Friday, July 08, 2011
Afraid of Writing Well
Sometimes we fear stepping into another world, knowing we'll be forever changed. That's why most of us hate to relocate to a new environment or change jobs. Sometimes we remain married for fear of divorce, or remain single for fear of marriage.
Maybe we're leery of pitching $1/word magazines or querying New York agents because we fear what will happen if they say yes, we want to see your work. We want to watch you perform. We want to see if you've got what it takes.
Stepping up scares the hell out of writers, because it's life altering.
Alone at our computers, we can dream and imagine unencumbered. We blog, Facebook, chat on forums and Tweet about our efforts to rise to some level of professional recognition. We talk about the hours we wrote, the number of words we recorded, the conferences where we networked, and the classes we took as if that's all it takes to succeed. But we know that the true test comes when we are alone, writing pure material, and then have to send it to strangers with gatekeeper authority.Even if we self-publish, we write from the heart, package it up, and throw it to the wolves that are the Amazon readers of the world.
And we hold our breath, feeling at the mercy of Fate and people who have no clue about the level of passion poured into our words.
Even with all the books flooding the market right now, there are many more writers who haven't followed through. They haven't reached THE END, or haven't studied how to format a Kindle manuscript, or haven't mailed the query to a string of agents they researched and recorded on a spreadsheet. They are afraid.
They play safe with an evergreen Christmas story about finding the right gift instead of tackling a rawer one about Christmas greed. They blog about their daily lives instead of digging deep and seizing an opinion piece that makes them commit to a stand on a volatile issue. They submit to writing mills instead of magazines. And yes, they sometimes self-publish instead of seeking agents or traditional publishers. They are afraid.
Success can be little more than going all the way, regardless of what people think.
Be not afraid of how others will judge. Be afraid of how you'll judge yourself one day for not daring to do.
(Be proud of yourself. And have a great weekend.)