Friday, November 16, 2012

Living Creatively

By Peg Brantley, an author who utterly loves what she does.

"Love what you've got or create something new."

I made that off-the-cuff statement recently to someone. I was commenting on a surprising litany of snarky, negative authors who had big enough names they could be named in a post for snarky, negative authors.

I believe we create our lives, even the crap we have to deal with. I also believe we can find the spirit— the direction—to facilitate change, if that's what we want at our core. A further belief is that we're in some kind of weird accordance with a more powerful element who knows better than we do what we need to experience in order to truly facilitate growth as spiritual beings.

To repeat: I believe we create our lives, even the crap we have to deal with. Which means we can change it. It's one of those things that is simply stated but not particularly easy to bring into reality.

What? Are you saying I asked for this?

Well, yeah. In a sort of sideways metaphysical kind of way, you did. As did I. And the sooner you wrap your head around that, the sooner you can decide to create something new. Something different. It probably won't happen overnight, but it can happen.

I've never liked the saying "Pull yourself up by your bootstraps" because quite simply, some people don't have boots. But everyone, even those who aren't fortunate enough to live in a country dedicated to free-will, have at least an internal choice to make. Every single one of us, whether we have boots or not, can choose to allow our internal lives to go in a snarky, negative direction—or not.

Every morning I write three pages of stream-of-consciousness thoughts. When there's something in my life I'm not happy with, I work it out—evaluate my level of control—and facilitate change. When there's something I'm not happy with and have no control over, it's time to try and understand what I need to learn from it and what my options are—what direction I want to choose. That's my choice. That's my control. There is no reason, ever, that I should become a snarky, negative author.

As a writer, I face things I cannot control professionally day in and day out. Even as an Indie, there's only so much I can make happen. The rest is up to the Fates or God or simply Readers. Also as a writer, I can use this lack of control to more fully develop my characters. To validate both their weaknesses and their strengths—because in the end, they are reflections of me. Even the snarky, negative characters.

And if I'm ever fortunate enough to find myself in a position to be named in a group of well-known authors, I can promise you that snark will have nothing to do with it.


  1. Peg, you are so spot-on!
    Sometimes I simply can't read the posts and blog comments because I come away feeling a little hollow inside. The negativity is debilitating, to say the least, but we certainly don't have to slide down that slippery slope ourselves. Every day brings at least one positive thing, and recognizing that helps me sidestep the bad stuff.

    Thanks for a thought-provoking post.

  2. Excellent post, Peg! Thanks for your eye-opening and inspiring words. It's all about choices, isn't it? Good reminder.

  3. There is a lot of negativity in the publishing industry right now. Publishers and bookstores are struggling against the new distribution model, and many writers are discovering that their publishers aren't offering the support they need. I try to be empathetic to everyone.

    But I also recognize that I'm in a terrific position that I'm deeply grateful for. And I try to express that gratitude daily...and often publicly. Controlling my own thought patterns to keep them positive (rather than anxious) is something I struggle with daily. But I know it's essential to peace of mind.

    Life is good. Thanks for a thoughtful post.

  4. What is it they say? That it takes more muscles to frown than to smile?

    Toni, I never have to look very far for a positive thing in my life, but sometimes I do have to look.

    You're exactly right, Jodie. We choose our response to events and situations. It's up to us.

    L.J., I get that anxious feeling all the time. That's when it's usually important for me to either take a walk… or just sit my butt down and write.

  5. Great blog, Peg! I tend to beat myself up a lot over the issue of "Did I ask for this?" Because self-sabotage can be as subtle as a whisper, yet the outcome potent as a storm. In my case, it has nothing to do with snark or sour grapes, just effort, or lack thereof. Oh, dear, I'm getting cryptic. LOL. Sorry. It's just that this has been on my mind lately.

    That said, I'm still a firm believer in positivity. And you're right, it takes more effort to swim than it does to sink. Bravo on a thought-provoking blog. :)

  6. Thanks for your equally thought-provoking comment, Karen.

    Effort, or lack thereof, is also a choice I think. We decide what something is worth every time we undertake any kind of activity.

    One of my favorite quotes is this: The chief cause of unhappiness is giving up what you want the most for what you want at the moment.

  7. I always do my best to ignore the negative and focus on the positive--both in my career as an author and in my everyday life. Negative energy is just fear turned outward. I've learned there are no hard times, just hard lessons; you can find them in any situation. You just have to find them. And the hardest ones are usually the most valuable.

    Thanks for reminding me of this, Peg.


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