For the Girls
Featuring Jane Porter
I love writing for women. Frankly, I’m amazed by women. Of course I’m biased, but I think women are the cooler gender. I also think we’re the most confused, but that’s probably because Madison Avenue ad folks have figured out how to get to our heads—just tell us we’re not good enough. Convince us we need to be fixed. Sell us products with which to repair our damaged selves. And keep fixing our damaged selves.
That’s where I start frothing at the mouth. And that’s when I pull out my soap box and begin to beat my chest Tarzan-style.
We women are cool. And we’re not messed up. We have just been sold a bunch of BS for a couple hundred years and I see my job—as well as my choice of subject matter—as a chance to reveal truth. My stories give me a chance to sound my voice, to peel away the layer of lies, to rake out the BS, and to poke fun at our fragile sense of self. We women are wonderful and we’re definitely good enough.
I wasn’t always so compassionate. I grew up rather hard on women, but that’s because I was brutal with myself. I couldn’t make mistakes. I couldn’t fail. I couldn’t bear to think I was flawed—and yet, God help me, I am one of the most flawed women in the universe. I’m intense and passionate, prickly, emotional, ambitious. And once I hit my late thirties, I thought—cool. I’m prickly, passionate Jane, and I’m going to start enjoying what I do well, and not worry about what I don’t do so well, and just be happy with me. The miracle was that by finally accepting me, I could accept everyone else.
Now I’m a bit of an evangelist. Through my writing I preach more love, more laughter, more happiness in my books. I really want women to like themselves, to enjoy their lives, to savor their gifts, to forgive their weaknesses. We don’t have to be perfect. We just have to live fulfilling, interesting lives.
We don’t have to be hard on other women. And we definitely don’t have to be so hard on ourselves. Compassion goes a long way, and it’s amazing what it can do for one’s creativity. So the next time you sit down to write, the next time you find yourself hitting a wall, or feeling frustration with your work, give yourself some TLC, remind yourself that creativity is demanding, and writing isn’t easy, and you’re doing something few people can do. We don’t have to be tortured to produce great work. We just have to like ourselves.
Jane Porter’s July 2006 release, Flirting With Forty (5 Spot), was picked by Redbook Magazine as its Red Hot Summer Read before being optioned as a Lifetime Christmas 2008 TV movie. Jane's newest novel, Mrs. Perfect, (May 2008, 5 Spot) has also received tremendous acclaim from her readers. www.janeporter.com