There’s a great improv maxim, just say yes, which is really about when you’re on stage with another improv player, you don’t want to say no to all their ideas because then your scene sucks and nothing happens.
If you keep saying no, nothing happens.
It’s pretty basic, right?
Writing and life are like that, too.
I’ve done some absolutely weird things in my life–things that you would never imagine me doing because they aren’t very ‘me’ things. I’ve been a volunteer firefighter, done stats for a college football team, dressed up like a lobster and danced for a mile, spoken to hundreds of people, been a gymnastics coach, rock climbed, been a church secretary, poetry editor, regular newspaper editor, swam with sharks.
I can’t tell you how many times people laughed at me when I was a sports reporter and they said, “You? You’re a sports reporter?”
Apparently, I don’t present as a sports reporter.
Anyway, I did all those things because when you say yes to a possibility you get to grow, you get to move beyond the labels that define you. You get to say something other than no.
The best things that I’ve said yes to are the things that scare me just a little or the things that make other people laugh when I suggest that I might do it.
“Ha! You’re going to be an emergency dispatcher. Yeah. Right.”
“Ha! You’re going rock climber? Whatever. You’ll die.”
“What? You’re going to run? You always twist your ankles. Ten miles. Ha! No. You’ll die.”
And it’s the same thing with our stories, too. Not only am I a big advocate for living the biggest, weirdest life you can, but I’m a big advocate for writing all the different kinds of stories you want to write. Try new genres. Try short works. Try long works. Try it all.
A year or so ago, I went into a bookstore and the woman who has worked there said, “You used to be so scared, so timid. I like seeing you not so scared anymore. You’d hide behind the stacks.”
Here’s the secret: I still get scared, but I have too much living to do to let that fear hold me back.
Say yes to things that make you a tiny bit afraid.
Say yes to things people don’t expect you to do or be or care about.
Say yes to making new friends and exploring new places.
Say yes to pushing yourself a little or a lot beyond your expectations.
Don’t let anyone else define you. Only you get to define you, okay?
So define yourself as someone who explores, who lives, who says yes.
HEAR MY BOOK BABY (AND MORE) ON PATREON
On one of my Patreon sites I read and print chapters of unpublished YA novels. THE LAST GODS and SAINT and now ALMOST DEAD. This is a monthly membership site (Hear the book chapters – $1/month, read them $3-month, plus goodies!). Sometimes I send people art! Art is fun.
On this, my second site, WRITE BETTER NOW, you can do a one-time purchase of a writing class or get two of my books in eBook form or just support our podcast or the dogs. It’s all part of the WRITING CLASS OF AWESOME.
It’s a super fun place to hang out, learn, read, and see my weirdness in its true form.
And I’m starting up a brand new, adult paranormal set at a Maine campground. You can read the first chapter here.
LET’S HANG OUT!
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Thanks to all of you who keep listening to our weirdness on the DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE podcast and our new LOVING THE STRANGE podcast.
We’re sorry we laugh so much… sort of.
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