Number 13 Dream

Number 13 Dream

3:30 am.

This morning while struggling with that ‘do-I-get-up-and-write-so-as-to-accomplish-something-or-do-I-chase-sleep-feeling,’ I glance at myself with a different eye. I question whether or not I am a fraud. I teach people how to pull their books out of their heads/hearts and onto the page. This is what I do for a living, yet I’ve not produced a finished, published book in years.

Yes, I’ve finished a number of manuscripts. Six full length books as a matter of fact. I have not compiled and edited them though. They simply gather digital dust in the electronic membranes of my computers’ software containment devices. They’re stacking up like a runaway game of Tetris.

I then imagine me, walking away from the accusation of fraud. The vision of me stands quite clear. I know what I am doing. I know what I look like. Hey, I lay nestled in some sort of dream state, ok? Knowing what you look like is important – as I soon find out.

I walk away. Away from writing. Away from pressure. Away from questions. Away from accusations. Away from fear. Away from uncertainty.

People followed me. Lots of people. I note them clearly. They follow each serpentine zig and zag I produce. I want them to leave me alone. I note where writing resides. This may sound strange, and I assure you I do no drugs nor do I drink. I know my writing path involves walking back toward me.

Two me’s? So I continue to avoid me (the me where writing power resides) with my evasive walking. The people following me are likely book characters. The people appear quite focused. They dance in tune with my every step.

They hang on my directional changes as though they are part of me (the one running away). Thousands of characters are hinted at in my vision. Hundreds are present in my mind. It is as though they know before I do where my feet will land. Every single footfall which changes direction in any manner, they follow in perfect sync. There is no delay. No degradation of movement. Simply a flowing dance of walking away from myself and not knowing where to go and not knowing how to get there with all these characters in tow.

My characters do not herd me, yet I know that any single one of them will point back to me, the narrator, the one with which you are communing at this very moment. Then comes the odd observation, as if all this were not odd enough, which hits me like a feather bomb.

I am female. The me running away that is.

Black straight hair which falls past my shoulders and cradles a thin, attractive face. A lean, feminine body which knows how to walk. Isn’t it amazing how some women can walk and ooze that feminine mystique with no effort? They defy the law of conservation of energy or some such scientific law. You know the one where every motion requires energy of some sort. Some women can exude that womanly energy in their walks and mannerisms without one iota of energy spent.

In this muse-driven moment of contemplation of my writing demise and prerequisite plunge into the abyss of under-accomplishment, I recognize my femininity. I cease running away and walk directly back to me.

Looking at this now, I see the complexities wrapped up in the narrative I’m attempting to describe. No, I’m not a woman trapped in a man’s body. If I were, I’d be totally lesbian. So I would be a woman trapped in a man’s body craving other women. That’s too screwed up to even address.

No, the truth is, I have the ability to access my emotional side at any point in time and any circumstance. This is what makes me a good writer. I can access the softer, more beautiful side of who I am in an instant. Without effort. Without apology.

Another thing I draw from this experience is that I recognize epiphany and I often do not capitalize on the experience. All writers know to keep a pen and paper handy or some sort of writing device. My laptop was on the floor beside me when I woke. It slept as I craved to do, simply there at my disposal. Hence, I used my favorite writing tool.

Here’s the big take away. That beautiful raven-haired-me stops directly in front of my face, as if to say, “So, what the hell is it going to be? Are you going to lie there and grab another hour or two of forgettable sleep punctuated by a couple trips to the bathroom, or are you going to dance with me?”

She’s not quite so eloquent in her accusing stare. More like, “Motherfucker, if you back down again and opt for the easy way out of this, you injure us both.”

I do not wish to hurt her. Hell, I don’t wish to hurt anyone. And I recognize I no longer desire to hurt myself.

She just stands there. I half-heartedly agree to write. I show no movement toward my computer. After all, it’s cold here in Utah at oh-dark-thirty. My daughter keeps her A/C at 65 to make sure it stays cold, even in winter. My dark-haired self says nary a word.

Even though I say she speaks, her communication does not contain words. Those blue eyes and that raven hair and that knowledge of who I am says everything. She knows me better than I know myself.

My laziness exposed, I reach over and lift the laptop to its namesake. I’ve been writing this post while lying on my back with my knees upright and the urge to pee driving me to key faster. I’ve been marveling at my gender change in this dream. I’m marveling at the characters’ connection to her/me. I know that time is not real yet the measurement of time does denote something.

I see her now only as a movie reel scene. She drives my fingers and helps me along in this writing. We are in concert and she is happy with me once again. She knows and notes with sadness that I will shortly get up to pee. She knows I may not return to the narrative for a while.

Yet, as we key this, she whispers to me that her life is meaningless, without point or purpose, if I continue to choose to reject her. She needs me to live. She desires to live. She not only wants to live, she cries from neglect.

Her minion characters, the ones who drive her as mad as they do me, all morph into something beautiful, something ethereal, something mesmerizing, when she and I play. I lose her. I lose the better part of me when I turn her down.
She owns many descriptors. She’s my muse. She embodies my empathy. She’s everything I want in a woman and have not been able to find. She promises she’s that caring, loving tough girl who will find a way.

“Find a way where or out of what?” I ask her. She says it does not matter. Anything. She defines my creativity. My muse. My life. That part of me which silent-screams for me to step into life and make something happen. That part of me far too neglected, although with the volume of written material I’ve produced in my life so far, many would say I’m doing it. I’m successful.

Well, world, I am not, unless I continue to take up letters and form words which form concepts and storylines and do as Ray Bradbury told us all – to find joy within our writing selves and from that joy, impact our world.

I know this writing may read as insanity. In a way I suppose this written creation sounds crazy. It’s been said that writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia. I believe that to be an unfair accusation or observation. Writing is not like schizophrenia as much as it’s like Sybil and the many voices in one’s head.

Oops. She’s tapping me on the shoulder now, realing me in. Yes, I misspelled “realing” on purpose. She’s bringing me back to the real world. She’s telling me there’s no need to explain further. Those who will read with an open mind will get it. Those who will mock won’t.

None of what other people think changes her hand in mine. The seal-the-deal-girlfriend who strolls my path to harmony. The lover who goes ecstatically wild when someone suggests I go fuck myself.

She laughed at that last line and is begging me not to explain it to those slow of wit and depth. She’s as crazy as I want to be. A loon who loves laughter and pain and sorrow and joy because all make up the fabric of life and writing. She wrote that, not me.

She smiles at me a loving smile. The smile where someone truly appreciates your acknowledgment. She kisses me on my inner cheek. She loves me.

And I love her.

Write! Yes, I’m speaking to you – the reader! Dammit, stop screwing around and dodging your muse. I don’t care if your muse is male, female, Andromedan, alien, animal. Write. Connect with who you are. Write real. Write true. Write without apology. Let the naysayers come. They’re all stuck in their private hells of not knowing what connection to creativity can mean to your life.

We know the truth. We are a couple who fight over storylines and characters and concepts. We also walk hand in hand for our lifetime. We will be the lovers on the page. We will be the ones who not only enjoy deeply that passionate kiss, we will in fact achieve simultaneous orgasm when we complete a work worthy of our intellect and imagination. We even pillow talk afterward about what is next on our horizon.

“We need to end this one,” she’s urging at this point. I don’t wish to let go. She’s right of course. Seems she always is. I don’t mind that …much…

What Have You Done for Me Lately?

Writing is like that, isn’t it? No matter how much you sit and write, there never appears to be enough time.

No matter that you’re in the midst of writing passion, as soon as you step away, you know you must get back to it. In fact, once you’re off and running, you’re dying to get back to it. What about when you complete your first draft? Victory, right?

Yes. Victory. Accomplishment. Yet your book wants more. Rewrite and edit.

Therefore, you roll up your imaginary sleeves and you dive into the mechanics that need tweaking. You desire to make this manuscript the best it can possibly be. You invest your time, your brain power, and if you listen to my advice, your money (for a professional editor). You complete the task and you now own a shiny, well-polished product which you love. Victory, right?

Yes. Victory. Accomplishment. Yet your book wants more. Published.

Therefore, you do your due diligence. You explore the myriad publishing models. There are so many, one will fit your needs. You go through the process. If it’s your first time, you battle learning curves and you find there’s a level of knowledge you need. If you’ve been through the rodeo before, you tweak what you learned the first time and you step through the processes more gingerly. You then get your book published. Know this – there is nothing stopping your book from being published but you…

You now feel the slick texture of your masterpiece in your hands. You’re amazed that you’ve accomplished this feat. You’re filled with elation and anticipation. Victory, right?

Yes. Victory. Accomplishment. Yet your book wants more. Branding. Platform. Marketing.

Yes, the bane of the vast majority of writers. I tell my clients all the time, if you want a best-seller, become a marketer. Best-seller does not mean best written. Marketing is an art unto itself. So is branding. So is a platform. All become massively important for the sales of your book. Therefore, you either do one of three things: 1) you take on the learning curve of branding, platform and marketing. The three go hand-in-hand. This tends to be the most prevalent with the majority of writers. 2) you do your due diligence and you seek out professional marketers. People who know how to help you set up your brand, platform, and how to market them. They cost money. The good marketers tend to be worth every dime… 3) you give up. This category gets many writers right out of the gate. Once they realize they either have to work at something other than writing or they must pay people to get their book where they want it to be, they quit.

Option number three does not mean a writer stops writing. Many of us write simply because we must. I feel it’s of vital importance that we do not kid ourselves. The reality of a new book is this – “Who knows the book is available?” Unless you’re Patterson or King or any number of other famous writers, no one outside your circle of friends, co-workers, and acquaintances know who you are, much less that you’ve written a book.

So let’s say you avoid option #3 above. You now have a pristine, marketed book which is getting great reviews and people are clamoring for more. Victory, right?

Yes. Victory. Accomplishment. Yet your book wants more. A brother or sister.

Therefore, you set out to create another masterpiece. Chances are while writing your previous book, other book ideas came to mind, some of which you’re dying to get to. You once again become immersed in the creativity of writing.

You should already see that this becomes a circular cycle. Yet there’s more. Multiple books mean multiple objects in the air which you must juggle. Each of them desires some love and attention. Each of them asks you the same question, “What have you done for me lately?” If you’re like me, the dust settles on them and they whimper the question.

I learned this highly valuable piece of advice the hard way. Build yourself a team. Invest in yourself. Invest in your team. Here’s what I mean by “team.”

Find someone who has a knack for marketing material and can help you build a brand and a platform (if you cannot do this or identify your brand and platform yourself). Find someone to help you get out into the “real” world. Yes, speaking engagements. Your team can be Toastmasters, to begin with, as I did. Find someone to procure speaking engagements for you. Find someone who will handle video for you. In this day and age, video is king.

Develop a support group where you are not the guru. A group where you can learn and be motivated once a week. With all the demands from your book(s) for what you’ve done for them lately, developing a team of people to help and doing this early on is critical. Most writers want to lone-wolf the process. I know I did. The reason for this is we tend as authors to lean heavily toward creativity (of which we can be quite jealous) and away from business.

Know this. Writing becomes an addiction. When you truly love to write and express yourself, nothing will prevent you from continuing your trek except death itself. Success does not equal money or number of books sold unless you define success in that manner.

My vocation, my happiness, and joy in the world of writing, publishing, and entrepreneurialism are helping people achieve their writing goals. Love your writing. My writing hero is Ray Bradbury. Please allow me to add this quote from him for this quote sums up how I feel about writing:

“If you want to write, if you want to create, you must be the most sublime fool that God ever turned out and sent rambling. You must write every single day of your life. You must read dreadful dumb books and glorious books, and let them wrestle in beautiful fights inside your head, vulgar one moment, brilliant the next. You must lurk in libraries and climb the stacks like ladders to sniff books like perfumes and wear books like hats upon your crazy heads. I wish you a wrestling match with your Creative Muse that will last a lifetime. I wish craziness and foolishness and madness upon you. May you live with hysteria, and out of it make fine stories — science fiction or otherwise. Which finally means, may you be in love every day for the next 20,000 days. And out of that love, remake a world.”

Need help with your writing? That’s what I do. Check out my Consultation Page. I love to work with people who have stories trapped within them. We can let these stories out so they may soar…