#WritingTip 1:

Just a short one while I’m thinking of it. I was asked about my number one writing tip and I think it is that I seek honest feedback. I totally appreciate that it can be difficult to give sometimes, but I am most grateful for honesty. Truly.

I don’t ask beta readers, coaches or friends to make me feel good, I ask them how I can improve … and I love the answers. Sometimes they can be “wrong” but they are never unhelpful and usually they are right. 

Sometimes we differ on opinion or advice and sometimes it is different “grammar rules” but for the most part, they each lift my game a little (and sometimes a lot),  and it is a little like having a mirror placed in a blind spot, a light shone in a dark corner, or a lid being lifted on a whole new jar of tricks. I love that they want these things for me!

It sounds so obvious but it isn’t. And I have to say, I’d do the same for you. When I beta read for others I try to be as honest as I can, and I know it’s not easy. No one wants to hurt feelings. But do yourself a favour and #AskForHonesty.

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@JPeaSmith
โ€œHere she comes, running, out of prison and off the pedestal: chains off, crown off, halo off, just a live woman.โ€  โ€• Charlotte Perkins Gilman
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Anxiety Champions Part 3:

screen-shot-2017-01-06-at-1-13-19-pmPart three in my series on Anxiety Champions is also someone from Survivor Season 33 in my beloved Fiji Islands. Hannah Shapiro is hilarious, but there is also a really serious side to her, and she is very openly and visibly someone who suffers from anxiety. But more than that, during the show she has a full blown panic attack and many people have remarked about or remembered her infamous lines, “I can’t feel my hands!” and “don’t let me die!”.

For me, this is such an incredibly vulnerable moment, where she totally forgets the cameras, she is utterly and completely consumed by her panic attack, and simply from the words she cries out, this is clearly extremely scary for her. This is the first time that I have witnessed a panic attack from the outside, and it was fascinating for me to watch. Having experienced hundreds of these myself, I have only seen them from the inside and I was shocked by how “normal” it looks from for an onlooker.

Hannah I think is one of those people who not so much embraces her anxiety but she is learning to live with it and does not let it hold her back. She is clearly funny, articulate and very bright, so she is in no way defined by her anxiety, but she is a wonderful ambassador for what living with anxiety looks and feels like. Thank you, Hannah!

 

 

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Anxiety Champions Part2:

screen-shot-2017-01-06-at-12-45-53-pmPart two in my series on Anxiety Champions is someone that I have never had any interaction with but I would love to meet one day. If you have never heard the name David Wright then you have very sadly missed what I believe to be the greatest season ever of Survivor (yes, my favorite show!).

David found his way quickly into the hearts of all the Season 33 fans not so much because he had anxiety but because he truly dug deep (as Jeff would say) and has for me become somewhat of an ambassador for what digging deep really means. During the first few episodes, he left me cringing and wanting to protect him. He could not have faked those instantaneous moments when he almost constantly jumped out of his skin. I know that there is a whole lot of editing in all these “real life” shows, but you can’t fake a reaction like that. By a third of the way through the season, this guy had found his groove. He realized that people loved him just for who he was and he didn’t try to be someone different. He simply allowed himself to be David, and everyone fell in love.

For me, David is someone who put his anxiety out there. He is also someone who is not afraid to talk about it. If you know anything about me by now then you would know that I am all about being transparent and being real and David is both of those things.

I believe passionately in building community in order to make a safe and fertile environment for anyone to heal. And season 33 was a picture perfect example of that. David thrived because the community that he was in accepted him for who he was. We need to keep making communities like that in our own corners of the world so that we give people safe and fertile places to do just that. This gave David the space to win hands down, and he is also no doubt someone who is still fighting hard.

I would love to know how he is going and I hope that he becomes a long-term ambassador for anxiety. Thanks, David!

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Anxiety Champions Part 1:

screen-shot-2017-01-06-at-12-06-18-pmToday I am starting a series on Anxiety Champions. What on earth are those I hear you ask? For me, they are people who put their anxiety out there. Some are winning hands down, many are still fighting hard, some have even simply said, “you know what, I am just going to live my life with this anyway!”.

But what makes them unique in my eyes is that they put themselves out there, and they are not afraid to talk about it. If you know anything about me by now then you would know that I am all about #BeingTransparent, and #BeingReal. I love honesty, I am on the truth side of the spectrum (while learning to have an equal measure of Grace along the way), and I believe deeply in building community in order to make a safe and fertile environment for anyone to heal.

Writing for me is about sharing my voice, but there is no point in me using it if I don’t have a community to hear me, challenge me or grow me. Anxiety is my hot topic right now because of my book, but I would be remiss if I did not mention that there are many out there who are fighting their own battles as well and that many of them are real champions.

Today’s Anxiety Champion is Matt Pappas from Surviving My Past. If you follow me on Twitter you would know that I often tweet his posts, and in theory, I am going to be guest blogging on his site a bit this year (but too afraid to start, because he does his so well!). And … he has so generously and kindly written the Foreword of my book on Anxiety which hits Kindle Stores this weekend. I feel so honored to be connected to such a true and vulnerable human being.

His blogs and writings are so real, so candid, and if you want to know what it is like both living and healing from anxiety, trauma, PTSD and so on, then this is your man. He works hard at sharing his journey and he isn’t afraid every now and then to stand back and say that he is struggling a bit and to take a break from his on-line community. I often open my Twitter to find a tweet of someone cheering him on. And they cheer him on because they love him. He inspires them and he is so very generous with his wisdom, guidance, and deep and honest opinion.

Matt cuts no corners, dresses up nothing, … he simply puts his battle with anxiety out there and I feel encouraged just knowing that I am not alone. Thank you, Matt!

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