So I’ve been a published writer for almost six months now and I’ve learned a lot. Not just about writing and promoting but about myself as a person. One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is that while I’m not Shakespeare (I never thought I was) I’m a pretty good writer. Does it come across as arrogant to say that? Perhaps. Writers aren’t supposed to express any confidence in their abilities for some reason. It’s like an unwritten rule we all have to follow. I think it’s stupid.
I’m always open to learning and getting better. It doesn’t insult me when people point out typos or mistakes (all books have them, even the ones put out by big name publishers) and it doesn’t make me feel bad if you think what I’ve published is tripe. I don’t care.
I’ve published a full length novel and two novellas in the last six months and I’ve had enough positive feedback, from people who don’t know me and have no reason to be nice, that it affirms my decision to keep publishing and moving forward.
Reviews fluctuate from one star to five stars. Who’s right and who’s wrong? Well, everyone is. You didn’t like my character development? Oh well. Thought my ending was bad? That’s unfortunate. Didn’t enjoy the type of sex I portrayed in my erotica books? Well, we all like something different sexually so too bad, so sad.
People love to ‘Monday morning quarterback’ you. But where is their book? Most doing it don’t have one, and if they do, you could stake your life on the fact that it’s not perfect, not in the least. I’ve had a couple of writers who’ve given me ‘constructive criticism’ which made me shake my head. Then I’ve gone and read their books and realized that any advice they’d give me is probably best ignored!
I know a few people who are very critical and consider themselves writers but have yet to even put one book up for sale. They say they want it to be ‘perfect’ before they put it up and nobody has any business putting a book up for sale that is less than perfect. Ha! You know when your book will be perfect enough to put up for sale? NEVER! Although perhaps perfection is not really what’s holding you back…maybe it’s balls!
Sorry to be blunt here, but perhaps what you lack is not literary skills, perhaps what you lack is the balls to just put it out there. It takes huge gonads to let your work go out into the world. People WILL rip it apart and it WILL hurt you, but never mind that. What do YOU think of it? When you put your head on the pillow at night do YOU feel you’ve told the story you want to tell? If the answer is a yes then that’s good enough.
Now, it’s time to move on. As the Foo Fighters say, “Done! Done! On to the next one!” Go write the next story. The process will be the same. Some will love it, some will hate it. Do YOU like it? Dave Grohl once said, “The next time somebody tells you that you can’t sing say, fuck you!” This applies to writing as much as it does to music.
Be different, be ballsy, be yourself! Say what you want in the way you want to say it. Today you are one day closer to your death bed. When you are lying there, staring at the ceiling as the light goes out in your eyes, what will you want to say to yourself? Personally I know I’ll want to say, “I had the balls to do the things I desired to do and I didn’t care what anyone else thought.”
How about you?