Posts Tagged With: diligence

It’s YOUR Story – Part 2

Last November I wrote a section of my “What I Wish I’d Known” series concerning how, in the end, it’s your story.  Despite all the feedback you receive, the final decisions are yours.  The story is yours and yours alone.  Today, I’d like to talk about it some more.  We’ll call this “It’s YOUR Story – Part 2.”

We’ve all seen the writer who completely changes their entire manuscript every time someone provides any sort of feedback.  These are the sorts of writers who spend months and sometimes even years revising and revising until the novel and story they began with becomes so twisted and convoluted not even they know what’s happening anymore.  Some of us may even be that person.  Don’t get me wrong, revising is a good thing. Getting external feedback from others is a good thing.  In fact, I will go so far as to say they’re both NECESSARY THINGS.

But the story is still yours.

Just because you receive a suggestion, revision request, or negative criticism doesn’t mean you have to listen to it.  It doesn’t mean you have to change your manuscript.  There’s a skill every author needs to develop at some point in their career where they can determine for themselves what feedback is necessary to the story, and which is not.  It’s not a solid line of demarcation and is developed over a lifetime, but it’s a vital skill.  How does one balance the arrogance of saying it doesn’t need to be changed with the requisite humility to implement the actual needed changes and the wisdom to know which is which?

Practice.

Frankly, all authors are a little arrogant at heart.  We have to be.  How else would we stare into the face of possible rejection and try anyway?  How else would we make the arrogant assumption that anything we write would want to be read and enjoyed by anyone other than ourselves?  Yet we make those assumptions, we try, we write, and we persist.

But in order to improve we have to be willing to change and do better.  That only comes through being humble enough to ask for and accept criticism and then figure out how to implement it and improve.  Does it sound hard?  Yes.  Why?

Because it IS hard.

Hard things, however, become easier with practice. If you remember nothing else, remember that.  Hard things become easier with practice.  They don’t become easy, just easier.  You’ll find that balance as you continue to write and practice your craft.  Don’t spend your whole life in an endless cycle of revisions and re-writes.  No novel is perfect, not even published ones.  If you’re getting lost in that cycle, end it by setting the project aside and writing something new.  You’ve got this, after all, it’s your story.  No one can tell it quite as well as you can.  Just remember that no one only has one story – keep writing and practicing until you’ve developed that skill to discern what feedback to take and what feedback to tastefully ignore.  It’s a vital skill, but one I’m confident all writers who are persistence in their craft can master.  You’ll do it.  Don’t worry.  It’s there within you.

Categories: What I Wish I'd Known, Writing/Editing Tips | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What I Wish I’d Known – Part 7

Dealing with the Emotions of Being an Author – It’s what you do.

In an earlier post, I talked about how writing it hard work.  It is.  It takes a lot of dedicated effort, diligence, and persistence, even in the face of failure and resistance.  Every author will tell you that they invest bits of themselves into their writing.  They’re invested in the product they are creating and the characters, people, places, and situations they are crafting.

Because of that, there are deep, abiding emotions involved in this craft that we call writing.

I’m not going to list them all, but there are so many different emotions authors face every day, every time they turn on their computer to write, or open a file from an alpha or beta reader.  We all want what we write to be appreciated and enjoyed.  We all want for the stuff we’ve worked so hard on to actually mean something.  We all have the fear that we’ll get rejected and we’ll fail.  We need to recognize these emotions within ourselves and learn how to deal with them because, simply put, they’re not going away.

Michaelbrent Collings, bestselling horror author and all around purveyor and starlight champion of indie authors everywhere, said it this way:

“Every time I write a book – and I mean EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. – there’s a point where I realize I’m not going to be able to figure the story out, where I know that this is the one where I write total crap and everyone realizes how badly I really suck. Where I understand that THIS is the book that will make me a failure.

I push on. And so far I’ve managed to beat that feeling back long enough to make a liar out of it. But it is among the worst feelings of all, because it is the feeling that I’m not only doomed to fail, and I know it, but I also know that I will fail in a worthless endeavor.

And then, when I’m done, I go and do it again. On purpose.

Sigh. Apparently Momma raised at least one dumb kid.”

He’s right – and he has written literally dozens of bestsellers.  It’s an emotional, difficult process for all of us.  Every time.  And it doesn’t get any easier the more books you write.  I’m only up to 2 published books and 1 on the way and I’m probably more nervous now than I was with my first book.  Why?  Because I’ve set my own bar and I have to be better than that bar the next time around.  I have to raise the bar each time.  And I am my own worst critic.

J. Scott Savage recently said the following. He is the author of several middle grade fantasy novels and recently launched his Mysteries of Cove series.

“Just a reminder that there will always be better writers than you. I will never have James Dashner’s crazy imagination, Brandon Sanderson’s world building, or Annette Luthy Lyon’s prose. But I will always be able to write the best J Scott Savage books. And that’s completely okay. People read your stories precisely because they are YOUR stories. Spend less time worrying about whether or not you are as good as someone else, and instead focus on being the best you.”

So keep writing.  Yes, you’ll be terrified, nervous, scared, nauseated, frightened, and insecure.  You’ll have days, moments, weeks, or even months where you’re convinced that nothing you do will work out.  You’ll have projects that you think will get the best of you.  There will be days where your crippling social anxiety will live up to its name.

But you’ll get through it.  You will overcome it.  You will keep writing and getting better and improving.  You will do it.  Because you are an author.  That’s what you do.

Categories: What I Wish I'd Known, Writing/Editing Tips | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Proudly powered by WordPress Theme: Adventure Journal by Contexture International.

%d bloggers like this: