Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Be the Heroine of Your Story

I fretted that this post would get me keelhauled or tossed overboard.  I almost chickened out and took the safe route.  But this is a pep talk for me as much as anyone else, so if anyone's feathers start to get all ruffly, smooth 'em down now.  You should know by now I blog about stuff that applies to ME.

Yes, it's always about me.

And here's what I want to know: why are we so afraid all the time when it comes to writing?

I want to figure out why we're so fearful of failure, and success, and all the other things involved with our creative endeavors.  

I understand that writing is hardwired to a lot of emotional hot buttons. I know I'm not the only one who has experienced the crippling doubts, the angst of wondering if I've tapped myself out, the wailing at the injustice of having a desire to write and a skill that can waver depending on my confidence level.

Like others, I've felt the elation of a contest final or win, which had been preceded by fear of having my entry eviscerated by the judges. I've enjoyed the giddiness of getting a request for a partial or full manuscript, after the pain of getting yet another rejection on those same things from someone else. I've congratulated myself for getting closer to making my dream come true, while wondering if I shouldn't have picked an easier, more attainable one.

Fear often wins the battle, because it is sneaky, and insidious, going straight for the tender spots we've willingly exposed.  Yet we forget that our creative drive is powerful too.  We need to stop tamping it down, and grab onto it so we can unleash it on the world.

What would we do if we read a book where the heroine complains that it's too hard to go after her goal, or she's too afraid, or that she doesn't have time to pursue her dreams? We'd break our arm hurling that book across the room. And then we'd pick it up with the bones poking through the skin to throw it again.

It's time to be the heroine of OUR story.  This is our only shot at it.  We can't revise the past, or edit the outcome, but we can create the day-to-day aspects, deciding what it is we will do with our ration of 24 hours.  It won't be easy, but what else in your daily life is easy?  I'll guess it's usually the stuff that bores the crap out of you.

You know you have heroic qualities, but so few opportunities to actually use them. But now you can. You can inspire those around you with your ability to do something that you fear, that you find challenging, yet you press forward anyway, not knowing if you will succeed, but determined to attempt it because of that powerful inner drive. 

I think of all the things I did that weren't easy when I first tried them.  Was it easy to walk? Nope.  It would have been easier to sit on my ass and have everyone bring me stuff. Was it easy to learn a second language? Heck no. I should have been content with the first one I learned.  Was it easy to learn how to type? Yeesh. It was so hard, I was sure I would flunk out of my typing class, but now I type over 100 words/minute.

So why did I keep doing all these things? Because I wanted to do it more than I worried about being bad at it. I didn't want to miss out on things that interested me. I didn't want to go through life knowing my tombstone would be etched with the words, "She was too afraid to try".

Let's think of some of the things we've struggled with, and how we dusted ourselves off and got back up to try again. I'll start. You all know how much I hate to reveal personal details, so that should tell you how strongly I believe in this topic.

It took me two tries to get my learner's permit, and I came close to failing the driving portion of the test when I zoomed through a light 20 feet from the end of the test. The mean officer said if he'd looked up and it was red instead of yellow I would have failed.  The funny part is I fretted for weeks and practiced like a madwoman over the parallel parking, because I was positive THAT is what I would fail. I did it flawlessly for the test (and have struggled with it ever since).

I didn't pass the bar exam the first time I took it. I missed by 12 points, which is essentially one point per question. This was a grueling, two-day, eight-hours-each-day, all-essay exam—something you only want to have to do once--and it wasn't even my dream to be a lawyer. I was devastated when I didn't pass, because I thought my entire future hinged on that. It didn't. I passed it the second time, stayed in that career for 15 years and then decided it wasn't for me anymore.

I could list others, but if I do, you won't ply me with free drinks in the hopes I'll spill more secrets.

So today, let's pull up our big-girl pantaloons and get back to being the heroine we want to spend time with, the kind of woman who can do anything she sets her mind to.  We aren't those too-stupid-to-live creatures.  We have talents, skills, abilities, and most importantly, a lot of opportunities available to us. We have a strong drive to succeed, and we can battle back the fears that try to keep us oppressed.

Let's go forth and conquer! 

What can you do that you had to struggle with? What are you doing to be the heroine in your life? I've spilled my secrets. Now it's your turn!


Quantum said...

Let's pull up our big-girl pantaloons

Donna, this is worthy of Churchill the war leader, or Thatcher berating those spineless namby pamby MPs in parliament when they objected to her latest bill!

I came close to failing the driving test, but when the examiner asked if I had any medical condition that might affect my driving, I lied and said I suffered from exam nerves. I then pulled out in front of a passing lorry!

After the initial shock subsided,the examiner smiled kindly and said "Now that the nerves are gone, lets start again shall we"

As you imply,I think that these fears are all self generated in the mind. With practice and a little success they are readily dispersed. Gotta learn where your limits lie though. When the boundaries are clear, you just have to pull up your big girl pantaloons and give it all ya got!

Inspiring blog! :D

Kari Marie said...

Donna - Thanks for the injection of inspiration this morning! I recently realized one of my MCs is a total bore. What's worse, she's more like me than I care to think about. Clearly I need a little oomph!

Bosun said...

I cannot for the life of me figure out why this would get you thrown off the ship. It's a pep talk. You're not besmirching the pirate code, suggesting we stop drinking rum, suggesting we take up politics.

I see no problems here.

This is very inspiring. A good kick of oomph, as Kari puts it. Oddly enough, this exact attitude is what's gotten me through the rest of my life. I was so tempted to give up on a my degree a few years ago. But I knew I couldn't let myself do it.

The fact is, even if you hide from life, it will find you. There is nowhere to hide. And if you're going to be on this planet for any length of time, you might as well make the most of it. As the old saying goes, anything worth having is worth fighting for.

I say being published is worth fighting for. And I'll keep fighting these characters, my inner critic, and my lackluster skills to get there. LOL!

Sin said...

Q is genius. Why didn't I think of that?

I did fail my driving exam. By a point. I blame my bluntness. The man smelled. He was told he smelled. He failed me by a point to prove he was my superior. I won't lie. I still plot in my sleep the perfect way to ice pick him.

The only way to learn in life is to fail. I've failed a lot of things. Exams. Relationships. Family. Friends. Life. I've had years of failure. I've had years of triumph. You gotta take the good with the bad. Having a good support system (aka: writing pirates) will help ease the stress of failure.

We all know I inject my heroines with a bit of myself. I try to stay away from the boring side. The sickeningly normal part of me that even makes me throw up. But heroines can't have that. Otherwise it ruins the trip.

This blog was awesome. Can't believe you were worried. Silly DRD.

Donna said...

Q, you are too funny. :) Thanks for putting me in such august company with my speechifying. (I think I'm going to use "namby pamby" at some point today. LOL)

I think the driving examiners are intended to terrify us, aren't they? It's a wonder people can pass the test at all. (Although I do think the folks in MA get their license whether they pass the test or not. LOL)

I agree that the fears are self-generated. The problem is that with writers we are used to taking "what if" to the darkest place possible--which is great for an entertainig story--but it's hard on our psyche. :)

Ah well, we just gotta yank up those pantaloons!

Donna said...

Kari Marie, I'm glad it inspired you! I needed this reminder, which is why I wrote it, but I was hoping it would be useful to someonen else. :)

I think my heroines are actually more adventurous than I am, so I kind of envy them (that, and they get really great heroes! LOL) Maybe your heroine can share her oomph. :)

Bosun said...

I too failed my driving test the first time. Like you, I aced the parallel parking (and can still do it today) because that's where I thought I'd screw up. But no, I made a left turn into the far right lane and so the dude flunked me. Passed with the flying colors the second time though.

I remember when I went on the air for the first time. This voice in my head kept screaming, "We don't know wtf we're doing!!!" but on the outside, I was totally doing the "fake it until you make it" thing. LOL! Had nightmares for months about dead air and not being able to find CDs. Also, had to pee the moment my show started every time.

But then I got the hang of it, got in a groove, and it was as natural as lounging with the remote. I could have failed miserably with 30K people listening, but I survived. :)

Donna said...

Terri, I fretted because this post had a little more asskickery to it than usual. Of course, maybe that part got edited out before I posted it. LOL

And I shuddered at the thought of giving up rum or taking up politics!

You are a very determined woman, and I find that very inspiring. :) There are plenty of obstacles that can derail us, but you're so right about life finding us, no matter what.

I definitely agree that getting published is worth fighting for. My stories are worth that. And so am I.

Now get over here on this plank. You need to take a little walk for that "lackluster skills" comment. Obviously your inner critic decided to take center stage!

Donna said...

Sin, I know Q is genius -- but what specific part were you referring to? The part where he called ME a genius? LOL

And I can't believe that hideous driving examiner. Maybe his smell was the evil oozing from his pores. He's so lucky he encountered you before you mastered your ice pick technique. (Although I'm sure that you were not given rattles or binkies as a baby--I can definitely see your little arms flailing with miniature ice picks in each hand.)

I agree that failure is part of life. It's part of the writing process. Somehow, though, we're taught that failure is to be avoided, or that it's the end of our efforts. Maybe in the "rock, paper, scissors" hierarchy fear trumps things, but it shouldn't.

Our heroines are definitely part of us. We instill them with things we want to be and things we are. Now we just need to use THEM to inspire US. :)

Bosun said...

But, Donna, that's where the practice comes in. I'm a natural communicator, but not a natural writer. It's like I told my mom, if I took up pottery or baking, I wouldn't be expected to turn out the perfect urn or pecan pie on the first try. Writing is the same thing. I've written one book, I can't beat myself up because it isn't perfect.

I needs practice. LOL! But I'll get there!

Donna said...

Terri, I'm glad to hear so many of us had challenges with the driving exam. That left turn into the far right lane is what everyone does all the time--which means we all try to be on our best behavior for the test and then go back to our normal ways. LOL

I can only imagine how nervewracking it was to be on the air the first time. Eeek! What a great example of overcoming the fear. It makes me think how much our fear of "public" failure--worrying what others will think of us--creates sticking points for us. No one wants to be humiliated, but maybe when we realize it's not fatal, just really really embarrassing, we can get through it.

Sin said...

Dear DRD,

I was referring to his ingenius way of tricking the driving instructor. "Exam nerves." Brilliant. Much better than telling a bloke that he stinks and I have to roll down a window or I'll die or kill him and shove him out of a moving vehicle.


Evil Twin

Donna said...

if I took up pottery or baking, I wouldn’t be expected to turn out the perfect urn or pecan pie on the first try.

This is an excellent point. It's understandable to want to speed through the process to get to the end we want, but it's not realistic. I've been rereading an old manuscript and I'm delighted to see so much of my voice in it, and how great the characters are. But the plot sucked. LOL I've fixed it, but only because I've learned so much about that along the way, through all the other things I've written.

Now I want some pecan pie to go with my coffee.

Bosun said...

Donna - You should have seen me the first time I had to cross a stage to introduce a show. The radio was perfect because no one could see me and if they didn't like me, they changed the channel and I never knew it.

But walking across a stage (in heels!) in front of thousands of people? I still don't know how I didn't toss my cookies. Of course, once again, after I got used to it, it was no big deal. That's the trick I think, is to remember it's never as big a deal as our brains would lead us to believe.

Totally that "What if???" thing you mention. That needs an off switch. LOL!

Donna said...

Dear Evil Twin,

Ahhh, yes. The caffeine is not penetrating my brain cells this morning--and no, you do not need to use your ice pick to help the process along.

If only that driving instructor knew how lucky he is to have not been tossed out of a racing vehicle. Of course, maybe he could have realized his lifelong dream to be a stuntman.

Very truly yours,

Donna said...

Terri, did you worry about tripping in the heels? I know I would have been muttering, "Don't trip, don't trip". LOL

The "What If" thing definitely needs a kill switch. I can only imagine what we could accomplish if they would just shut the eff up!

I used to hate the thought of public speaking. It made me all kinds of panicky. Then I had to give this presentation to a ton of court administrators, and they laughed at all my jokes, and didn't laugh at the other parts--and I realized how much I loved it. LOL It was like getting to be a standup comic. But I wouldn't have discovered that if I hadn't been pushed into it.

Bosun said...

See! It wasn't at all as bad as you're silly brain made you believe it would be. And if we'd just sit down and write these stories that dance through our minds, they wouldn't be nearly as bad either!

I was wearing shoes - boots really - that I was comfortable in,, so no fear of tripping that I remember. And the reaction - be it a laugh or smile or chuckle - from a crowd is totally addicting, isn't it? At our annual Christmas parties here, I have to get up in front of the room and introduce our owner. This year,the owner of our sister company came up to me after and couldn't get over how natural I sounded on the microphone. LOL!

Goes to show skills learned in other areas can pay off where you'd least expect.

Hal said...

I'm loving the ass-kicking this morning, Donna!

My favorite Gandhi quote is: "Anything worth doing well is worth doing poorly in the beginning."

I was also paranoid about the parallel parking. I practiced and practiced, did it flawlessly, and got points taken off because I did it "too fast." WTF???? I'm still annoyed by that.

The first semester I was teaching, I was shaking so badly I couldn't mark the attendance sheet and had to just give everyone credit. That whole first semester, I'd talk for 30 minutes, run out of things to say, and let them go early. But like everything else, I eventually figured out what the hell I was doing up there :)

Hal said...

I love public speaking. I was a speech and debate geek in college. It's weird because I'm super shy one-on-one, but stick me in front of a microphone, and I love it. Add a camera and I'm in heaven :)

Bosun said...

Hal - I'd rather face an open mic in a little room than ever try to teach anything. Kudos to you (and all the other teachers)!

Hellion said...

What would we do if we read a book where the heroine complains that it’s too hard to go after her goal, or she’s too afraid, or that she doesn’t have time to pursue her dreams? We’d break our arm hurling that book across the room. And then we’d pick it up with the bones poking through the skin to throw it again.

SO TRUE! Thanks for the pep talk, Donnaroo! I very much needed it!!

What skills do I have?

I'm a lot wittier than I used to be. I used to just get so mad I couldn't even say anything. I would just have a little tantrum--but now, more often than not, if you piss me off, I come back with something so sarcastic and clever, the instigator slinks off to lick his wounds.

Writing, of course. Some days are better than others. But I can't deny it's a skill. Especially with the daily emails I get from graduate students who can barely form a sentence. (Some can, but some...GEEZ.)

Cooking, crafting, sewing, homemaking in general. It's a skill. I seem to have a number of friends who can't figure out which end of the pan to put the spaghetti in.

Is loyalty a skill? I'm usually pretty loyal; usually takes quite a bit to run me off.

Hal said...

Ter - I think I've come to the same conclusion. I'm not doing it now with the kid (I was teaching classes on top of the day-job), and I don't think I'll go back to it.

2nd Chance said...

Failure? Ha! I avoided failure by never trying...then I failed at dying and all my perspectives changed.

Lots of things I fought with, considering them failures because I didn't come out on top. Or I gave up before I was challenged to take that extra step where it would become pass or fail. Instead of where I was, simply doing.

Now, my brain isn't working all that well yet and I'm off to tackle another day of RT-ing.

Now, have some rum... I had plenty last night and have no idea why I am not hung over.

But I'm not complaining.

The Viper Room last night was really pretty cool...nice drinks...

Donna said...

And if we’d just sit down and write these stories that dance through our minds, they wouldn’t be nearly as bad either!

This is so true! I spent the majority of the past two days HOA-ing because I didn't want to face the revisions. I finally got started on them late each day, and it wasn't as bad as I'd told myself it would be. I can kinda understand feeling that way the FIRST day, but the second day? Yeesh. I need to ice pick that fear.

Donna said...

Look at those smiley faces bracketing "I'm intrigued". They look like happy yellow boobs. LOL

Donna said...

Hal, glad you're enjoying the ass kicking. LOL I think it's doing me some good too.

And a huge WTF? for the "too fast" parallel parking! You may have missed your calling as a getaway driver. LOL

Hal, what made the teaching experience so nervewracking for you? I'm just curious since you like public speaking and lights/camera/action. :) I'm intrigued. :)

Donna said...

Chance, we're all very glad that you failed at dying. :) A perfect example of making failure work in your favor. I liked your description of "giving up before you were challenged to take the next step". I think that's what happens to us a lot. It's easier to take the safe route, but then we don't find what we're capable of.

The Viper Room? That sounds wicked fun. Color me green with envy.

Hal said...

You may have missed your calling as a getaway driver. LOL

haha! I joke about this all the time, that if anyone needs a getaway driver (or a trip to the ER), I'm your girl. In my defense, I was taught to drive by my older brother, who was a professional race car driver.

Donna said...

Hellion, I'm glad you liked the pep talk. And your SKILLS have skills. Wow.

I definitely agree that writing is a skill. It's also a passion, which can be impervious to the fear, but the part of us that analyzes our skills is horribly susceptible. Maybe it's because "skill" is a moving target. We're always striving to improve, and there's never going to be a point where we say, "Ahh, I'm finally done improving." Again, fear makes us interpret that as "Crap! I'm never going to be good enough."

Let's strap Fear to the mast and give it a zillion lashes today!

Donna said...

Hal, that is too funny. I drive my Corolla as if it's the sports car I used to have. LOL When I make my millions in publishing I'm going to get something I can race around in that won't cause smirks. LOL

And I'm envious of the training by a professional race car driver! I have a hero in one of my WIPs that would know how to drive like this, even if he's not a race car driver, so I need some training. Okay, okay, I just want to drive the car. LOL

Hellion said...

You're not supposed to make a left turn and go into the far right lane? Huh. I mean, I get you're not supposed to if there are two left turn lanes and you're in the far left and there is someone beside you also turning--that's dangerous and rude, but if it's a lonely left turn lane and there is no other traffic going on, what's the problem?

I flunked my first driver's test, which is no surprise to anyone. But I was also 22 when I first took my driving exam. I was terrified of learning to drive. Now I love it. I'm a complete menace. I drive like a Duke cousin.

Isn't it funny we were all terrified of being flunked out for not being able to parallel park? I mean, isn't that like being terrified no one will buy our books if our margins aren't exactly one inch, and then not worrying so much about characters and plot?

Hellion said...

I am cracking up that Hal did her parallel parking too fast. *SNORTS* Talk about a examiner with parallel parking envy! *LOL*

Hellion said...

In my defense, I was taught to drive by my older brother, who was a professional race car driver.

NOW this is the coolest pirate factoid ever. Hal, can you teach me to drive like a race car driver?

EC Smith said...

Amen, sister. Fear and success....polar opposites, but both scare the pants off me. Depending on the day! lol.

Today, though, I'm putting both in a drawer, locking them up tight and throwing away the key. But tomorrow? Yeah, that's another battle, but I'll get there!

Great post!

Hal said...

:) happy boobs! :)

As for teaching, it wasn't the act of teaching itself I disliked, it was all the other stuff that goes into it. I detest grading, I'm not good at being hard on students and so get run over. And in the fall, I had one particular student who made it his life's mission to get me fired. Accused me of all sorts of discrimination, and unfortunately for me, his parents are an old-money family in DC who used to work for the State department, so they had the money and connections to back up his threats of lawsuits. Then it turned into threats involving a knife, and got to the point where I was literally fearing for my safety. I realize it was just bad luck, and I could teach for another 20 years and not run into a situation that bad again, but for now at least, I just can't go back to it.

Hal said...

I can! lol. I adore driving. Too much, likely. I desperately want to take one of those aggressive driving courses where you're taught to do spins and fast stops - you know the ones cops take before they're allowed to do high-speed chases? We should make it a pirate retreat so we can all learn. For the characterization, of course!

Hellion said...

I desperately want to take one of those aggressive driving courses where you’re taught to do spins and fast stops – you know the ones cops take before they’re allowed to do high-speed chases? We should make it a pirate retreat so we can all learn. For the characterization, of course!

Me too! I see this all the time. I think there's a school in Florida. I want to learn stunt driving. My desire stems from a need to drive like a character from Charlie's Angels. *LOL*

We should totally do this as a pirate retreat!! *LOL*

Hellion said...

And that situation with the hateful kid and the stupid rich parents pisses me off! WTF. Oh, that makes me furious!

Bosun said...

Okay, we must all write car chase scenes to justify this research. Whoohoo! (Can we slide across the hood too? Though now I'm afraid of getting stuck while trying to climb in the window.) Could we race the ship???

I realized I was watching too much Nascar once when I drove into a bank of low-lying fog and floored it. It was as if I had a spotter in my ear saying, "Just keep straight." Not smart on a two-lane small town street.

Bosun said...

What, I mention racing the ship and everyone heads for shore?


Donna said...

Hellion, maybe we all worried about parallel parking because there wasn't much use for it then? At least in my case it wasn't.

It sounds like we all had driver's license issues though. LOL (By the way, who's driving the ship right now?) Clearly we all persevered and improved!

Hal said...

I'd totally be down for a ship race!

Donna said...

EC, good for you, locking those fears up. By the time they find an escape route, you'll be too far away for them to catch up!

Donna said...

I've looked into a race car training thing here, but it's too rich for my blood at the moment. There's one in NH, and one in CT. I love the thought of a pirate retreat for this. :) Tax-deductible too.

I'm guessing the sliding across the hood thing will require just the right amount of wax on the car. As well as a ton of practice. LOL

Bosun said...

And knee pads. I'm sure we have plenty of those around here. ;)

I want to make the ship do a 180. Everyone hold on.

Sin said...

LOL, you have to have training to do car chases?

I'd be down with the pirate retreat.

PS. Hal, I hope the kid drowns in a shallow puddle of mud. Douche bag. *makes note* He gets the rusty ice pick.

Donna said...

*grabs onto a Hottie*

Okay, Bo'sun, give it a whirl!

Donna said...

Hal, I can't believe you had to endure that. Yikes. It sounds criminal.

Sin, I think you should have the rusty ice pick in one hand and the tetanus shot in the other. LOL Ask him if he feels lucky.

Hellion said...

I want to make the ship do a 180. Everyone hold on.

WHEEEEEEEE! *hands thrown into the air*

Hellion said...

He gets the rusty ice pick.

Nothing like a spot of tetnus to ruin someone's day! Good choice, Sin!

Bosun said...

*wipes drops of water off her leather vest*

There, I'm happy. I didn't spill any rum, did I? Or break a glass. Chance will kill me if I break her Mighty Mast glasses.

Donna said...

Great job, Bo'sun! Pirate Tilt-A-Whirl. LOL I'm feeling a little woozy though. I think I might need to have a liedown.

*grabs Hottie by the hand*

Be back in a bit.

Bosun said...

Boy, no Hottie ever goes to waste when Donna's around. I'm surprised she settled for just one this time. LOL!

Maybe we should attack our writing like we attack our fictitious little Pirate world. Anything is possible here. We need to apply the same attitude to the writing and just have fun with it.

Hal said...

Sin to the rescue with a rusty ice pick - I love it!

Donna said...

Maybe we should attack our writing like we attack our fictitious little Pirate world. Anything is possible here. We need to apply the same attitude to the writing and just have fun with it.

This is sublime. :) I am off to do this right now. I finally worked out the plot for my rewrite and I want to go have fun with it.

Oh, and I have a Hottie rotation, so they each get individualized, caring attention. They won't feel slighted that way. LOL

Bosun said...

Have fun, Donna!

Hal - That twit is doomed now.

Janga said...

Donna, I so needed this pep talk today. In fact, I should probably reread it every week or two. Thanks!

Hal, my sister had a situation similar to yours. She received death threats when she mentored five of her students through a sexual harassment case. She went through a couple of months of hell—being escorted to and from her building by security, putting blackout curtains on all her windows, forbidding her kids to check the mail, etc.—before they finally caught the guy. OTOH, I taught 30 years and the worst I had to deal with were a few smart mouths. I still laugh when I think of the student who yelled, “You can’t fail me. I’m going to medical school.” I did; I don’t know whether he made med school or not.

My driver’s exam was atypical. I should have failed and didn’t. My examiner was the fatherly sort. He kept patting my hand and saying, “Let’s try that again, sugar.” He didn’t even ask me to parallel park, something I still can’t do well.

Hellion said...

My examiner was the fatherly sort. He kept patting my hand and saying, “Let’s try that again, sugar.”

WHAT? Where was this examiner when I needed him?

THOUGH I will grant you when I took the test the 2nd time, the officer was so good looking, I was a nervous wreck and I backed up the car only using the rearview mirror (a no-no) AND I almost made a left turn rather than the right turn requested to head back to the office. He stopped me before I made the turn and said, "Please make a LEFT turn here." Oh.

So kind of him to feel sorry for me and let me go. *LOL*

P. Kirby said...

Mmm. I type about 100 mistakes a minute.

I decided to relearn the violin in my 30s. The violin, in the hands of a beginner, is a form of torture for all who are within earshot. Better than waterboarding.

But I kept at it. Got better. I'm an okay klezmer/celtic fiddler now.

Bosun said...

P. - I thought that same thing about the typing. LOL! I type really fast, but when mistakes were deducted, I'm afraid the number would be low.

I'd love to play an instrument again, but I was a drummer in HS band and I'm thinking my neighbors would not be happy if I took that up again.

Donna said...

Janga, I'm glad it helped. As I said, I needed this reminder too. So I should probably print it out because I can't rely on my memory! I loved the fatherly driving instructor. Mine looked like he'd just been released on parole. LOL

Donna said...

Hellion, now I'm thinking you need to write a story about the goodlooking driving examiner guy!

P., I admire you for keeping up with the violin. It does have a learning curve that can be hard on the ears (my sister did it for a few years). But it's awesome that you have that skill now. :)

Terri, I was timed on my typing before laptop or PC keyboards, so I might be able to go faster. LOL Of course, that requires me to actually get my fingers ON the keyboard! So I'm off, again, to do more stuff. One thing off the To Do list that wasn't really on today's. . .which makes room for something that I'm probably avoiding! LOL

Di R said...

Donna~Thank You! Just the kick in the pants I needed after my dismal contest score. (And why am I not this focused on the 98?) I didn't write at all yesterday, but today is a new day.

My brother had to teach me how to drive because when he was driving, he would routinely say, "Don't ever do this?" Hahaha!


Bosun said...

Donna - I learned on an electric typewriter, but went right to PC the next year, so that does likely play a part.

Di - Focus on the 98! She wants to see it on the shelves. She wanted to keep reading. Blow up those comments and stick them up where you can see them. LOL!

Scapegoat said...

Great blog!

Hmm...Have to admit I never failed a driving test. Maybe that means I should be the driver in any getaway chases!

The Hubby does call me "Mario" - becuase I like to speed up to go around curves! WHEEEEEEEE!

Also admitting that public speaking came naturally to me. But I grew up an only child of older parents so you learn really fast how to talk to adults older than you and I feel like that had a lot to do with how comfortable I am in crowds and with strangers.

Trying to figure out something I've worked hard to be good at is really hard for me. LOL. Honestly, things I'm good at just come naturally and the things I suck at I tend to always suck at!

Maybe scrapbooking...I'm SO NOT artistically inclined, but I love scrapbooks. But, I wouldn't say my books are really good. They definately are better than they used to be though!

Oh - and directions. That is something I have conquered! I used to be horrible with it, but since traveling so much I'm the one who can always get us where we need to go and the hubby gets us lost. Used to be the other way around. :)

Scapegoat said...

And I killed the blog....

Or maybe that last curve I took threw everyone overboard! Oh no!

Di R said...

OMG! Directions-I'm ALWAYS lost. I'm better than I used to be, but still not great. For example, last wednesday night I drove the kids to clubs, but because it had snowed 4 inches I got behind someone doing 30 in a 55 and my son missed the van to where he needed to be.
After I got him where he needed to be I got stuck half way up a hill. I called my husband for help, but when he asked where I was I had to tell him I had no idea.
Luckily he figured out where I was, but I got unstuck before he left the house.


Bosun said...

I've determined that being directionally challenged is hereditary. My ex could not find his way out of a paper bag and now my daughter is the same way. When she really starts driving *makes sign of the cross and sends up a giant prayer to slow down time* I'll have to invest in a GPS. Though there's a good chance she won't be able to work that either.

Good job getting unstuck, Di.

Julie said...

Great blog topic, Donna.

What do I struggle with/ Well ...

I hate to write letters. Did in fact go for fifteen years without wring one. But then? I found myself in a position were I could not Not write then. What to do? Well I’d rather read a book than write. So I was avoiding writing the letter by looking for a book on line. I was researching a writer’s back list on her website when I noticed a picture of this old looking chicken-thingie . Being the curious creature that I am I clicked on it … A blog appeared. I had no idea what a blog was. But the people there were intelligent and friendly and everyday they asked a question.
A question? Hmm questions need answers … and answer can be turned into Letters!
Honestly, I had never blogged before. Had in fact hardly even read any blogs before. But . I knew that after 15 years of not writing I was “rusty”. Not that I had a lot of writing technique or know-how to get rusted over. As I hadn’t had any sort of writing training to begin with. So I decided that blogging was just what I needed. That site became my English 101 class. They asked questions. I answered them. It was good practice. And by forcing myself to post my answers online I forced myself to put some effort into my post. You know, no effort = an embarrassingly bad bit of writing. There’s nothing quite as motivating as the risk public humiliation! Ha. I have no doubt that some … heck all … of my first posts showed my discomfort with writing … and grammar, spelling, sentence structure and …. Those Darn teeny-tiny comment window grumble grumble ! It did get easier as time went on. Figuring out how to use Word helped too! In the end I tried to forget that I was writing and I just pretended that I was having a conversation with someone.
Like you.

Julie said...

And yes, my blog posts became the backbone of my letters.

Donna said...

I'm back from 3 solid hours of writing, longhand, because I had to take my own advice and I'm glad I did. (Plus I wouldn't want all of you to give me a righteous asskicking!)

Di -- I'm glad it inspired you. And definitely focus on the 98. I understand that it's easier to fret about the low score, because somehow we think we can change their mind. But the fact that they didn't see the perfection that the 98 judge did means they have their mind set in stone--so jump in your getaway car and leave that judge behind!

Donna said...

Scape, it's funny you mentioned scrapbooking, because I feel kinda challenged by that. And it's because I started out with rubber stamping, making cards that are 5 x 4 inches. I didn't know HOW to fill up something that was 12 x 12 inches. LOL It took me a while, and when I do make pages, it seems like it takes forever. I just try to use the other knowledge I have and transfer it over to that new, bigger format.

Donna said...

And directions. . .woo doggie. I think a GPS is the greatest invention ever, and when I moved to Long Island, I broke down and got one because I had to drive all over the state, and I would have never felt safe and secure if I didn't have it. As long as I knew I could plug in my home address and make it home, I would drive anywhere. Sadly, it broke right after I moved back to MA. *moment of silence*

Donna said...

Julie, pretending you're having a conversation with someone is the best way to write. :) I used to write letters a long time ago, to several friends, and I miss that, as well as the excitement of getting a nice long letter in the mail. It's really like having a little bit of that person with you. I love email because I hate to wait. LOL And my emails tend to be as long as letters--I think they'll end up being the backbone of my memoirs one day. :)