Writing, like any art or craft, is risky business for someone who wants to make a living doing it. The reason is because in order to be a success, an artist has to subject his/herself to criticism. But that goes back to the rejection post — it’s part of the journey. It’s a badge of honor. There’s nothing to fear from someone saying “no.”
“Yes,” on the other hand — that’s some scary stuff. When someone accepts you, suddenly you’re expected to deliver and there’s much more pressure on that than on getting a person to accept in the first place.
It takes a lot of bravery to work toward and deal with either scenario. I went back and forth with each while I was writing my first draft, which is probably why it took almost a year to do. I kept starting and stopping because whenever I got on a roll I freaked myself out by thinking it was happening too fast and I wasn’t ready for it.
“You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face.”
– Eleanor Roosevelt
In “The Artist’s Way,” Julia Cameron calls it a creative monster — that little voice that tells you something is wrong. If you are struggling, the monster will say it’s because you’re not a real artist and to go back to your day job. If the creative juices are flowing, the monster will say it’s happening too easily which must mean probably not as good as you think it is.
There comes a time when you just have to tell the monster to shut the hell up. I have to do it whenever I’m working on the book. Every. Single. Time. I had to do it when I asked Dianna to read my first draft while I was writing it; I had to do it when I asked my 16-year-old cousin (who is my target audience) and my friend from BBCE (who reads more than anybody I know) to be my second draft readers when the time comes (just a couple of weeks).
The monster is a persistent little bugger, but the only way to beat it is to keep doing the work. Sure, it’s scary. But that’s what separates artists from everybody else.
Don’t just talk about it, BE about it.