If you’re looking for my A-Z post for today, check the main blog page.
It’s the first Wednesday of the month and time for another posting of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group.
I’m feeling a bit whimsical this month, probably because of all the folklore I’ve immersed myself in for my A-Z posts (I did a full alphabet that runs for all of April if you’re interested to go for a ride to Faerie).
If you’ve read anything I’ve written before, you know that I’m super into the original lore of fairy tales and unequivocally prefer Grimm over Perrault (and Disney).
I absolutely enjoy watching movies with an author in the lead: The Lost City with Sandra Bullock, Nim’s Island with Jodie Foster, and Romancing the Stone with Kathleen Turner to name a few.
But what if you weren’t an author heroine in an adventurous romance movie, but an author heroine in a fairy tale? Which fairy tale would properly define the path your author career is on? (Heroes are welcome, too.)
Let me take a look in my trusty copy of Grimm fairy tales…
Rapunzel was stuck in a tower by an evil witch because of a deal made before her birth. She never cut her hair, she never went out, and she never made any friends. Until, of course, a prince showed up and saved her. In the Disney version, she saves him, too – which makes it better, IMO.
A lot of writers lock themselves away, thinking that everything that isn’t writing is a distraction. Locking themselves away like Rapunzel, not getting their hair cut (because self-care detracts from writing time) and being so isolated, they have meaningful conversations with a highlighter, isn’t healthy.
Instead, make time for a balanced life. You can hang out with your friends (the roguish guy who saved Rapunzel), get your hair cut (because Rapunzel obviously suffered from tension headaches with that heavy load), make time for self-care and your mental health (banish the witch who keeps you locked up in loneliness), and get your mind functioning at full capacity by letting it get the exercise and novelty of social interaction – the highlighter doesn’t count.
Book recommendation: The Healthy Writer by Joanna Penn.
Cinderella’s stepfamily uses her as a servant to scrub and cook from dawn until dusk. She only has cinders to keep her warm. Then a fairy godmother shows up and dresses her up for a ball where she meets the prince and he saves her from her life of drudgery.
For most writers, this is the fairy tale to believe in. They would go and find that perfect literary agent (fairy godmother) who would find the perfect publisher (prince charming) and book happiness would be assured.
But that is absolutely unrealistic and leaves you without any agency. Be the heroine/hero of your own story: write that book to the best of your ability, be smart about the choices you make, and take charge of your career.
Book recommendation: How to Rock Self-Publishing by Steff Green.
Because of a curse placed on her by a wicked fairy, Briar-Rose lived in anonymity with three good fae far away from her parents and the life she should have had. Then she goes home, the curse is fulfilled, and a prince saves her with true love’s kiss. In the Disney version (Maleficent), the one who cursed her also saves her because Briar-Rose was a good person – which makes it a much better story than the insta-love with consent issues original.
You deny ever even touching a keyboard, much less writing anything you haven’t been forced to. You ignore being a writer because dreadful things could happen – like writing a book that could change the lives of people. You make fun of writers (especially) in the genre you yearn to write. But once you try to embrace being a writer, more fear creeps in. You fear publishing anything because people could hate it. You fear publishing because people could love it. You are paralyzed with fear of the writing life (you know, where Sleeping Beauty is in the enchanted sleep).
Get the help you need and take charge of you author career. Need to be a better writer? There are craft books and courses to help you. Need to know more about your publishing options? There are myriad books discussing the pros and cons of trad, hybrid and indie – and going wide or exclusive. And there’s nothing wrong with writing for the sake of writing.
Book recommendation: Story Genius by Lisa Cron.
A queen filled with envy and the need to be the prettiest, approaches her mirror every morning to know who the prettiest one is – and it better be her. But, of course, it is the much younger Snow White who doesn’t care about who the prettiest one is.
This is where a lot of writers get derailed: comparing themselves to other writers instead of to the writer they were the previous day.
Skip the comparasonitis and the envy and just be the best you you can be. If you only compare yourself to yourself, you become better instead of being dethroned like the envious queen.
Book recommendation: The Successful Author Mindset by Joanna Penn.
The Singing, Springing Lark (The Brothers Grimm version of Beauty and the Beast)
Because he didn’t trust his horse who has a built-in GPS, Beauty’s father gets lost returning from another town (reasons differing depending on the version you read) and ends up at the abode of the Beast where he takes something from him (a rose, a lark, whatever it is Beauty wants). Her father becomes the Beast’s prisoner until Beauty exchanges places with him – depending on the version it is either because of a deal her father struck, siblings who need him, or because he’s ill, but always because Beauty is such a kind person. After a bout of Stockholm syndrome, some compromise, and a bit of magic she saves the Beast’s life (who turns out to be a cursed prince and is now human), marries him and they live happily ever after.
Being in love with writing isn’t the worst thing in the world. It’s not always easy living with the beast that is writing, but with time, patience and the right nurturing, you can turn all your beasties into best sellers!
Mm, the only happily ever after here…
Book recommendation: Techniques of the Selling Writer by Dwight V Swain.
So can you compare you writing journey to any of these fairy tales? Do you like Grimm fairy tales?
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April’s theme: Libraries. My Goodreads shelf.
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18 thoughts on “If The Author’s Life Were a Fairy Tale #IWSG”
I definitely need to learn how to life a balanced life. Thanks for craft book recommendations.
You’re welcome, Natalie 🙂 We all need a bit of balance!
My favorite Disney fairy tale is Tangled because the heroine has more spirit than most Disney princesses … unless maybe Marita in Brave!
I like Tangled, too 🙂
Thanks for recasting these fairy tales to give women agency! And for the helpful links to publishing resources. Well done!
Oh my gosh. You put in so much work on this post and did such an amazing job.
I’m a Romancing the Stone fan too;)
Thanks, Sandra. It’s a feel-good movie 🙂
Balance is such a biggie for us all!
I haven’t seen Lost City yet – but I think I’ll enjoy it 🙂
It’s a good girls-night movie 🙂
Funny, I know Sleeping Beauty as Princess Aurora. I thought Briar Rose or Rose Red was the sister of Snow White. (A sister who is only in two versions of the story, and usually dies early on because those red cheeks were actually illness…?)
Lost City was way funnier than I expected.
Did you know that in Maleficent, Jolie’s own daughter was cast in the young role because she was the only child not freaked out by the actress in costume? She was just like, “hi. Mommy.” I think that’s adorable.
So… the secret to a best seller is calling all the items in the story by French names? I must use my Ordinateur portable to write more voitures, thé, volcans, grande roue, fleurs, and an bague de fiançailles in French. 🥕🥕🥕🥕🥕 cinq carottes or cinq carats? 😉😄
You watched too much Disney. LOL. I prefer the Grimm versions. So the secret, J, is writing in German. 🙂 It’s so adorable about Jolie’s daughter.
Excellent post. learned something new. Bonjour.
Thanks, Susanne 🙂
I love, love love your take on these! So funny — so apt.
I’m a bit Snow White, a bit Belle ,or at least I was. Now I just write what I like, or not.
…and J’s comment and your response are hysterical 🙂
Thanks, Jemima 🙂
I need to watch Lost City. I was a big Romance In The Stone fan own it in digital lol and its sequel. Enjoy all the antidote writing connections you made to the point of fairytales.
Thanks, Juneta. I’m sure you’ll enjoy Lost City 🙂