We’re women, we understand expectations. We have daily expectations from others, like feeding people, keeping them clean (I saw a remark on Kendra’s blog that said, “A clean house is a sign of a broken computer.” LOVE IT!). Remember the old Enjoli commercials? “I can bring home the bacon, fry it up in a pan, and never never let you forget you’re a man, ‘cause I’m a woman!” Loved that commercial, back when doing it all was new.

If we just had those expectations, we might be able to stay sane. But then we have expectations of ourselves, keeping our house as clean as our mother, making homemade dinners, keeping the grass alive in August in Texas, keeping our kids entertained and out of trouble, to be as thin as (insert celebrity here). Currently, mine’s Roseanne, but I have low expectations and I like food.

Even if THAT was all, we might stay sane. But we want more. Most of you who visit this blog are writers. Most of us want to be published. To that end, we work our butts off, many many hours in the chair. We spend money we don’t always have to get to conferences or enter contests. We wish the day away waiting for the mailman or a phone call. And we write. This is a huge pressure we put on ourselves. We all have our reasons for doing it – mine’s obsession – but I think we need to recognize that if we’re putting the pressure on, we can ease it off. (I just figured this out this year, y’all. Haven’t put it into practice yet, but there ya go.)

But in writing, as in other areas of our lives, we have outside expectations. Okay, worse, other people may NOT have expectations of us, but we THINK they do, you know? When my grandmother was alive, I finished more than one story I wasn’t happy with because she was reading it and wanted to know what happened. When I don’t final in a contest, I think, “Wow, people must think I didn’t deserve the OTHER contests I finalled in, if I couldn’t make it in this one.” Or that people think we know more than we do if we final in contests. When I was rejected last week, my third rejection on a revised novel for Susan Litman, I felt I let her down. I felt I let the people on eHarlequin down for not being able to get these revisions right.

I feel sometimes that my expectations put pressure on others. My CP Trish J is incredible. But I write pretty fast and I overwhelm her. I want her feedback because she’s dead-on most of the time (I can say that because she never comes over here – can’t have her getting a big head!) but I know she gets frustrated with the workload.

I’ve been reading JoAnn’s WIP and it’s amazing. (Rough draft, people. Some days I want to strangle her.) I want to read more. But I’m afraid my expectations for her to write more puts undue pressure on her. (This can also be a good thing, do you agree?)

Just so I don’t fail your expectations, here’s another great pic of Gerry. We all know what expectations we have of what’s under that kilt, yes?

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Anonymous said...

This was so good! You're right. We control the expectations we have from ourselves and sometimes those are the biggest stress causers.
I need to remember that as I et ready to go back to work. Last January I fell apart. I was so mad at the idea of bringing home the bacon....because I couldn't do it all and I felt like a failure. But then I realized the only one expecting it all was me. :-)

MJFredrick said...

That realization sure is something, isn't it? We have more control over our lives than we think. We just have to REMEMBER that. Are you a teacher, too, Mary Beth?

Trish Milburn said...

You're so right about those expectations and most of it being just us doing it to ourselves. I've tried to get past that, past the compulsion I've had my entire life to do everything and do it perfectly.

And you ARE good enough, Mary. We've just got to find the right editor who sees that.


MJFredrick said...

Huh. I'm wondering if this compulsion thing is a woman thing or a writer thing, or a combination. I'm sure seeing it more and more in the women I've gotten to know these past few years.

Bless you for your sweet words, Trish!

Anonymous said...

I agree with Trish, first of all. You WILL achieve what you want, Mar. Because you ARE that good. How do I know that? I've read your work.

I love my current wip. Yeah, I really do. But I went to the Frio yesterday to have fun with my family and didn't think of it for a second. I choose when to focus on it and when to let it go and clear my mind. I guess this summer has taught me a lot. I cannot control the world around me. I can only control what I do within it. And choice is the greatest gift ever given to us by the Divine, in my view. My expectation is to finish this current ms as soon as I can, so I can pitch it to Trisk and have a follow-up to the book they've already purchased. If I worried about the expectations of others, I probably wouldn't have even tried to sell to Triskelion. I know there are a handful of writers who look at me and think, "That's nice, but it's just an ebook. Not a REAL book." It's real to me when I sign a contract and get a royalty check---which is more than I would have made putting this book under my bed when HI gave it a pass. I know what I want and how I want to get there. That's true freedom, that previously mentioned gift from the Divine. If I can free myself spiritually, which I have...I can do it in all areas of my life. I can live to MY expectations, and do my best to meet them. That's where real satisfaction and happiness lies. Gads, I am rambling, aren't I? LOL

You always have such good topics on your blog, Mar. It makes my day.

Love you,

PS----Gerard in a kilt! Aieeee!

MJFredrick said...

JoAnn, you are one of the most self-aware people I know. I need to remember that about you when I feel like I'm pushing you to LET ME READ MORE. I'm glad you love this one, because I want to read more.

Knew you'd love this one of Gerry. I've had some good ones this week, huh?

Anonymous said...

I never see your eagerness as pressure, Mar. I see it as encouragement. It feels good when someone is enthused about something I've written!

And YES...it's been SUCH a good Gerard week! But they all are! Sigghh...a day without Gerard is a day without sunshine... :)


Amie Stuart said...

Great post Mary!!!!! Somehow I find that expectations from others tends to cripple me =\ I haven't found a solution yet.

MJFredrick said...

Cece, that's exactly my fear - either crippling someone by my expectations, or being crippled (or pigeonholed) by theirs. Do you think it's more difficult for you since you write romantica?

Anonymous said...

You can go it Mary! I put a lot of pressure on myself as well. It's hard to be everything everyone espects us to be all the time. But just always be true to yourself and it will all just work out.

Everyone raving about how great you are makes ME want to read your work. The stars will align and it will happen for you!

MJFredrick said...

Thanks, Kendra!

If you want to read some of my stuff, I still have 2 entries at Contest Junkies - one is closed for voting, so I guess I can tell you the name on that one. Hot Shot. The other is still open for voting, and is set in Central America, with a verrrry hunky archaeologist.

Amie Stuart said...

I don't think it's more difficult, I think it's just different. And maybe this is just me but paranormal and romantica seem to go so hand in hand that because I write contemporary erotica or romantica, I worry that it's not enough. But I'm not sure I can explain why. Make sense?

*Sidenote: I love paranormals and I'm blessed to have two CP's who write them (well), but my mind doesn't bend in that direction to write them.

MJFredrick said...

Hm, Cece. I think I know what you mean. I kind of feel that way when I write straight romance without any action/suspense subplot.

I've written one paranormal, which Trish J (my CP) proclaims her favorite, but I didn't do a great job with world building. And since I'll probably never write another paranormal (my main inspiration in that venue is Angel, and vampires are everywhere), I don't have the heart, or time, to go back and fix it.

Amie Stuart said...

I gues in that vein Mary at least we know our limits. =) Because I also can't write a plot driven story (IE suspense or action). It's all about character for me--but I'm big on reading plot driven books. Go figure!

I can't even figure out what I was trying to say this morning, so I'm glad you get it!

Frankly, I'll be glad to get back to my "closed door" chick lit. It's a nice break from writing sex and having to worry about sexual tension and emotion. Not that the chick lit doesn't have emotion, it's just a completely different story written a completely different way.

MJFredrick said...

Cece, it's really neat that you have two such different venues you're pursuing. I'm so locked into what I'm writing, I have a hard time branching out.

I was just thinking, I like reading romantic suspense, but I can't write them. Too many threads to keep track of.


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