Tuesday, January 24, 2012
Being Yourself Isn't Easy
So we dare to be ourselves, writing stories that don't fit standard genres about topics that aren't mainstream, using characters who are quirky enough to make an editor uncomfortable. And we get rejected.
It's like being a rowdy child, or a child who doesn't want to dress off the racks at Abercrombie, or the boy who prefers ballet to baseball. Sometimes we dare to stand out, but often times we wind up following the parade everyone else follows.
Being different comes with a price.
Doing your own thing means alienating people who don't feel comfortable with odd, novel, or unique. You won't make friends with these people, and they might not respect you. That's not fun, no matter how cowboy you claim to be.
Being normal when it's not in your heart means you fit in the crowd and receive pats on the head, maybe even publishing something because it met all the "conditions." But inside you are empty, and writing loses its joy.
You pay a price. Yes, we have to eat. The bills have to be paid, and stepping too far out of line might mean a zero bank account. You might take a non-writing job to cover expenses, doing tasks that bore you to tears. You've sold your soul . . . and you give up writing.
It doesn't have to be that way. The key is to do what you have to in order to support yourself. Look at it as subsidizing your writing, enabling yourself to have the freedom to write.Just don't get so caught up in following the norm that you forget the strange, exceptional, bizarre magic inside of you. Don't sacrifice and forget what you're sacrificing for. That exciting eccentricity that you're afraid to show needs your attention, too.
Even if you never publish those crazy stories, that side of your persona feeds your happiness. Don't let it starve because it's not what everyone else eats. Gorge on it, and feel good.