Tag Archives: insecurities

An Author with Poor Penmanship

29 May

Recently, I sent out letters and signed swag to some of my super fans who attended an online release day party for my books. And like so many times before that, I found myself dreading writing the letters. Why? It’s simple really.

I am an author with poor penmanship.

Now, please don’t tell me “I’m sure it isn’t horrible, you’re just being humble,” because, seriously, I struggle to read my own handwriting…and it’s never going to get better, no matter how much I practice or try.

My story is a little strange, but here it goes.

When I was eleven, I was at basketball practice before school when I tripped and fell. The growth plate in my left wrist fractured pretty severely, but, for those of you who don’t know, at that age, your growth plate is malleable. And it didn’t show physical signs of injury. (No bruising, blood, etc.) So when I went to the nurse’s office to explain the pain I was having, she wrote me off and said I was trying to avoid a math test I had later that day. (This still blows my mind, because I was a straight-A student, and I’ve always loved math.) Nevertheless, she sent me back to class and never called my father. Fast forward twelve hours later, and I’m in excruciating pain when I get home. At this point, the school told my father, and he is medically trained, so he took me to the hospital. Problem was, the damage was basically done. My left wrist is still damaged today…I’m also naturally left-handed. So, I had to learn to write with my right hand, and it’s atrocious. Yes, I can write with my left, but it hurts, so I basically type everything. Conclusion: My handwriting is UGLY.

But I can’t exactly explain that story to my fans in every letter. I’m always anxious when I write letters to fans, because I’m afraid of what they’ll think. Will they think a four-year-old wrote them a note? Will my poor handwriting ruin the excitement of the letter for them? I see all these beautiful letters authors send to their fans and my handwriting becomes an insecurity of mine.

Then I got to thinking…Why do I have to have an excuse for poor penmanship?

 My handwriting doesn’t change my ability to write a story. Other than struggling to read my own notes sometimes, I’ve never felt at a disadvantage for bad handwriting because that’s silly. But I’m still insecure about it. I see my chicken scratches in books I’m signing for fans and I cringe at my letters to others, and I worry that they’ll judge my handwriting, as if someone with bad handwriting can’t possibly be a writer.

I’m trying to get over this insecurity of mine, but here I am, still frowning when I mail out letters. Maybe one day I’ll be 100% confident in my chicken scratches. Or maybe I will continue to love typing more than handwriting.

You see, I find typing beautiful.

I’m a typist. My mother was also a typist. In fact, she was an associate for a lawyer, who had poor spelling, so she was constantly typing and re-typing his documents. He also smoked a mint pipe, and I remember this fondly. (Why? I will never know.) But when I was sick from school, I would sit in the lawyer’s office, sipping Sprite, and watch my mother type and type and type.

As a kid, I remember watching my mom type like someone would watch a pianist play the piano. Her speed was rhythmic. I found the entire process hypnotizing. And this is before I broke my hand or became a seasoned writer. All I wanted to do was learn how to type. And when I was in college, I would calm down after class by re-typing my notes.

I find it easy to lose myself in the keyboard. I’m at home when I’m using the keyboard. And, for me, the keyboard is my form of expression. The keyboard gives me a voice, and I can’t imagine anything more beautiful than that—even envy-inducing calligraphy.

It would be nice to write beautifully one day…but I think it would be even better if I found a way to let me insecurity go.

I always have my keyboard.

~SAT

#WW The Doubtful Writer – Who Says I Can Do This?

1 Apr

SURPRISE – This is not an April Fool’s joke

Clean Teen Publishing is hosting a Goodreads Giveaway April 1 – June 23. On June 23 – coincidentally on my birthday – three ARCs of Minutes Before Sunset will be given away to lucky and awesome readers (such as yourself). Enter here or below.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Minutes Before Sunset by Shannon A. Thompson

Minutes Before Sunset

by Shannon A. Thompson

Giveaway ends June 23, 2015.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

#WW The Doubtful Writer – Who Says I Can Do This?

This first paragraph is more or less an intro, but I feel like it was important to add it. I don’t normally have an intro for my posts, but this one wasn’t written in my usual, positive self. I wrote it about two weeks ago, which – coincidentally – was also the same day of the anniversary of my mother’s death. It has been 12 years since she passed, but the day still affects me in many ways, and I had a day full of doubt. I wrote down how I felt about it, and since I know many writers have many days full of doubts, I decided I wanted to share it on here. Hopefully, it allows fellow writers to feel less alone, more normal, and accepting toward an array of other emotions I think we’ve all had at one point. The photo you see below is of my father and my mother. It’s one of my favorite photos of them, and if you follow me on Facebook, then you already know how much these two people have influenced me by encouraging me to follow my dreams. Encouragement is a never-ending type of love.

parents

I’m having one of those days – you know them, I’m sure. The days where we doubt ourselves can seem like the longest, most dreadful days. I am already counting the seconds between now and tomorrow, knowing that I will, most likely, feel better tomorrow, but for this singular moment in time, I am writing out how I feel because writing has always helped me slow down those overwhelming emotions that drown you with fear and frustration and frivolous ideas like, “why did I ever think I could do this anyway?”

I don’t think I’ve ever believed I could do this – this writing thing – but then again, I’m not sure it’s about thinking you can do something but rather doing it anyway and trying to do your best every day, even during the days where you question it. I love writing. I love sharing my writing with readers. I love connecting with fellow writers and readers. I love everything that revolves around words and sharing them. That’s what matters. And most days, that’s enough to push me forward, but hard days still happened.

I can’t remember the last time I felt this unsure, but I’m sure I had another day just like this not too long ago. I’m only 23 years old, after all. Any life experience in writing I can think of is probably (at most) a little over a decade away. I, hopefully, have many more decades to go, but I know I’ve always believed I don’t have many decades in front of me at all. Perhaps it stems from watching three of my grandparents, three dogs, and my mother die before I was a teenager. I just can’t bring myself to believe in a long and prosperous life, so I’ve focused all of my attention on a meaningful one, no matter how long or prosperous it could be.

I’m uncharacteristically sad today, but that knowledge doesn’t lessen the depression much more. I normally write about continuing forward and confidence and love and a peaceful state of mind. I want this website to be a cheerful place, an encouraging place, and I promise I’m still trying to bring out the inspiration for the day.

There will be days that doubt takes over. There might even be weeks or seasons or years. But there will be another good day if you let it come, and there will always be more to say, to think about, to write about. It’s a matter of picking up that pen, accepting the doubt, and writing down your words anyway. It’s a matter of doing exactly this – expressing it, even if you don’t know if you should – and moving forward into the future, knowing you’re one word closer to meeting a new goal.

My goal today was to continue forward, no matter how much doubt suddenly rushed into me, and I did, and I will, and I do so by reminding myself of the love and passion that goes into my writing career as well as all of my readers who’ve shown support and care to me.

We stick together, and we keep our pens up until we run out of ink.

(And when we run out of ink, we walk to the nearest CVS and pick up more pens.)

Thank you for loving me – I love you in the same way I love this peace that has come by sharing it.

~SAT

servicesAlso, who else is looking forward to writing during the rainy month of April? 

Personally, I write at night, but during the day, I help authors find readers and interviewers. I also edit manuscripts and manage social media accounts. I can even create promo photos for you.

Feel free to check out my services as well as some reviews.

Message me at shannonathompson@aol.com if you have any questions – or even just to say hi!

#MondayBlogs: Being (Good) Enough

2 Mar

Intro:

Another Monday brings another fantastic (and relatable) guest blogger who covers a topic revolving around reading and writing. Today’s heartfelt message is brought to you by Sandra Nyamu, blogger from Death On The Road. I think every writer has felt like they weren’t “good enough” to be published, and every writer has to find a way to overcome that feeling. Today, we are overcoming it together – thanks to Sandra Nyamu.

Being (Good) Enough

I am a senior in university. Last year, taking a required human sexuality course, my professor had us keep a journal about our thoughts and things, to be turned in at the end of the semester. The usual sorts of things; sexual anxieties, thoughts about genitalia, gay porn and clitoral structure. At least, that was what mine was about. Handing it in at the end of the semester, the professor told me that she loved my journal and thought I wrote well. So well in fact that in her estimation, I could do it for real. Become a writer, the published kind.

Kind words. She was telling me this and I was feeling, proud, flattered and a little overwhelmed, but mostly like there was a furnace in my stomach and that I was going to throw up. Becoming a writer, for me has always been that fantasy that I harbored dearly and practiced quietly. I roll quietly, but I roll hard. There is a very misplaced romance about the writer. Typewriters and steaming cups of tea, you know what I’m talking about. Frustration, tears and half-filled notebooks feels more accurate. Maybe it’s because of my upbringing that flattery evokes shame, but feeling like I was going to throw up, I understood why I was so anxious.

Faces- AbandonedI didn’t think I was good enough.

She believed I was good. To some degree, hell I believe I am good but then that elusive ENOUGH.

It’s never enough. You can be abundantly capable and talented but when you start thinking about being ‘something’ enough, you start to compare your ability. Can you create a story so compelling that it births a rabid and faithful following, sure but not like J.K Rowling did. Can you make casual yet tasteful oral sex jokes, yeah but not like Chinua Achebe did. Can you construct a complex metaphor hidden in a sob story about a weepy rich dude, yeah but not like Scott Fitzgerald did.

That fucking enough. It means nothing but is so charged with all the skill you think you don’t have that you believe it. ‘Not good’ as an assertion, that makes sense. That you can work with.  ‘Not enough’; that is a solid statement as well. When you invite ‘enough’ to the party, suddenly you introduce lack. Every lack you probably don’t have but then again, maybe do have, just not in the measure that you are convinced that you do. Lack of good words to use. Lack of smartness to show off. Lack of, here’s that other bad word, talent.

Enough comes alive and it becomes the thing that convinces you every last sentence was crap, that you are no Hemingway, you are no Ms. Bronte (any of them) and giving up would be the best course of action. When it has convinced you that you can’t write for shit, it moves on to other more enjoyable thing to devalue, yourself.

It happens in one fluid motion because writing is sort of intimate. Your words come from places that probably are only ever seen through those very words. If your writing isn’t good enough then you the writer are fucking awful. What was that thing that Gandhi said about self-doubt? No, he didn’t say anything about self-doubt. But if he did, he would probably say that doubting yourself is like sawing the arm off that you are using to write. Or maybe something less dramatic and more profound.

Deciding that there is an enough to live up to, to be up to, to write up to is exactly the way that recycle bins get filled, the way that half-filled notebooks become discarded, and great ideas atrophy unexpressed in fantastic brains. Maybe I am the type of person who could become published one day. Because I am good. I am enough. Writing is so subjective and intimate that there is never a good enough. There just is.

Bio: Sandra goes to school a lot and tries to have good ideas in her free time. Overwhelmingly average but aggressively earnest. When not reading or watching the Food Network, she tweets at Sandra Nyamu (@sandwichnyamu) | Twitter and blogs at Death On The Road.

Want to be a guest blogger? I would love to have you on! I am accepting original posts that focus on reading and writing. A picture and a bio are encouraged. If you qualify, please email me at shannonathompson@aol.com.

~SAT

#SATurday: The Scar of Childhood

17 Jan

The Scar of Childhood

Mine is on the left side of my right leg, directly below the knee. I cannot describe the shape because it depends on the temperature of the day and what I was wearing. Sometimes, that piece of scarred flesh is blue, but most days it radiates red. The biggest scar from my childhood will probably never go away – as most scars do – but I mean to say, “go away” in another way, in a way others bring it up over and over again. In other words, my scar bothers people.

It is nothing new to me. The bits of whispers or gestures caught in my peripheral senses reflect the summer days I dare to wear shorts. Sometimes, someone even asks if I’m okay or if I need a Band-Aid. I don’t judge them. After all, I am aware of how red the burn scar gets after a day in the sun. Up close, it can look like it just happened. From a distance, it sometimes appears to be bleeding.

Gross? Definitely. But I do wish I could wear shorts without questioning the number of people I will surely gross out during my daily commute. Being asked if I have a disease from a complete stranger isn’t exactly a confidence boost, so I generally wear pants all year around – just to avoid all the trouble.

I’ve tried to overcome this insecurity of mine. Trust me. I have gone through the stare-all-you-want phase. But it ended somewhere along the way – on a day I was too tired to explain, “No, it isn’t contagious” and follow up with the explanation of where it came from.

In case you were wondering what a Vino moped looks like

In case you were wondering what a Vino moped looks like

It happened in 2006. I had just turned 14, and I was celebrating with my favorite gift from 2003. My father had gave me a Vino moped painted a merlot red (my favorite color). Why he thought this was safe for a teenager is still beyond me, but it wasn’t illegal on private property nor is it rare for preteens and teenagers to have mopeds and dirt bikes in the Midwest. Plus, I did drive it for two years without incident. The third year, 2006, brought the incident.

We had a forest of acres behind our house. If you’ve read Take Me Tomorrow, these are the same trees Sophia falls in love with – the trees I crashed my moped into.

It’s impossible to explain the logic going through my head that day, but the forest had mowed trails I drove on all the time. Perhaps it was familiarity that allowed me to ignore the dangers of that specific day. The difference this particular moment was the small amount of moisture on the ground. The end result was enough mud to sling my back tire out from under me.

The engine landed on my leg.

I guess that is how scars are born – singular moments, sometimes in moments much like other moments, with only one dramatic change, but the scarring moment stays with you forever while all the others melt together or melt away.

For me, childhood is much like that scar – a collection of good memories I cannot separate from one or the other and a few, very defined moments I cannot sever from my every day life – but I would not wish it away.

The absence of my scar might make my daily life easier – simpler – but I would lose a story to tell. I would lose MY story. I would lose me.

~SAT

P.S. I have worked with some wonderful authors this week through my Services, and I wanted to give them all a big shout-out! Check out their work by clicking the links below.

threeuahotrs

A Time to Reap by Jonas Lee (YA, fantasy, time-traveling)

Red Queen: The Substrate Wars by Jeb Kinnison (YA, thriller, modern-day dystopia)

Along the Way to Happily-Ever-After by T.N. Carpenter (self-help, memoir about marriage)

My Insecurities and How I Overcame Them

18 Feb

Before I start I have one article I would like everyone who plays Candy Crush Saga to consider. As many of you know I wrote, Why You Should Boycott King and Candy Crush Saga, less than a month ago, and now I have another reason to encourage it. Please read this: CandySwipe Open Letter to King regarding trademark. We cannot sit back and allow corporations to take over the little guy in any field, especially artistic ones. Thank you for taking a minute out of your day.

After my previous post about my mother’s death affecting my feelings about graduation, I received many heartfelt messages here and in my email. I cannot express how much I appreciate your encouragement and how you took a minute to share your personal story in order to help me. I am always blown away by how lovely everyone is. Thank you.

You are the single reason I decided I had to write this post today. 

Everyone has insecurities. It happens. It’s natural. We’re human, after all. And we live in a world that is often setting up expectations full of judgement. I am no different than anyone else. I have had my list of insecurities. I don’t normally do this, and I probably won’t do it again for a long time, but I thought I would share some facts about myself that I used to struggle with that I haven’t shared before. Again, this is in the hopes of helping others embrace themselves, especially those parts of you that you cannot change. 

1. My handwriting is horrible – seriously horrible. 

I was originally left-handed, but I now write with my right hand. Before this switch, my handwriting was normal. Now, I can’t even read it sometimes. I often get told I “write like a boy” – which, in itself, I now think is wrong.

But what’s the reason? When I was eleven, I was showing someone how to shoot a basketball in my morning gym class. That’s when I tripped, and my hand slammed into the floor. At the time, I didn’t know it, but I had broken my growth plate. When I told the school nurse I was hurt, they sent me back to class because they thought I was trying to skip a math test. I didn’t go to the hospital until nine that evening. Consequensly, I did permanent damage, and my right arm is now significantly longer than my left arm. Instead of handwriting, I definitely type everything up. But I’m not mad about the situation. The nurse was doing her job, and things happen. Mistakes happen. I embrace it. I learned how to write with my right hand, I use black, G-2 pens to cheer myself up (because those pens are lovely) and I often show off my shorter arm as a party joke. When it hurts, (because it often hurts), I remind myself that I can always exercise it to make it stronger. I also remind myself that there are people who don’t have hands at all. I am lucky that I can still type with it, that I still have it, and knowing how lucky I am has allowed me to stay positive about physical therapy with my hand and overall arm strength.

2. I have bad depth perception.

This is me, and I love being me.

This is me, and I love being me. I also love putting my hair on top of my head like a bird nest.

Believe it or not, my eyes are totally different sizes. It’s true, and before you think this is normal, it is significant (although most cannot tell until I point it out.) I actually have depth perception problems from it, which I was diagnosed with my freshman year in college. They have to test my eyes every time I get a driver’s license renewed. Perhaps this is why I’m so clumsy. (I hit everything.) But I can laugh at myself. Learning to laugh at myself is pretty easy and quite enjoyable. I cannot change the size of my eyes or how I physically see the world, but I can change how I mentally see the world. I can have a positive attitude about the world.

3. I talk funny. (I say “funny” because it often makes people laugh.) 

I was born in Allentown, Pennsylvania. By the time I was fifteen, I had also lived in Oklahoma, Wisconsin, Georgia, Kansas, and Missouri. This has caused some confusion in my speech patterns and idioms, often causing me to stutter. I have a lot of things backwards, and my accents come out together – at the same time, I can sound like a southern belle that once lived in Canada (mainly because my father lived in Canada, and I’ve picked up his phrases as well as the ones I received from Green Bay, Wisconsin.) Saying “turn on the garburator” at a party isn’t understood at an American house-warming party, but I sure love explaining it. Those moments that I have to take time to explain what I am saying have now become moments that allow me to explain my background and how it has shaped me into the individual that I am today. And I love who I am today, stuttering or not.

4. My eyebrows are REALLY far apart

I’ve even had someone email me this statement before, like they thought they were helping me from over tweezing. Believe it or not, I was born that way, and I know my left eyebrow sits halfway over my eye. I got the look from my grandfather, and you know what? My grandfather was a pretty awesome person. So good for my spaced out eyebrows. They show off my family history. They show off the genes that also make me who I am. They remind me of family.

5. I am really pale, and I don’t tan…or burn.

I swear. I went to Puerto Rico, barely used sunscreen, and nothing happened. I just don’t’ react – although I can admit that I got extremely burned once in my life. (And that was not fun!) When I was a teenager, I hated how pale I was because it was “cool” to be tan, and everyone thought I stayed inside all of the time. (Which I do now.) But you know what? I like my skin. I like how pale I am because it is me. I don’t care if I glow under black lights. I like who I am, and – again – it’s my Welsh roots. It’s also something I share with my late mother (as well as my crazy, curly hair that I used to hide because straight hair was “cool.”) I should be proud, and I am. Just for clarification reasons, because I do not want this to be taken the wrong way: I have nothing against being tan or any other color for that matter. This is simply me embracing who I am. I am not, in any way, trying to encourage others to be pale like me. Physical appearances do not matter, and that is the ultimate point. 

Now that I shared a few of my previous insecurities, I wanted to add one thing:

I am genuinely a happy person, but there are days that I regress, and that’s okay. I look at insecurities the same way. Even after overcoming them, you might have an insecure moment or two or hundreds over a lifetime, but that’s okay. Just try to remember what’s really important – and that’s what’s on the INSIDE and what resides in your ACTIONS. 

I could can cry about my eyebrows or I can learn how to make them do the wave and laugh at my goofy expressions. I can complain about my injuries like my left hand, but I can also remember that I have other parts of my body that work just fine that others might not even have. A doctor can give me plastic surgery on my body, but only I can change my mind and my heart. And your mind and your heart will guide you, aid you, and embrace you.

No matter what, you can love yourself, and love overcomes everything else.

P.S. I’m still accepting reviewers of Seconds Before Sunrise (book 2 of The Timely Death Trilogy.) If you’re interested in reading my novels, please send me an email at shannonathompson@aol.com. I would love to hear from you. The first one is also on sale for only $3.89, and I would be more than happy to hear your thoughts.

~SAT

Click here because it’s fun to click on things. Isn’t it?

Click here because it’s fun to click on things. Isn’t it?

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