3 S.R. Johannes: Release and Surrender

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Release and Surrender

Last week, I had a minor panic attack about the whole publishing business.

As I get closer to sending "my baby" out into the big world of publishing, the reality hits me.

This is it! This is where the rubber meets the road (I sound like my dad!). This is where everything I've done the last few years, the sacrifices I have made, the ones my family have made comes down to this moment in time.

The prospect of getting published someday suddenly freaks me out!

For the past 5 years, I've dreamed of writing a kick-butt book, getting an agent, going out on submission. I've dreamed of agents fighting over me, editors wanting my book. Authors wishing to blurb. I even dreamed of going to auction. Dreamed of finally making some money off my writing.

I've dreamed of becoming a published author.

It was nothing but hope that got me to where I am today.

Now, there is no going back. No do-over's. No more room for dreaming.

My dream either "will or will not" become my true reality. How that happens remains to be seen.

But the reality is - sometimes it does and then sometimes it doesn't. You never know.

This business is finicky and no matter how great your writing is or your idea, sometimes your dream flies and sometimes it floats around, sometimes it hits the dirt.

That is the reality.

My problem? Reality is not an option for me. Never has been. I dream big. And I dont' give up those dreams for a dumb thing called "reality".

I've resorted to doing Bikram Yoga to get the weight off my chest. The heavy one that makes me feel as if I cannot breathe. The one that comes from excitement mixed with anxiety mixed with fear.

This has happened to me throughout my journey. I got this same way when I was looking for an agent. I got to a point where I could not sleep, could not stop checking my statcounter or email, could not write. And I could not breath.

I got so attached to the outcome. I eventually said out loud one day, "It doesn't matter what happens. I will write no matter what anyway. I need to just let go of my attachment to the result and enjoy the journey."

Because you know what? The journey is fun...if you let go of stressing about the end result. There is no end result. There are just milestones.

Well let me tell you that "feeling" doesn't go away after you finish a book or even get an agent. That feeling is a shapeshifter and it somehow comes back to you in a different form. It comes back in disguise. And it took me a while to realize it.

My friend asked me the other day - "So writing makes you so anxious, why do it?"

I said, "It doesn't make me anxious until I think about the publishing side of it."

She simply said, "Then don't think about that."

And it dawned on me. She's right. Why am I hanging on so tightly to being published. As if it ends there?

I have to let that go. I have to have faith and enjoy the process. Because - let me tell you - so far the process itself has been fun. Hard. But FUN. As long as I release my focus on an end result or unrealistic expectations - I am so happy and calm.

Yesterday, with a friend ) I pull a Tarot card from my Angel deck someone gave me when I got an agent (for my angel book).

(I dont live by these things, but I do think it's fun to believe in that stuff - dreams, tarot cards, numerology, astrology readings, signs from the universe ect. You name it. Anything that can possibly give me any additional insight into my future or path, is welcome. please don't unfollow me for this!!! :)

Guess what card I got (out of like 100 cards).

Release and Surrender.

Here is what it said:

"Open your arms and release the challenges that you've held so tightly within your hands. Open your hands, arms, mind and heart to assistance. You have been trying to control a situation in your life. You must emotionally let go and have faith that a higher power can do a better job. Surrendering does not mean you are giving up, it just assures you of happiness and a better outcome. Don't worry about how your question will be answered. Release the need for control and trust all will work out."

It's so true. We hold on so tightly to outcomes that we freak ourselves out along the way.

I let go during the writing process and wrote a godo book. I let go during the agent process and and got an amazing agent. I let go during my revisions process and my book evolved.

Now, I am going to do it again.

I am letting go of expectations, fame, fortune, and my tight attachment to outcomes and results. I am going back to enjoying the process.

Because the truth is - when I focus on the writing and how I feel when I am doing it. My heart is full and I am elated. The minute I take myself out of the journey to try and see, predict or guess what the future holds or where I will be, I feel as if a weight drops from the sky and lands on my chest.

So today, I release and surrender.


Corey Schwartz said...

GREAT post, Shelli. From the moment I read the blurb for On The Bright Side on your side bar, I just knew that one was going "fly." It is such a clever and intriguing concept and your first page teaser had me mesmerized!

Anonymous said...

This is lovely. It's so hard, and I'm so impressed by your recognizing what's going on. When I start to look at what I'm trying to do and how far I may be from it, I ask myself whether, if I knew my fiction would never be published, would I stop? And really, no. Yes, I'd still be hoping that the knowledge was false, but either way I'd still have to be writing. I totally get you worrying about the money, but you're exactly right, it can't be about that.

You say: "My problem is that reality is not an option for me. Never has been. I dream big. And I dont' give up those dreams for a dumb thing called "reality"."

You don't have a problem. You have dreams and hopes. Someone in my life used to tell me not to get too excited about things--they were worried about me being too disappointed. I finally decided that I'd feel the disappointment anyway, and I wanted to let myself feel the excitement as well. Good for you for bringing down the anxiety, but let yourself enjoy the pluses of having reached this point. :)

Anonymous said...

I've read that it's the process you must enjoy. If you don't love the process of getting where you're going, then whatever you're doing isn't right for you. It sounds like you're on the right path!

- Julie

Katie Anderson said...

Great post Shelli Bean! What an amazingly freeing discovery. Ahhhh

Deb Markanton said...

Thanks Shelli! I needed that!!

Natalie said...

I am right there with you. The prospect of editor submissions has been totally stressing me out. All of the waiting and anticipating through the agent submission process nearly made me crazy.

I too have finally come to the conclusion that I just have to let go. It is out of my hands now. Before I could tweak the query letter or tighten up the sample pages, or make requested revisions. Now there is nothing I can do or say that will change the outcome-- all of my work is done-- and I know that whatever happens will be okay.

So yeah, I feel your pain/surrender. Hang in there. :)

Deb Salisbury, Magic Seeker and Mantua-Maker said...

What an inspiring post! I plan to link back to you.

Christina Lee said...

wow what a powerful post you've written--possibly for both you and me :) I kinda needed that today!
sending warm wishes your way!

Alissa Grosso said...

Can't say that I'm a tarot believer, but I have at time found that sitting down and analyzing my dreams has led me to a greater understanding of what is going on in my life. I'm sure you have nothing to worry about!

Stina said...

And I thought having my crit group see my novel was scary. Good luck, Shelli!

Eileen Astels Watson said...

Release and Surrender--What a great reminder. I need to do this too!

Kimberley Griffiths Little said...

Wonderful post, Shelli! My heart is with you as you go out into the world. I've been exactly where you are . . .

Vicky Alvear Shecter said...

Gawd, can I relate! The hard thing about letting go is that we keep having to do it again and again and again...or at least I do. Loved your post.

Irene Latham said...

Keep going with the yoga. And fall in love with a new project! It is so NOT about the money. xxoo

Kimbra Kasch said...

Got my fingers X'd for you. Now's the time to enjoy the journey. It might be a roller coaster ride but it's better than sitting on the sidelines watching others get the thrills, chills, and uphills.

JKB said...

This is very wise and quite necessary, I think.

(and good luck!!!)

Susan R. Mills said...

This is an amazing post. I hope to be able to do the same. I don't want the weight. And I never want to lose the joy of writing. Thanks for the reminder.

Little Ms J said...

Great post, Shelli. I'm so happy for you and I love your enlightened outlook.

Adrienne said...

So glad I read this.I've been trying to do the same thing, to let go of expectations and remember to enjoy the process.
Good luck!

Kristi Faith said...

Incredible post, thank you so much for sharing. I found you via Susan Mill's blog-A walk in my shoes. I'm so glad I did. :) Great work, great realization and I'm sure no one would unfollow you for taking some symbolic encouragement!!

Lauren said...

Great post...and inspiring too. I think if you are in it for the stories then it will all work out the way it is suppose to :) Best of luck. You've got the talent and you've done the work...enjoy the ride :) :) :)

Robin Mellom said...

Oh, I SOOO hear you on this. My path has been bumpy, but not too long ago I realized I write when I get depressed. It's something that energizes me and lifts my spirits. You can't put a price tag on that!!!

So I'm grateful to just be a writer. No matter what happens...I will always get to write. How awesome!!??!!

Thanks for this post.

Anissa said...

Fabulous post! All your hard work will pay off. Release and surrender--great advice for all of us. :)

kathrynjankowski said...

Wonderful post, Shelli. Amazing what the Tarot reveals, isn't it?

Ellie Kings said...

That message would've made me cry too. I think you have it covered... wishing you all the best!

Jessica said...

It seems like you have it all figured out. :) This is very encouraging because, often times, it's difficult to release and surrender.

Good for you! I wish you well.

mary.anne.gruen@gmail.com said...

A very heartfelt post.

May you have all the luck in the world! And see every one of your dreams come true!