Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Something Wicked welcomes Stephanie Rowe!

I can't tell you how excited I am to have Stephanie Rowe with us today. Not only is she one of my favorite authors to read, but she was really great to me when I first became an author.

She's a class act and she's incredibly talented. In fact, I'm reading the first book in her new series,
Kiss At Your Own Risk, and am loving it. In fact, she's bringing TWO copies with her to give away today! Okay, so before I gush more, here's Stephanie Rowe.

I have a card sitting above my computer that says "Overcome the notion that you must be regular. It robs you of the chance to be extraordinary," by Uta Hagen.

The moment I saw that quote, it reverberated in my soul as if I'd been searching for it my whole life. Why? Because it is our need as humans to be "regular" that constrains us and keeps up chained down. It keeps us from finding peace in our hearts, and from tapping into our magnificence.

See, the need to be "regular," is also the need to be accepted, to be approved of by others, to belong. We live our lives wanting to fit in. We want friends to like us. We want teachers to give us good grades. We want to our parents to love us. We want our boss to approve of us. And, as writers, we want readers to love our books, and editors to buy our manuscripts. But you know what? Every single person in this world has their own viewpoint about what is "right" or what is "good" and if we try to please them all, we're still going to leave someone out. Someone's not going to like what we do. So, what do we do to avoid that? We keep filing down our sharp edges more and more so that we won't offend, so we fit in, so we belong. But when we do that, what's left? A small, rounded lump that fades in bright sunlight. We try to become so ordinary that no one could possibly reject us.

But the way I see it, there's a couple problems with that approach.

First, some people are still not going to like us. If we've banked our self-esteem on the approval of others, and we twist and contort ourselves to make it happen, then when we fail, it's gonna hurt deep inside. I know it. I've been there. Spent most of my life there, actually.

Second, and more importantly, when we turn ourselves into a pasty lump, we extinguish the fire in our souls that make us vibrate with passion, with life, with happiness. And when we put that flame out, we lose the ability to become that special, amazing person that every fiber of our being burns to become.

I've written books with the goal of making them "marketable." I've sat at the computer and second-guessed my words, thinking about how someone else will react when they read them. And I've created books that were great, that sold well, but that didn't burn from within.

Then I got tired of chiseling off my sharp edges. I got tired of doubting myself. I lost the joy of writing, and I realized it was because I was writing under the fear of not being good enough. Of being too far outside the box that people wouldn't like me. I was striving to be "regular" enough that the world would love me. But you know what? Not one of us is regular. We are ALL different. We are ALL extraordinary. We ALL burn with passion that no one else can replicate. And it's only when we learn to love that about ourselves that we can let it go out into the world and fill our writing and our relationships and our lives, and experience the joy of illuminating the world around us, and finding those who flock to our inner beauty BECAUSE we are different, irregular and extraordinary.

When I wrote my book, Kiss at Your Own Risk, my current release, it was the first time in my life that I truly succeeded in letting go of the fear, of the inner critics, of the awareness of the world judging me. I wrote from my heart, I let that inner passion flow, and I let the book come alive, illuminating from within. As I sit here at my desk and look at my author's copies, I feel the purest joy in my heart, because that book represents the freedom of my soul, and it feels beautiful.

What about you? Have you ever let go of the inner critics, the fear of judgment, and let yourself be driven by the passion within you?

Join the conversation and you're eligible to win one of TWO free copies of Kiss At Your Own Risk! (U.S. and Canada only)

Four-time RITA® Award nominee and Golden Heart® Award winner Stephanie Rowe is a nationally bestselling author of more than twenty books. A life-long reader, she began crafting stories at age ten, but didn't realize it was her dream until she was an adult. Visit Stephanie on the web atwww.stephanierowe.com.


Eileen said...

I can't say I ever have completely. I get closer to it when I meditate and practice relaxation. When that happens I can dive into what I'm doing calmly, and with focus.
It's challenging and there's always the need for reassurance that we're going in the right direction.

Angie Fox said...

Okay maybe that's why I'm enjoying Kiss at Your Own Risk so much - it is this wonderful, uninhibited, carnival ride of a book. Thank you, Stephanie! I wish more authors were like you. And I really appreciate you taking time out to be with us today. You rock!

SandyG265 said...

I got to the point where I didn't enjoy the career I was in and took a chance and switched careers several years ago.

Kay said...

I had 3 very important people in my life die in the span of 2 & 1/2 years. It turned my world upside down & made me start really evaluating my life. It completely changed me & the way I look at things. I went to work on me & finally learned that I don't have to please everyone. That has been the biggest lesson of my life & one that did not come easily.

Stephanie Rowe said...

Eileen, it sounds like you have developed a great method for clearing your head. That calmness is huge!

Angie, you are so sweet! You are SUCH an amazing talent!

SandyG, good for you! It takes courage to make big switches like that.

Kay, that is a HUGE revelation. I struggled for a long time with that same issue, and when you liberate yourself from that, it's really powerful.

Jess Granger said...

Well, shoot, I've never fit in, so I stopped caring about trying to please everyone around middle school. The consequence is, I'm a bit of an oddball and I have to watch myself in social situations.

I too just went way outside of my box. My book on submission is so far different from anything I've ever done. Keep your fingers crossed. I love it. Now I'm just hoping others will too.

Diane P said...

Now that I am retired, I am making choices based on doing what makes me happy. Don't get me wrong, there were moments where I totally loved teaching-at least before testing became the end all.
I am not quite there yet but I will be soon.
It has been a great year though.

Jane said...

Congrats on the new release, Stephanie. I'm sure I usually take the criticisms to heart and find it hard to follow my passions.

Linda Henderson said...

Before I had to retire early due to my severe RA I had changed professions after spending almost 20 years doing the same type of job. It was scary at first, but I grew to love it. Sadly I had to quit it because my body was in to bad of shape. I'm doing a little better now, but I'll never be able to work again.

Stephanie Rowe said...

Jess G! I love your comment. You rock! Who cares about fitting in! I hope your submission catches the eye of someone who gets it!

Thanks for your note, Jane. It is so hard to let go of the criticisms, but your passion is always right. Trust it!

Good job, Diane! It is always a process, but there are definitely moments when we make huge leaps!

Linda, thank you for sharing your story. I hope you can find a way to follow your passion in a manner that works for you.

donnas said...

I have to say that I have never completely let go. I do dream that someday I will, but that hasnt happened yet. I just guess the right time and situation or person has not come along yet.

Chaco Kid said...

It's hard to completely ignore "everyone" else and always be yourself. Part of us wants to fit in and be approved and loved. But I think you've got it, to be truly happy we have to be true to ourselves. We can't be oblivious to everyone when we write, I want them to be as happy as I am, but if I can't amuse myself and thoroughly enjoy and be happy with what I've done, then I don't think anyone else will be truly happy with it either. So, good for you! This book looks like a lot of fun and if you like it, I say it's got to be good.

Sharon S. said...

I wouldn't pass up reading a book that inspired that much passion the in author :) I would love to find a medium for my passion. I can't write, sing or draw, but I channel it into helping others do it . Kind of living vicariously through them and it makes me feel good.

I didn't give in to the passion way back when I should have, but I am encouraging my daughters to go for it and they are and everyone will notice :)

Anne Elizabeth Baldwin said...

Back in grade school, I didn't care what folks thought. Or at least it seemed like that. The truth is, I didn't think anyone liked me anyway. {half-smile}

When I finally escaped that, I found some folks who did like me, first in graduate school, and later here on the net. Now I'm having trouble not caring more about being liked than I ought to. {lop-sided smile}

When I'm honest with myself, I admit that some folks will like me and my writing whatever I do, and others won't, whatever I do. It's still hard not to try to please the folks I'm interacting with. {Smile}

Anne Elizabeth Baldwin

Sara M said...

I don't know if it's a fear of judgment or just a fear of being made fun of, but I've always been afraid of audiences. Whether it was a class play in middle school or a mock sales call in college, I was always so nervous and frightened.

On a much happier note, this novel sounds very interesting.