watch your head.

| Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Today's Tune: Boy With a Coin

I am an aspiring writer, as you may have noticed. It's an exciting, weird, bewildering, rough place to be. It's easy to say you're a writer - the only requirement is that you write occasionally. Heck, the only requirement is that you think about writing occasionally.

Wanting to actually make a career out of writing, though... that takes dedication. Guts. Hard work. Seriousness. No matter how many anecdotes you can pull out about the incidental never-wrote-a-thing-in-their-life nobody that became an overnight household name because they miraculously wrote and sold a bestseller on their first try, we are not that person. I'm not, you're not, and it's just better for us to go on believing that THAT - that crazy, one-in-a-million shot in the dark - isn't in our future.

It's rough out there. It's hard to maintain our confidence when the odds are stacked so high. But confidence is so important! Having faith in ourselves and our ability is what's going to keep us keepin' on, even after the rejections and the stress and the heartache.

Of course, as with anything, there is a delicate balance between confidence in yourself and your talent, and having an over-inflated ego complex. We see this dichotomy in aspiring authors sometimes. There are always that select few that don't only believe they're incredible, they believe they're above scrutiny. Their art is so real, so raw, so GENIUS! that mere mortals like other writers and those people that WORK IN THE PUBLISHING INDUSTRY just can't grasp it.

These are the people that obtain critiques from various sources, and even when every critique comes back with the same issues, they insist that the passage must stay. The passage is PERFECT. You, and everyone else, just didn't get the meaning they were trying to convey. They weren't looking for criticism, they were looking for awe at their brilliance. What do you know, anyway? They know EXACTLY what they are doing.

Such people are those that usually end up becoming the most belligerent about the gate-keepers of publication. And to an extent, I understand the anger. WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE IN OFFICES TO SAY THAT MY ART IS UNWORTHY OF THE PUBLIC? And yet... well, they're the people who do this as a career. They're the people that are trying to make money.

It doesn't mean they're always right. It doesn't mean that you're a shabby writer, even if you never get published. You could be amazing. Unfortunately, talent and amazingness don't guarantee you publication. Never have, never will. It absolutely sucks, and it's absolutely a reality. No one said this game was fair.

However, no one is the perfect writer. No one is above criticism and improvement. That's the thing about art - you can ALWAYS, ALWAYS be better. Keep that in mind. Keep your voice, your will, your confidence, but don't ever think you're above criticism.

So. I guess what I'm getting at here is... believe in yourself! Believe in your talent, and that your voice is unlike any other.

But watch your head.


{ Shelley Sly } at: February 17, 2010 at 11:32 AM said...

Very wise message. Thank you for posting.

I'm always disappointed to hear or read that someone thinks they are above constructive criticism. Yes, some things are subjective, but other times the person giving the critique is right, especially if they are an agent or editor.

I had an agent give me constructive criticism on my first manuscript, and even though in my head I was almost yelling, "No, you're wrong!", I made the changes anyway. And I'm glad I did. The agent was right.

Hope your post reaches those who need to hear it!

{ Christi Goddard } at: February 17, 2010 at 12:13 PM said...

For once, my paranoia did not seize me. I know you're not complaining about me. :-) Some days, I don't even know if my book would be accepted by self-publishers ;-)

{ Kate } at: February 17, 2010 at 4:49 PM said...

The biggest egos are the most fragile. It takes a lot of courage to put your work out there, and even more to weather criticism and respond objectively.

{ Tiffany Neal } at: February 17, 2010 at 8:15 PM said...

You speak the truth.

But...but...but...MINE IS SHEER GENIUS.


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