IT’S GOOD TO BE VULNERABLE! (WHY I REFUSE TO TAKE MYSELF SO SERIOUSLY.)

photo credit: Sarvodaya Shramadana Movement

 

Don’t take yourself too damn seriously!

Accept that you are vulnerable, and make peace with that.

Be fearless!

If I had said these things to my younger self, it would not have had much of an impact. I wasn’t ready. But at some point in time, other people said these things to me, and even though I still wasn’t ready, they planted a seed. And every time someone plants a seed, he or she brings us closer to eventual healing and understanding. It certainly worked that way for me because, despite my stubbornness, I am always listening, and I always want to be a better version of me than I was yesterday.

So, last year, I read the first criticism of my work from a reviewer. Admittedly, it wasn’t scathing; she had many nice things to say, but I was able to handle that in a way that I couldn’t have all those years ago.I was curious more than anything, and I wanted to understand her point of view.

It was because, by then, I had stopped seeing myself the way I saw myself at the age of seventeen and for many years to come—as the writer, the destined one, or, ack, some kind of chosen one. I had come to accept that I am one writer in an endless sea of writers— just another voice in the choir.

Some people don’t like this perspective—at all. Back then, I would not have liked it either.

I’ve heard, in response, “You have to take yourself seriously or no one else will, right?”

Oh yes, for sure, but we can be serious, and we can be too serious. For me, the shift in perspective, from taking myself too seriously to taking myself just seriously enough has worked well.

When we see ourselves as a part of everything and not the center of everything, we begin to want for others what we want for ourselves—success! We’re not in competition for that because we know there is enough to go around. When we’re taking ourselves too seriously, those other people do not exist except as competitors. It’s about us and us only, so whatever happens to us is more important than what happens to everyone else. Less than favorable outcomes are magnified and often unbearable.

It helps to take it down a few notches and strive for a little humility. That includes checking ourselves and questioning the motivation behind decisions we make.

It’s not as hard as it sounds, and, eventually, it becomes a part of who we are.

By striving to keep my ego in check, I’m in a better position to handle criticisms and failures because I don’t have to prove I am beyond reproach. I haven’t placed myself up on a pedestal where I see myself as superior to and separate from others. I don’t believe I am so important that my haters are just sitting around watching and waiting to laugh at me when I fail. If they are, then they’re wasting precious time and won’t be able to achieve very much in their lives.

What this mind shift does is; it gives us permission to be vulnerable—permission from ourselves because no one else is stopping us. Then, instead of worrying about what others will think, we just write from the heart. We focus on learning to master our craft—something we absolutely cannot do when we think we already have it all down.

Of course, we all want praise. We want the glowing five-star reviews. There‘s nothing more gratifying than knowing your work has touched someone profoundly or thoroughly entertained as intended.

Friends kindly remind us that we all face rejection and that no one is above criticism. That’s true; someone has criticized every successful writer we know. But hearing that is not quite as comforting as it’s intended to be, so we secretly hope to be the exception.

We might be—if we tiptoe around—if we ask only our friends for reviews. We’ll get fewer reviews, but they’ll all be five-stars, right? On the other hand, if we want to reach millions of readers, we have to throw ourselves fearlessly into the arena, making ourselves more vulnerable to criticism.

Writer friends have said to me, “But, what about the internet trolls?”

Well, the truth is, people who take themselves too seriously are the perfect target for trolls. They are the ones who will argue with the trolls, thinking they will somehow get that person to sympathize or agree. It won’t happen because trolls lack empathy, or, let’s face it, they wouldn’t be trolls. If they know they’ve upset you, they will continue to provoke you. You can’t get caught up in the futility of that.

At the same time, not everyone who doesn’t like your work is a troll. There is legitimate criticism. We can get it from beta readers, good editors, and yes, honest reviews.

When it comes to betas and editors, we want that person who will say, about a particular scene, “You can do better than that.” We get lazy sometimes even with so much at stake. It’s wonderful to hear someone say, simply, “Oh, it’s great, I love it!” But if you’re still trying to iron out the kinks in your story, that’s not going to help you. I want to know where they got confused, where they got bored, what annoyed them, what characters they liked and didn’t like. That will help me determine whether I’m getting the effect I want. Not everyone will agree, of course, so it helps to get several people looking at your work—people who are not afraid to be objective and possibly upset you. Personally, I will not beta read for most people because I know I will give the honesty that I’d want myself, and I realize not everyone can handle that. I have gotten upset myself once, but I got over it fast. We don’t always have to agree with someone’s criticism, but we need to be open to it.

My beta readers have me laughing hysterically with some of their comments, especially with things that need fixing or clarifying. A simple, “Really?” or “Seriously?” can have me in a fit of giggles. The times we are laughing together on the phone or in person are the most fun. Even if they say, “This guy sounds like a douche,” I’m only going to be concerned if he’s not supposed to be sounding like a douche, and then we talk that stuff out. A bit of lightheartedness and a good sense of humor is key.

In an early draft that I wrote many years ago, I had decided to start at the beginning of my character’s life. By page 455, she was still twelve! I can’t help laughing now about how ridiculous that was. I had so much to learn about brutal editing (cut, cut, cut), where to begin a story, proper outlining, etc., and I’m still learning!

In my latest book, Shattering Truths, I was anal about how I wanted to tell this story. It is deep and personal, not my story, but a story about things I had witnessed over the years and one that had become very precious to my heart. It’s hard to be flexible when you are that emotionally involved, and, honestly, we become emotionally involved in all of our books, so we are incredibly biased. I needed feedback, and then, simply, to let go of what wasn’t working.

The truth is, we never stop learning, and there is always room to improve! I’m sure even the most successful writers would admit that, so it helps to embrace the learning process. Our confidence will increase as we evolve.

It’s all about honesty and integrity, and just being the best you can be. 🙂

 

© Copyright April 15, 2017 by Kyrian Lyndon at kyrianlyndon.com. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted without permission.

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NEW CHAT AND FORUM FOR WRITERS AND OTHER CREATORS!

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As part of a community I’ve developed for writers and other creatives, I’ve added a message board and chat room to my website.

The message board has sections of interest to writers and areas for general discussion. Users may request additional topics that might be of interest to them.

A regular writer’s meeting will take place every Thursday at 7:30 p.m. EST. We can also arrange other meeting times. The room will be available for informal chat at any time.

I hope to have scheduled presentations and readings in the same chat room— by writers, editors, designers, advocates, and others. It would be a wonderful opportunity for people to promote what they do and to help others. Suggestions for presentation topics are always welcome.

Please note that presentations may not take place without approval, and presentations are always free. Presenters do not receive payment from anyone. I will, however, promote the event and provide moderation for the event. Presenters are encouraged to invite others.

You can bookmark the forum and chat room links:

http://somuch2talkabout.freeforums.net/

http://officialkyrianlyndon.chatango.com/

Or you can always bookmark my site for access. The links are under my Community menu.

https://kyrianlyndon.com/

We may eventually need additional moderators, but we’ll see how it goes!

Please share this information and these links with people you’d like to join you, or people you think might be interested in the promotional presentation opportunity.

Lastly, join my street team, and never miss a thing! It’s going to be exciting and mutually rewarding, I promise. Read all about it here!

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Photo #1 source by Surian Soosay

Photo #2 source by Elizabeth Cooper

 

Interested in my monthly newsletter?

Click here for sign-up form and additional information.

FIRE IN THE SOUL

Interesting conversations with readers give me a lot to think about, so I like to provide a platform for those conversations.

Someone recently brought up amateur/aspiring v. professional.

I have known people who create guidelines for when a person can call himself or herself an author (or even a writer). It’s the same with most artists. Are they amateur and aspiring or professional and experienced?

Many of us have had this burning passion or determination to do something since childhood. Ideas and urges came, and we responded. We delivered. I feel we know whether we identify as poets, writers, artists, musicians before we ever have a book published, show our work in a museum or get on stage with a band. We may be aspiring to succeed and to master our crafts, but we are not aspiring to be what we are.

I remember a fifth-grade poetry assignment. The kid behind me copied my poem. When the teacher (nun) caught him, he told her he copied it from a book. I imagine he thought he’d get in less trouble for that, I don’t know. Maybe he just wanted me to go down with him. Nevertheless, she believed him. She asked for the book, and I was so confused that I was trying to find this book that didn’t exist… in my desk. (Nuns raising their voices to me invoked terror.) Then something strange happened. All these kids began calling out that this boy was lying because I was a writer, and I had always been a writer… other ten-year-olds! Amusing as it seems, they touched my heart for a lifetime. She asked me again if I copied the poem from a book, and I finally found the courage to say I didn’t. She gave me a gold star and displayed it on the wall for Parent-Teacher Conference Day. I will never forget this; how the kids knew this thing about me because it was already part of my identity.

As another example, my nephew was drawing since the age of five. I have never seen anything amateur about his approach, his expression, or his final product. (As an aside, he’s amazing.)

People may tell you things like, well you’re not published, you’re not an author, or you’re not a writer, even though you have been doing this thing ever since you can remember.

0374384686ea64df7e5bb06f910cce6b

If there is anything to separate the amateurs from the pros, for me, it is the desire and willingness to give your best and give your all.

Pros focus on mastering their craft. They set goals. It is a priority in their lives, and they will devote as much time to it as is possible. They can’t “not” do it. They know the passion is the fire in their soul. It’s their heart. They know it’s who they are.

Whether we are good or not, that is another story, but we have control over that, too.

From early on, characterization and dialogue were my strengths. Description was my weakness. I was not observant. I kept my mind clouded with other things, the obsessions of the moment. Eventually, I realized I had to work hard on that area, and I did with much success.

There’s no doubt in my mind that we often feel we don’t measure up, as people, as artists. If we believe that, that’s when we work to get better: identify problems, find solutions, expand our knowledge, and hone our skills. The desire exists for a reason, and learning is perpetual. We can always do better. That is all a part of mastering.

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© Copyright February 7, 2015 by Kyrian Lyndon at kyrianlyndon.com. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted without permission.

RECLAIM THE GIFT THAT MAKES YOUR SPIRIT SOAR

Photo Credit – Angela Marie Henriette

 

My nephew, Christopher, was about six when he gazed out the window in the backseat of the car and said, “I’m just afraid I will run out of things to draw.”

He began at an early age, sketching and drawing—leaving people in awe of his talent. You see the brilliance in his eyes when he talks to you, especially about art. When I ask him if he can do a certain thing, the answer is, “Of course, I can!” He is chock full of confidence.

It is not hard to believe in someone like him. We not only believe in him, but we also celebrate him. He touches our hearts and remains such a light in a dark world.

I feel the exact same way about my son who was educating strangers about Jupiter’s moons in the first grade. They are two people who came into the world with gifts and talents, and a clear sense of who they were from an early age. I can attest to this much: when you know, from childhood, what you are and what you love, you cannot imagine any other life. I feel strongly; people must allow you to be the person you are, not the vision of you and your future that they have in mind.

It is easy to recognize the apathy and pain of someone who never lived their dream; someone left to wonder what the outcome might have been had they followed their heart. You see glimpses of their fire, traces of the light gone from their eyes. They had their spirits crushed, their voices silenced, their true selves obliterated.

Children need to hold on to their natural confidence and infectious enthusiasm, along with the ability to trust their instincts. My heart tells me, we need to not only believe in them but also show them how much we do.

Perhaps this is one reason experiencing an incredible contribution to the arts– everything from singing and drawing to dancing—can move me to tears. I realize people make incredible achievements every single day, ones I don’t see. They may not have an audience or applause, but their achievements are no less important. But seeing people get out there, doing the thing they love most and nailing it speaks to the person inside many of us that might say, I want to do what I love as fearlessly as that. I want to celebrate that moment where I have the audacity to succeed and reach the hearts of others, all of us sharing the passion and joy. It is one of life’s beautiful and most cherished experiences.

For me, it is.

In these moments, I don’t think about the harrowing destruction of our world or of humanity. It is a brief lull because I don’t want to ignore that. It has affected me profoundly since childhood, and while I search my heart for solutions, I can only counteract with love and a message of oneness. I believe each of us can do that in some way, especially if we have a voice or means of communicating our passion and love to the world. It is one small contribution of many until we can do better.

Those of us who have made it thus far with our dreams intact are eternally grateful. Whatever the passion – no matter what happens in life, it is there, and it saves you. It just might save others, too.

© Copyright August, 2014 by Kyrian Lyndon at kyrianlyndon.com. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted without permission.

ANNOUNCING SPOTLIGHT OPPORTUNITIES YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT!

Are you interested in reaching a new audience?

I’m looking for blogs, poems, photos, artwork, short stories, even a web series that would appeal to my readers.

The submissions should not be promotional links for your books/work/sites, and I’m not looking for anything that is too graphic. I prefer posts that enlighten, help, and inspire with focus on recovery, coping, healing, and evolving. Pure entertainment is wonderful, too! Humor is much needed and appreciated, as are joyous wonders of the world in art form. Work published on another site is fine as long as it’s your original work, and you have properly edited any text.

Contact me first to discuss whether your contributions would be a good fit. I am particularly interested in people who would like guest posters for their own site, so we can exchange. It’s not necessary, but that’s something I’m definitely willing to do.

If you become a regular contributor, you will get your own tab under the guest post menu, so that readers can find all your posts in one place. A little further down the road, I’ll have a contributor tab where regular contributors can have a more detailed profile, and that’s where their promotional and social media links would appear. They will also be eligible for ‘spotlight features’ where they can do an interview (audio, text, or video), read an excerpt, or something along those lines. A link to that feature would be on their contributor page.

If we determine that we can work together, this is how it would go.

When you create a blog you think I’d like to share, send me a link. If you want to share photos or poetry, just get them up on WordPress, Blogger, or your website.

I would need a bio and photo of you. If you prefer not to have an image of you, it can be a trademark or something else associated with you or your work. You won’t have to submit the bio or photo for subsequent posts unless you want to update it.

A feature photo to accompany the work is highly recommended either included on the blog or sent as a separate attachment. You must also provide the source for your feature photo so that we can give proper credit to the artist or photographer. If you are the artist or photographer, indicate that. If you are not sure where to find photos you can use legally with proper attribution, I can recommend a couple of sites.

If you have preferred hashtags for sharing, please provide them, or I will tag accordingly.

The posts will go up on my website under the ‘guest post’ tab. I would copy any text and then link back to the original blog in the copyright notice, which will be in your name, appearing before your photo and bio. I’ll send you the link to your post, and you’d have a chance to request any changes or even change your mind. Once you give your seal of approval, I’ll share it on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Google+, and possibly LinkedIn or Pinterest.

There may be a cutoff period for this offer, depending on the level of interest and my availability, but the posts would likely remain unless you request their removal.

Lastly, I would like to mention that I have created a private community for interesting discussions, exchanging ideas, and supporting others. It would fit in with the community/collaboration environment and could be a lot of fun. If you are interested in that, let me know. I’m thinking about adding a portal to that site on my website for easy access. It’s all about community!

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Photo by BK, original photo credit Jonathan Combe

© Copyright June 26, 2016 by Kyrian Lyndon at kyrianlyndon.com. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted without permission.

FIRE IN THE SOUL

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Interesting conversations with readers give me a lot to think about, so I like to provide a platform for those conversations.

Someone recently brought up amateur/aspiring v. professional.

I have known people who create guidelines for when a person can call himself or herself an author (or even a writer). It’s the same with most artists. Are they amateur and aspiring or professional and experienced?

Many of us have had this burning passion or determination to do something since childhood. Ideas and urges came, and we responded. We delivered. I feel we know whether we identify as poets, writers, artists, musicians before we ever have a book published, show our work in a museum or get on stage with a band. We may be aspiring to succeed and to master our crafts, but we are not aspiring to be what we are.

I remember a fifth-grade poetry assignment. The kid behind me copied my poem. When the teacher (nun) caught him, he told her he copied it from a book. I imagine he thought he’d get in less trouble for that, I don’t know. Maybe he just wanted me to go down with him. Nevertheless, she believed him. She asked for the book, and I was so confused that I was trying to find this book that didn’t exist… in my desk. (Nuns raising their voices to me invoked terror.) Then something strange happened. All these kids began calling out that this boy was lying because I was a writer, and I had always been a writer… other ten-year-olds! Amusing as it seems, they touched my heart for a lifetime. She asked me again if I copied the poem from a book, and I finally found the courage to say I didn’t. She gave me a gold star and displayed it on the wall for Parent-Teacher Conference Day. I will never forget this; how the kids knew this thing about me because it was already part of my identity.

As another example, my nephew was drawing since the age of five. I have never seen anything amateur about his approach, his expression, or his final product. (As an aside, he’s amazing.)

People may tell you things like, well you’re not published, you’re not an author, or you’re not a writer, even though you have been doing this thing ever since you can remember.

0374384686ea64df7e5bb06f910cce6b

If there is anything to separate the amateurs from the pros, for me, it is the desire and willingness to give your best and give your all.

Pros focus on mastering their craft. They set goals. It is a priority in their lives, and they will devote as much time to it as is possible. They can’t “not” do it. They know the passion is the fire in their soul. It’s their heart. They know it’s who they are.

Whether we are good or not, that is another story, but we have control over that, too.

From early on, characterization and dialogue were my strengths. Description was my weakness. I was not observant. I kept my mind clouded with other things, the obsessions of the moment. Eventually, I realized I had to work hard on that area, and I did with much success.

There’s no doubt in my mind that we often feel we don’t measure up, as people, as artists. If we believe that, that’s when we work to get better: identify problems, find solutions, expand our knowledge, and hone our skills. The desire exists for a reason, and learning is perpetual. We can always do better. That is all a part of mastering.

929081_586443434786545_429995735_n


© Copyright February 7, 2015 by Kyrian Lyndon at kyrianlyndon.com. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted without permission.

CELEBRATING FROM THE HEART

Festive gift

On this month’s Heart-to-Heart with Kyrian radio show, my guests, Michael John Sullivan and Kathleen Nash shared their experience of having been homeless. They also talked about their recovery and their advocacy for the homeless. They have wonderful messages for everyone struggling and anyone who cares about the struggles of others. You can listen in on this podcast.

KathleenNash

Kathleen Nash is a uniquely creative individual. Photography and other forms of artwork are her passions. She also builds websites and works with her son, Dennis, who creates beautiful wire wrap jewelry.

Kathleen shares more about her journey in this blog:

Half Hitched and Homeless

Learn more about Kathleen and her work:

Kathleen Nash – Fine Art
The Knotted Branch

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Michael John Sullivan is the author of Necessary Heartbreak: A Novel of Faith and Forgiveness (Gallery Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster). Library Journal named Necessary Heartbreak one of the year’s best in Christian fiction for 2010. His second novel, Everybody’s Daughter (The Story Plant), was named one of the best books of 2012 by The Examiner. Michael published his third novel, The Greatest Gift (The Story Plant), in October of 2014. He is currently working on his next novel, The Second World. He is also the creator of the SockKids children’s series. Visit thesockkids.com to learn more. A former board member of the Long Island Coalition of the Homeless, Sullivan has written several articles about the plight of the homeless that have been published online by CNN, the Washington Post, Beliefnet.com, the Huffington Post, and Patch.com.

Michael has contributed a blog relevant to our topic today, along with a link to an article he wrote for CNN a few years ago. You may read it here:

Keep Kindless In Your Look

You can learn more about Michael and his books at Michael John Sullivan Author.


 
“Compassion, in which all ethics must take root, can only attain its full breadth and depth if it embraces all living creatures and does not limit itself to mankind.” – Albert Schweitzer

About Amazon Smile Program
 
35 Ways to Help the Homeless

The Holidays Aren’t Joyous for Everyone by @TruthIsHers


© Copyright December 15, 2014 by Kyrian Lyndon at kyrianlyndon.com. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted without permission.

PASSIONS AND DREAMS

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My nephew, Christopher, was about six when he gazed out the window in the backseat of the car and said, “I’m just afraid I will run out of things to draw.”

He began at an early age, sketching and drawing – leaving people in awe of his talent. Every year his mom helped him put together a calendar featuring his artwork.

You can see brilliance in his eyes when he talks to you, especially about art. When I ask him if he can do a certain thing, the answer is, “Of course, I can!” He is chock full of confidence.

It is not hard to believe in someone like him. He is, above all, kind, caring and a sensitive soul. We not only believe in him, we celebrate him. He touches our hearts and remains such a light in a dark world.

I feel the same way about my own son who was educating strangers about Jupiter’s moons in the first grade. They are two people who came into the world with their own gifts and talents, giving you a clear sense of who they were from the start. I can attest to this much: when you know, from childhood, what you are and what you love, you cannot imagine any other life. I feel strongly, people must allow you to be the person you are, not the vision of you and your future they have in mind.

It is easy to recognize the apathy and pain of someone who never lived their dream, someone left to wonder what the outcome might have been had they followed their heart. You see glimpses of their fire, traces of the light gone from their eyes. They had their spirits crushed, their voices silenced, their true selves obliterated.

Children need to hold on to their natural confidence and infectious enthusiasm, along with the ability to trust their instincts. My heart tells me, we need to not only believe in them, but also show them how much we do.

Perhaps this is one reason experiencing an incredible contribution to the arts – everything from singing and drawing to dancing – can move me to tears. I realize people make incredible achievements every single day, ones I don’t see. They may not have an audience or applause, but their achievements are no less important. Seeing people get out there, however, doing the thing they love most and nailing it speaks to the person inside many of us that says, I want to do what I love as fearlessly as that. I want to celebrate that fearless moment where I succeed in reaching the hearts of others, where we all participate and share the passion and joy. My heart sings in contentment. It is one of life’s beautiful and most cherished experiences.

For me, it is.

In these moments, I don’t think about the harrowing destruction of our world or the harrowing destruction of humanity. It is a brief lull, because I don’t want to ignore that – all the suffering, all the pain, all the hatred. It has affected me profoundly since childhood, and while I search my heart for solutions, I can only counteract with love and a message of oneness. I believe we all can in some way, especially if we have a voice or means of communicating our passion and love to the world. It is one small contribution of many, until we can do better.

Those of us who have made it thus far with our dreams intact are eternally grateful. Whatever the passion – no matter what happens in life, it is there, and it saves you. It just might save others, too.

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© Copyright August, 2014 by Kyrian Lyndon at kyrianlyndon.com. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted without permission.