It seems like, lately, I’ve been having a lot of conversations with writers–online and off–about how to deal with all the unknowns of this writing thing. In particular, Mary-Francis Makichen’s blog post “You Can’t Win if You Don’t Play” really caught me.
What unknowns am I talking about?
- Whether your story idea is any good
- Whether you can turn this story idea into a FINISHED book
- If you’re even working on the right project
- Whether that book will be good enough to get an agent or editor
- Whether, even if that book is good enough, it will find a home
- How long you should keep querying (see Jessica Faust’s post on this topic)
I could go on. I do believe that it isn’t only pre-published authors who deal with these questions. Yes, maybe, the belief in possibilities comes a little easier once you’ve done it before, but I don’t think it completely wipes out the worry.
You hear all sorts of ideas/opinions about how to get through or around these worries, how to keep writing despite them. Determination. Education. BIC. I’d like to add a new word to the pot.
Yeah, I know, in some ways we have it good. We are doing something we love, playing with words, fashioning something new out of the ones we put on the page. I’m lucky–I get to spend the bulk of my day’s hours in this pursuit, sometimes in pajamas, sometimes on the couch. And, even when it’s exasperating and frustrating and confusing, there really isn’t anything else I’d pick. I think most writers feel this way.
This doesn’t mean it’s easy. One of the hardest things about writing is NOT having short-term positive feedback. Sometimes, we don’t even have long-term feedback.
It’s kind of like when Wile E. Coyote runs off the cliff. Except we’re not clueless like Wile. We actually know the cliff is there. We hope that when we step off, we’ll keep going, maybe even climb higher into the sky, but we know there’s a real risk this won’t happen. Yet we keep running.
This takes courage.
So, for today, pat yourself on the back and give yourself a treat. An extra piece of chocolate, a hot cup of tea, a new book. And then take a breath of bravery and get back to work. 🙂