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Creativity coach, writing and creative process instructor, speaker, author of Around the Writer's Block: Using Brain Science to Write the Way You Want (Penguin/Tarcher 2012) and Dancing in the Dragon's Den (Red Wheel Weiser), Teaching Artist at the Loft Literary Center.

Time to Be Brave Again


sitting-on-couch-with-remoteI was sitting on the couch last night with about a hundred pages of my novel manuscript sitting next to me.

Officially, I set the novel aside five years ago so I could focus on Around the Writer’s Block. Unofficially, I set it aside because I didn’t know how to move forward without risking more rejection (read more about How the Desire to Be Rejection-Proof Blocked My Novel).

In the “Daring Imperfection” post, I promised I’d return to my novel in January, 2014.

So it’s January and there I sat with my novel beside me and the remote in my hand. I watched an episode of Two Broke Girls. Not because I particularly like Two Broke Girls; because I was — surprise-surprise — distracting myself from the novel sitting next to me.

I watched another episode of Two Broke Girls. I won’t even attempt to transcribe my rationale for watching another half-hour of TV. That episode segued into The People’s Choice Awards.

sara-bareilles-performance-peoples-choice-awards-2013-leadGod only knows how long I could have let my mind be kidnapped, if it weren’t for Sara Bareilles.

When Sara starting singing “Show me how big your brave is,” I remembered that “Brave” is one of my writers anthems. I remembered that I want to be a brave writer. I remembered I am a brave writer.

I clicked the TV off before Sara even finished the song. And I picked up my novel.

Sometimes, the Universe sends me reminders of what I’m really supposed to do and who I’m really supposed to be. Let’s be brave together. What writing project do you dare to start or continue in 2014?

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8 Comments on “Time to Be Brave Again”

  1. Eileen January 11, 2014 at 1:55 pm #

    yeah, it’s weird, but I get messages in books and TV shows all the time, and I try not to watch tons of TV. There’s a short novel where a secondary character actually has books “following” her and appearing wherever she goes, even if she throws them away, so she eventually gives up and reads them. They always have something vitally important to say to her. The book is called, “The Sugar Queen,” and I’ve always enjoyed how she wrote about that character with the books following her. 🙂

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    • rosannebane January 13, 2014 at 9:13 am #

      Thanks Eileen. I’ll add The Sugar Queen to my reading list.

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  2. Daphne Gray-Grant January 10, 2014 at 10:03 am #

    Hmm, I’m not sure your first sentence actually contained any passive! “You” were the subject and “you” were sitting on the couch. Your manuscript was the object. I don’t think an object can be rendered passive. I mention this because so many writers equate any “bad” writing with the “passive” (the New Yorker made this mistake, last year I think. You can find it via Google.) This is too broad a brush to use. As well, sometimes it makes SENSE to use the passive.

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    • rosannebane January 10, 2014 at 11:34 am #

      Thanks Daphne. I confess I do get the grammatical terms confused from time to time. What’s the tense in “I was sitting” compared to “I sat”? Is the “was” (form of the verb ‘to be’) a marker for passive voice?

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      • publicationcoach January 10, 2014 at 3:01 pm #

        No, tense is not a marker for voice. In a passive sentence, the subject is not revealed: e.g. Mistakes were made. (Who made those mistakes? We don’t know!) Passive can be surprisingly difficult to identify and many writers reflexively use the word “passive” to describe writing they view as bad. It may be bad, but it isn’t always passive! This tends to contribute to misperceptions about it. Here is an excellent article on the subject by my all-time favourite grammarian, Constance Hale: http://nyti.ms/1d8wf7f

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        • rosannebane January 13, 2014 at 9:19 am #

          Thanks Daphne. I think the subject can be revealed in a passive sentence. “Mistakes were made by the team” is still passive because the object (mistakes) of the verb (made) is the subject of the sentence, no?

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          • publicationcoach January 13, 2014 at 1:07 pm #

            Yes, that’s correct. If the object is turned into the subject the sentence is still passive.

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  1. New Book Update: Loving Eyes Are Not Blind | The Bane of Your Resistance - January 22, 2014

    […] days later, I wrote a post, Time to Be Brave Again, where I acknowledged the resistance I felt and how I used TV to distract myself. That was also […]

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