Hello there my lovelies! It’s Sunday, which means you get to endure another ranting post by yours truly about the wonderful world of writing!
First, I hope you enjoyed Lashun’s takeover a couple of weeks ago! If you haven't read her post, Thirst For Self: A Writer's Journey to Self-Discovery , make sure you head there after this! I think she has an interesting take on how to discover yourself as a writer and put your work into the world. And you’ll definitely see more from her in the future. She’s working on a piece that will likely appear late in the year, so be on the lookout if you enjoyed her post like I did!
Also, I'm sorry I was MIA last week, life just got in the way. And if you have read my post about …Taking Time Off you know I believe in the importance of protecting your mental health instead of cranking out things you might not like later. So I decided to skip last Sunday in favor of achieving inner-peace (or at least less stress).
Moving on, today I’m giving you My Two Cents on Shaking it Up!
Now, I’m not talking about that early 2000s gem that introduced us to Zendaya and Bella Thorne (though admittedly, I sat and full-on watched a lot of those episodes, whilst outwardly rolling my eyes at my pre-tween girls who loved it 😀)
But I digress. I said I’m NOT talking about “Shake it Up,” the show. I’m talking about Shaking it Up. As in challenging yourself, doing something different, making a change, reshuffling, redirecting, shifting your focus… You get the point.
As a writer, and a human, it can be tempting to get comfortable doing only what you’re good at and just stick to that thing. But if you do, you could be missing out on hidden talents that you might not have known you had!
Take me for example...
I’m a fairly good bull-sh!tter, so most of the time, writing this blog is pretty easy for me. I sit down, think of a topic, and generally, the words just fall onto the page. Maybe they aren't always good words, but still…
Same for romance. I watch and read A TON of romance and I have a fairly active imagination. So I find myself constantly writing stories of my own and rewriting already written stories in my brain, trying to get a different resolution.
But ask me about fantasy, dystopian, action, adventure, horror, mystery, thriller… that's not really my thing. I'm not the most inventive, so these types of stories don't come quite as easily. Because there is often more room for make believe, while romance tends to be more rooted in reality, which is where I feel most comfortable.
Don't get me wrong, as a reader, I love a good mystery, and I can make all kinds of wild predictions about where I think another writer might take a story-which may or may not be plausible. But actually sitting down and writing it myself–start to finish–is a struggle.
But it's important from time to time to push yourself out of your comfort zone and try writing something you don't think you're good at, because you may surprise yourself.
I'm the kind of person who always thinks I can improve. And sometimes that's good. It's what makes me good at my job and allows me to strive to keep growing and learning. But sometimes it makes me have to be told, a lot, that something is good before I feel confident sharing it.
Take my Vella Story for example. Some of you might not know that Someone's Always Watching started as an entry into a short story contest. The contest called for a max-2000 word thriller, with the theme “unlikely friendship.” This accounts for (essentially) episodes 1-4 of the story now. (I say essentially, because its obviously been adjusted as the story developed).
Anyway, if you've read episodes 1-4, you know that the “unlikely friend” theme was barely existent. And I didn't win the contest, probably largely because I didn't hit the theme very well.
But my beta readers enjoyed my cliffhanger and wanted to know what happened next! So when I got the opportunity to enter another 8000-word, open-topic contest, I decided to continue the story. However, it did take a turn that some people didn't expect, or like. (You know who you are 😂).
I'm obviously just kidding, but truthfully, after the second story didn't win, it took a lot of convincing from early readers to persuade me that the story had merit, and people wanted to know how Jenny and Carl’s story ends. So I decided to keep writing, and eventually I published on Kindle Vella despite some huge reservations, and it's been pretty well recieved.
The point is, if I hadn't entered the contest, I probably would have kept writing romances, and Someone's Always Watching wouldn't exist. In fact, if I hadn't deviated from the norm, and took a chance to write The Cupcake Cowboy, maybe Rose Rayne Rivers wouldn't exist.
We can never be sure what path holds something that might ultimately become our calling. So it's important to embrace new challenges and try new things. Enter contests, take classes, do that word challenge, go to the writers weekend, attend a seminar… Whatever it is, say yes. Shake it up! Do something that makes you uncomfortable or something that you might not ordinarily do, because it could lead you to something great!
I've always loved writing. I love reading, I love a great story. But if you'd asked me five years ago if I ever saw myself as a published author, I would've laughed in your face. If you've read the origin story of Rose Rayne Rivers on my home page, or the blog post about why I chose a pen name, you know it took my then 15-or-16-year-old daughter to remind me that there was nothing stopping me from achieving my dreams. Or more aptly, nothing stopping me from chasing long lost, all-but forgotten wishes of being a writer.
And the same goes for you.
You never know what might happen if you just sit down and put pen to paper. And just because you think you’re only good at one type of writing doesn’t mean you couldn’t be good at another.
So that’s it folks, My Two Cents on Shaking it up. If you’re feeling stuck, or just want to challenge yourself, go out there and find something that forces you to deviate from the norm. Shake things up. Try something new! What's the worst that could happen? And you just might surprise yourself!
Have a great week my friends! Do something amazing this week!
-Rose Rayne Rivers
Comment below and tell me what you do to shake it up? Have you ever surprised yourself?
Also, let me know if you have any topics you want me to cover in the upcoming weeks!
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