ADD will probably see how everything connects, but as I said in the beginning, I can write whatever I want in my blog, just as you can read whatever you fancy. In a way, this is the brain dump I used to use so extensively when I needed to work something out in my mind. Here, I share the process with anyone who’s interested, yet, when all is said and done, I’ve accomplished the same thing. I’ve resolved something in my mind or unclogged a blockage or made a decision. It’s a system that has worked for me pretty much all my life, so I see no reason to change it now.

My gratitudes today are:
1. I am grateful that the blogging medium allows so much latitude.
2. I am grateful for the people who put up with my mind wanders and come back to read what my crazy, twisted brain is doing, day after day, week after week.
3. I am grateful for a week with three nights of dancing, though I need to figure out how to space it out instead of cramming it into three consecutive nights.
4. I am grateful for a body which, despite aches and pains, continues to support me and get me out of bed every day to do both the tasks I want to and those I need to as well.
5. I am grateful for abundance: life, love, friendship, ideas, motivation, improvement, health, harmony, peace, prosperity and philanthropy.

Blessed Be

I’d appreciate your taking a moment to visit my Facebook pages at https://www.facebook.com/SheriLevensteinConawayAuthor?ref=aymt_homepage_panel and https://www.facebook.com/HLWTAccounting . Please also drop by my website, http://www.shericonaway.com and check out my Hire Me Page. I’ve created these pages as a means of positive affirmation and would be very grateful if you’d “like” them or leave a comment! Thank you!

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Comments on: "August 7, 2015 Internal Conflicts: Facts or Leaps of Faith?" (3)

  1. While I know it creeps up on you and even comes out at times, you do not come across, at lease to me, as insecure. You are confident in your writing and your thoughts come through with conviction. While I admit I don’t read all your posts, the ones I get to are very good. So give yourself some (more) credit, treat yourself with a cookie and keep doing what you are doing. I’m glad you do. Wes

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    • Wow! Thank you! What a nice compliment. I think the insecurity comes out when I’m working on my novels and have to turn off my inner critic. Sometimes, it actually stops me from writing for awhile until I show it who’s boss again. Sometimes, I don’t like what the voices are saying and it manifests itself into days without blog posts. In short, it seems to lurk in the unseen rather than what eventually shows up in print.
      Thank you for taking the time to comment.

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  2. I am reading this from my side of the world. The first thing I thought of is how many non-religious people slam me because I have “faith” or I “believe” and have no “facts” to prove what I believe or have faith in. That inspiration or urge to boldly go where no one has gone, so to speak, to me is the fact that I believe, as you do, that IF I fail, there is back up. We may not believe in the same back up, but the fact that we know it’s there, is all we need to step out there and keep going.

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