Monday, January 11, 2016

Reads for Writers: Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes

From Kate’s Writing Crate…

          How many of us say yes to every invitation and opportunity that scares us? Being writers—often introverts who need solitude to read, think, and work—I’m guessing very few of us. So who knows where the roads not taken would have led us?

          Shonda Rhimes knows the answer. After almost a decade of saying no, she chose yes as her word of the year in 2014. She said yes to every opportunity and invitation that scared her. As the creator, writer, and/or producer of Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, Private Practice, and How to Get Away with Murder, many, many opportunities and invitations that scared her came her way.

          In her book Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand in the Sun and Be Your Own Person, Rhimes shares her journeys behind the scenes and in the spotlight as she welcomed opportunities and faced her fears. The worst things she worried about never happened (passing out and fear snot among many others) while the best things she never considered happened (joy, new friends, playing more often, and losing over 100 pounds).

          Her words of hard won wisdom resonate:

Dreams are lovely. But they are just dreams. Fleeting, ephemeral. Pretty. But dreams do not come true just because you dream them. It’s hard work that makes things happen. It’s hard work that creates change. (page 78)

                   “The rule is: there are no rules.

Happiness comes from living as you need to, as you want to. As your inner voice tells you to. Happiness comes from being who you actually are instead of who you think you are supposed to be.” (page 286)

Her feelings are real and relatable when faced with scary situations like appearing on Jimmy Kimmel’s show live:

“You can die from the hiccups. For real. I’m a fake doctor who writes fake medicine for TV. So I know stuff. And I’m telling you, we killed Meredith’s stepmother with hiccups and that could happen to me. I could laugh until I hiccup and hiccup and die.” (page 48)

 “…I am afraid I may accidentally Janet Jackson Boob Jimmy. Or pee on his sofa like an excited puppy. Or fall on my face before I even make it to the sofa. Or die. I don’t say anything about any of that.

Because I’m a lady, damn it.” (page 50)

Her experiences are varied: sometimes funny, and sometimes, as her young daughter Emerson says, mazing. Her take on motherhood and how it evolved during this year is also shared. If you want to know more, say yes and read this book.

Yes is a powerful word. Rhimes’ life was transformed inside and out simply by saying yes.

Reading this book might make you choose yes as your word of 2015.

Rhimes also writes about writing in this book. And about her TV shows. And the actors on them. Who her hero is and why. It’s a book worth saying yes to for so many reasons.

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