Friday, March 09, 2012
When They Tell You No
I'm not just talking editors here. As writers we face no at every turn, and I dare say most of us cave somewhere in the process. There's a reason they say that diligence is the most important characteristic of a writer. It doesn't matter how good you are if you can't keep your shoulder against the yoke.
"No" can be carefully hidden in comments that may not throw up a wall and stop you cold, but they may covertly plant a seed that does just as much damage. But when you let that obstacle grind your writing to a halt, you do it to yourself.
Look at these no's and my money's on the fact you've heard one or more:
1. You can't write a novel in present tense.
2. You use too much passive voice.
3. Your grammar needs major work.
4. You can't have a platform without a blog.
5. You must traditionally publish to be taken seriously.
6. You don't have what it takes to publish yet.
7. You need an agent to traditionally publish.
8. You can't break into a dollar-a-word magazine with your credentials.
9. You must use Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest, fill-in-the-blank.
10. You must write short stories before you write a book.
11. Success is the sale of 10,000 books.
Gosh, the shoulds, oughts and can'ts come at you from all directions. However, you err in digging in your heels and dissing the messager. Don't say, "Nope, you're wrong." Instead, study the obstacle. Give it thought. Even sleep on it. Then, once you've wrapped your mind around the negative dilemma, compose a cure for it.
1. Earn the skill to remove any doubt.
2. Practice your craft to remove any doubt.
3. Perform the deed that will remove any doubt.
Don't get in some juvenile argument with the naysayer. Talk is cheap. Action speaks volumes. In this business, a lot of online noise is about confronting the No-people with nothing other than hot air. Serious writers, however, are quietly proving people wrong with their actions, their writing, their eventual success.