An Optimistic Writer?

I was once known as an optimistic person, not the stereotypical annoying, peppy, cheerleader, bobble-head sort of perky, but just a girl that would try to find the sunnier side to life. (And yes, ok, I was a cheerleader growing up, but again, I was not overly perky and annoying.)

I remember one time in particular where my optimism was first brought to my attention. I was in the 11th grade. I had just bounced into my English class with a smile on my face and plopped down at my desk. Mr. Cadden, my English teacher, stood in front of me with his hands on his hips. He looked desperate, he had this crazy look in his eye as he raised his hands and shrugged his shoulders.

“What?” he demanded.

My heart stopped. I was, er, am, very forgetful and I panicked thinking I forgot to do something, write something, present something. When I saw more students take their seats my heart started again, this time at a frantic pace. Like everyone else, I hate to be embarrassed. I get all sweaty and my face turns so red that you can’t tell where my face ends and my hair begins.

“Um. What?” Dammit. I could feel my face turning as red as my hair.

“Just tell me what, Kaye. What is it?”

I looked around at the questioning looks from my classmates and tried to shrug off the attack like it was an everyday occurrence for the English teacher to bark nonsensical questions at me.

“I..I’m sorry. I…I don’t know what you mean.”

“Everyday you bounce in here with a smile on your face and I want to know how, why! Do you see someone before you come in here to put that smile on your face? Do you like my class that much? Because you’re a teenager, I know you can’t just be smiling because you’re happy!”

That got snickers from the class.

“I’m, um, naturally happy?” My voice was weak and shaky. I couldn’t tell if he was making fun of me or….no, I was pretty sure he was making fun of me.

He smiled and walked away. When he got back to his desk, he turned and said, “Good. I hope you stay that way.” With that he started his lecture.

I said I was once an optimistic person. Apparently, Mr. Cadden didn’t hope enough because I lost a lot of that “cup is always half full” crap. Sad part is, I don’t know when. Maybe it was during college when a lot of life’s mysteries started to unfold before me eyes and I struggled to figure out how to solve them, not understanding that for most part I couldn’t.

Maybe it was when I graduated college and was thrown into the “real world” where no one knew my name and didn’t care where I came from. Personally, I think it was just the daily struggles of life that got me down. Paying bills, cleaning the house, doing the laundry, trying to find a place in this world, you know, the usual stuff.

The really funny part is I don’t think I ever really noticed that I lost that “happy-go-lucky” part of me. From what my friends tell me I’m a fun girl to be around, but then again, they’re my friends, they better say that or something even better about me. 😉

What made me stop and notice the change was when I started to write. When I participated in NaNaWriMo this past November I did it on a whim, not really expecting anything out of it. However, I not only got my first novel out of the experience, but I got a little confidence back, and with that confidence came the optimism. Which is hysterical when you think about what I’m up against in terms of becoming published.

Its not a nice world out there. People may read this blog and think I’m an idiot, naive, boring or just totally out of the loop. Those same people may find it necessary to make fun of me, the genre that I choose to write in, or maybe its just the fact that I am pursuing publication at all is enough to bash me and my hopes. And let’s not even get into the whole trying to find an agent, publisher and all the fun rejection letters in my future.

I think what my problem before was that I felt if I made my expectations too high there would be a higher drop when I failed. So, instead of aiming high, I aimed to the attainable and with no challenges in my life it got, well, boring, depressing even. Writing challenged me, it made me aim high again. I’ll admit, there are times, a lot of times, when I sit at my computer and think “I suck.” There are even more times when I email Savana and write “I suck.” But that’s not really going to change anything, huh? What’s the point in thinking that? None.

So, with that said, I’m back to looking at the glass and seeing it half full. I’m not delusional. I don’t think that just because I think, hope and pray that it will happen that it will. I have no control over critics, agents, publishers, I only have control over myself and how I handle the obstacles.

I can’t say if it will happen for me, but that won’t stop me from trying or writing….or smiling.

One of my cast members approached me at rehearsal the other day and asked me why I always smiled.

“Every time I look over at you, you have a smile on your face. You nuts or something,” he asked with a wink so I wouldn’t be offended.

I smiled and said, “No, I’m just naturally happy.”

Please share your thoughts on dreams, goals and aspirations. Is it easy for you to get down on yourself? How do you pick yourself back up? And is smiling often such a bad thing? I mean, really people, am I nuts?

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About Karen DeLabar

A writer who divides her time between her family and her computer while sparing some time to her other loves of theatre, books and scotch.
This entry was posted in Blog, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to An Optimistic Writer?

  1. Lisa Kramer says:

    Optimism is a gift that is hard to hold on to. Stay optimistic, because that is how you follow your dreams. I don’t know if there is any hope for me to reach that golden ring, but at least if I stay optimistic I’ll keep trying. When I lose my optimism (which happens often) then I enter that world of depression where nothing functions right, and I accomplish nothing.

    On a side note, what show are you working on?

    • Kaye Peters says:

      The best thing I can do, or anyone at that matter, is just to keep going. I’ll have my ups and downs but that’s going to happen. My biggest problem is I get caught up in what other people think I forget the most important thing and that is that I’m writing for me. When I remember that my mood lightens and writing doesn’t seem quite impossible any more.

      Both Savana and I are a part of our community theatre’s production of Willy Wonka. If you’re curious check out the theatre’s website – http://www.cattytheatre.org. It’s not bad for a small community nonprofit theatre.

      • Lisa Kramer says:

        Welcome to my world of worrying too much about what other’s think.

        The show looks fun and fabulous! I hope you will share the results.

  2. Shay Fabbro says:

    Reading this was like reading about someone writing about ME!! I have always been upbeat, positive, life-is-good, count-your-blessings kind of girl. I also have the added full-of-energy which tends to annoy the hell out of people. There are two speeds for me: fast and stop. That’s it. I talk fast, read fast, walk fast, drive fast. Hell, I even dream fast! But it’s the combination of this energy and never quit attitude that keeps me going. I do have down times but the thing is, I don’t allow myself to wallow in sorrow and doubt. When the dark thoughts take over and I begin to wonder if I should bother writing anymore, I chastise myself or turn to writer-friends who are going through the same crap. And soon, my mood brightens and I find renewed energy and hope.

    • Kaye Peters says:

      I thank God for Twitter. Thanks to Twitter I can turn to others in the writing community that are dodging the same obstacles that I am and I don’t feel so alone. I get encouragement and support there; its like my writing lifeline.

      And ah, yes, how could I have forgotten to mention the energy level that accompanies the happiest of people? On that front, yes, I was annoying. I have to say that I have mellowed in that area, which, with 2 young kids I wish that would have made a come back as well!

  3. Sonia M. says:

    It is not nuts to be optimistic. Or if it is, it’s my kind of crazy. LOL. I’m rather moody, so I’m not always cheeful, but I tend to come back there…especially when I’m writing. Writing, even if it’s horror, keeps me happy. Maybe that is kind of crazy…now that I think about it. *shrug*

  4. Savana Quinn says:

    I am a bit late to the party today. Stupid sinus infection. 🙂

    I also tend to be very optimistic, although I must say there are days that both Kaye and I get into this crazy “I suck, my writing sucks, I give up” mood. Luckily, it has only happened once where we both hit that mood on the same day.

    That is where having fellow writers and friend that are also primarily optimistic come in handy. When she is down, I give great pep-talks. When I am down, she returns the favor. And, on the one occasion where we were both overwhelmed and ready to give up (more on the building a platform thing than the actual writing), we turned to Twitter and our writer friends there gave some amazing pep-talks in 140 characters or less. 🙂

    • Kaye Peters says:

      I’m horrible at keeping it under 140 characters, so I usually resort to actual emails. I’m a writer, go figure I get a little wordy!

      We also have to give major props to our husbands who listen to us whine, wail and cry like a baby when the day is zapped of all creativity and we just sit there in a stupor. They’re pretty good at bringing us out of it, or at least reminding us about our online support.

      So, thank you all!

  5. Sonia M. says:

    I’m not always optimistic with my writing though. I’m happier when I’m writing, but I do tend to obsess over the pieces themselves. I’m convinced they’re horrid. I worry about spelling and grammar. Sometimes I have to close my eyes when I post a piece. LOL.

    • Kaye Peters says:

      You mean people actually post with their eyes open? No matter how many times I read over a post, have Sparky or Savana look at it, the second its up for the world to see every punctuation, spelling or grammar mistake jumps out at me.

      You know the worst? My comments on people’s comments. I’m forever forgetting a word or not making sense. I need an editor for comments. Horrible. (How’s that for being an optimistic writer?)

      🙂

      • Sonia M. says:

        😀 😀 😀

        I see those mistakes in my posts and comments too. Drives me batty. Yet another way for me to obsess.

      • Savana Quinn says:

        I need an editor for my comments, too. I re-read them and some of them make no sense at all. Oh, and how about a Twitter and FB editor too, while you are at it? 🙂

  6. Sonia M. says:

    Yep. Need a Twitter and FB editor too. LOL

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