You know why I love the heroines in the books we write? Do you know why I download e-book after e-book and read it?
Okay, so, yeah, part of it is about those strong, masculine heroes I fantasize about. But mostly it’s because of our heroines.
Our heroines are strong and resourceful. Sure, especially if they’re complex, they have moments of doubt. They may cry or stomp a foot, but ultimately, they deal with challenges and issues resourcefully. They’re multidimensional. They meet life head on and they don’t shrink from conflict or challenges. In a ménage, they may even be strong enough to stand their ground in the face of two male egos.
What I like best about our heroines is that they ultimately claim their own power. And because they do that, they’re inspiration for me.
A beautiful friend of mine recently got a short, short skirt. She was self-conscious and she shouldn’t have been. My advice to her…? Whatever you wear, own it.
As women, as writers, I encourage us to claim our power more often, at work, in relationships, in financial dealings, in asking for what we want.
I had an interesting experience a few years ago. I went on a solitary writing retreat to the gorgeous, historic Taos, NM. I was very brave, packing up my car, renting a casita, and heading out of state.
I arrived late, after dark, tired and hungry. I found the remote location in the shadow of the Sangre de Cristo mountain range, located the (female!) owner of the casita, admired the teepee she had erected for her ceremonies and marveled at the vast, sage-laden land to the west.
After getting my key and settling in, I got into my car and headed into Taos to find a grocery store. I walked up and down the aisles. I knew what foods I would select for my daughter if she were there. I knew what kind of soda my son would want. I knew what things to pick up for my (then) husband. But I had no idea what to buy myself for a ten day sojourn into creativity.
I walked the length of each aisle. And I walked out of the store a few minutes later with nothing in my hands.
I got back to the casita, still tired, still hungry.
I wasn't done yet, though. I still had another big decision ahead of me. What side of the bed did I want to sleep on? Or did I want to sleep in the middle?
The good news is, the next morning I was hungrier than I’d been the night before. And I was desperate for coffee. I went back to the store with a plan and list. No harm, no foul, but I marveled at myself. I was a grownup with a family, and I had no idea what I wanted to eat.
After that, I vowed I would know myself better. I’d spend as much time discovering what I liked as what others liked. It meant spending more solitary time. It meant journaling. It meant trying new things. I learned I liked beer. And chocolate. And fish. And I learned I really didn’t like hamburgers and I definitely didn’t like macaroni and cheese. I learned that I could go out for dinner and order dessert first. I learned I liked to lift weights and play racquetball rather than knit and go shopping.
I learned that I liked to do some adventurous things alone. I bought a backpack and hiked the wilderness by myself. (I told someone where I was going and where my car would be parked and when I would be back.) I hiked a 14,000 foot mountain alone. I spent a solitary (and mostly silent) week alone at a ranch in the middle of 800 acres near Riverton, Wyoming. (Since there was no phone or cell service at the ranch house, I had to take a gun. There’s no way to call for help if man or beast comes trundling along. This meant, oh, yeah, I had to learn to shoot. Turns out, I like that, too!)
I had to learn to build a fire for warmth, deal with a rat in the kitchen, and promise not to shoot the bull snake that lives beneath the ranch house, after all, that’s what keeps the rodent population down. Before that trip, I considered I was “roughing it” if I didn’t have twenty-four hour room service!
Through it all, I claimed my own power. Do I always ask for what I want? Hell no. Do I always stand my ground? Uh. No. Do I dither and deliberate? Oh, yes. But I don’t willingly give away my power anymore. I can shop for myself for ten days without batting an eyelash. I don’t take anyone else clothes shopping with me because I can decide what looks good on me.
How have I managed all this…?
I’ve read your books. And your heroines have inspired me.
Keep up the good work!