I have two daughters, ages 5 and 7, which means– as people with similarly aged daughters will probably tell you– that we like the movie Frozen in our house. A lot. We do not even have a television, and I have still heard the signature song Let it Go so many times that I click my teeth to it while folding laundry. My husband absent-mindedly whistles it while writing computer code. If my 8 mos. old opened his mouth and ‘let it go’ came out instead of the standard ‘ah-boo, ah- BOO’, I wouldn’t be surprised. The incipient muscle-spasm in my right eye would develop into a full-blown twitch, but I wouldn’t be surprised.
However. Sometime last month as I was putting on a Frozen-themed birthday party for my 5 year old and buying her a Queen Elsa snowglobe wand that plays . . . wait for it . . . wait for it . . . Let it Go (because apparently I am a masochist), I started listening to the song’s lyrics in a different light. Listening and realizing that the words to the song actually offer some pretty solid advice about writing.
For your sanity and mine, I won’t recap the plot of the movie except to say that Elsa, the character who sings Let it Go, is for most of her life ruled by fear. She’s afraid of her own magical powers– afraid what other people will think if they ever learn about her powers. She spends her life hiding, for fear someone will discover the truth. Let it Go is what she sings when she’s accidentally given herself away– when she realizes that she has nothing to lose, that she can’t hide anymore, and can finally Let it Go.
As writers, I think there are so many times when it’s easy to be similarly ruled by fear. It can be as simple (yet scary) as having to admit to others that we are writers. Before I landed my first contract, I practically NEVER confessed to writing books. Ever. “I’m a free-lance editor,” I would say when people asked what I did. It took my husband’s tough-love approach to break me of that one. “This is my wife Anna,” he would say, whenever we met someone new. “She’s an author.” Of course people would then ask what kind of books I wrote, and I would feel totally stupid and always kind of want to stab myself with a rusty fork rather than answer– but of course I would (answer that is, not stab myself with a fork) in stammering, tongue-tied sentences. But you know what? [Read more…]