Diane DeMasi

Freelance Writer & Author
K.A. (kick-ass) Cheerleader – Take Responsibility

K.A. (kick-ass) Cheerleader – Take Responsibility

Ever whine about someone getting a promotion over you? Ever grit your teeth and think “She’s so lucky, she just wrote that novel and got published.” Ever warm the bench and glare at the coach for not giving you game time? Well, stop it! It’s time to take responsibility for your life.

Yeah, we all have. We all have reasons why we deserve something over someone else. While there are times that others “get lucky,” that is not the norm.

Kick-Ass Cheerleader is here to set the record straight.

First, we all have people who try to help us.

Sometimes we listen; sometimes we don’t because we’re stubborn and believe we know what we’re doing. But it’s like lifting weights. When you read the description and do it yourself, you don’t always get it right. When you have a trainer next to you pointing out all the errors, you realize how wrong you had the move. You go home, think you have it down. Then watch yourself in the mirror and realize, “Crud, I am sticking my knees over my toes.”

Ditto for taking direction, whether it comes from a coach, a supervisor, or a friend. Be open. Attend workshops, conferences, and book readings. Read blogs, magazines, and books on writing. Write every day. I could easily think “I have this down.” Yet, I always learn something new. It may not be the first seven tips I hear, it may be the eighth tip that is the shortest, simplest idea – A nugget of obvious information that my brain never before considered.

Take the tip. Try it. Not just one day, give the tip a good chance. Give it a week, a month. Then decide if it works for you. If not. Throw it out. Just try. Don’t be so obstinate that you turn your back to a simple suggestion.

Secondly, stop comparing notes.

Stop judging. Stop believing you know the whole story.

This one sucks. I went through this faze and took it hard when my internal cheerleader kicked me down and stepped on me.

I have a writer friend who doesn’t read. As a friend, I like her. As a writer, I didn’t. You can’t possibly write if you don’t read. I thought it unfair that her words came to her fast enough to finish two middle-school grade novels. Yes, they were first drafts, but still, that’s pretty darn good.

At the time I agonized over every sentence in my first attempt at a novel. I got frustrated. I set it aside. Then I’d pull it out months later and try again. Each time I touched the manuscript I received an excruciating headache.

I was jealous of my friend. It wasn’t fair.

And that’s when Kick-Ass Cheerleader knocked me down and stepped on my chest.

She reminded me, “Your friend is doing. You’re whining.”

Ouch. Reality hurts.

The next time you’re jealous, think about that. Think about what you’re doing. Ultimately, you are the one responsible for yourself. You can bury your head and pretend that you work harder, but thinking about doing a task and actually doing it are vastly different in meeting your goals. And burying your head is wimpy. Stand up, realize you have issues to work on and get to work.

In my case, I scratched the manuscript, went back to basics and started a new novel. I’m 30,000 words in. It’s hard. I want to walk away, but I have an index card on my computer reminding me, “Have the courage to write badly.” It is a small part of a quote I read, unfortunately, I draw a blank as to who said it. Sorry. But they were right. The novel is going to have moments where it sucks, I just have to plod through and get to the other side. Then I can salvage the better options and let the junk sink deep into the muck and mire. I can’t edit what I don’t have. And that first draft will stink. I need to accept the challenge and slog through. It’s my responsibility.

Are you stuck with jealousy?

Stuck hating that someone you feel you’re better than got a book deal, got a promotion, got their dream job? Stop it. You don’t always know the whole story. They may not tell you that they stay up half the night working on achieving their goals. They may not tell you how hard those words were to come by. So stop. Stop judging them. Start looking at yourself. Find the weak spot and target it. Fix it. Work on your goals, your desires, and your passions. Cheer those on who succeed with theirs. Once in a while, they tend to reach down and give you a hand, a tip, a lead.

Understand, just like a first draft, we’re not perfect.  Give up that dream. Accept that you’re flawed. Take a hard look at your goals, reevaluate them, and begin stronger, because you know where your weak spot lies.

We can only strive to be better than the day before. Go. Be better.