Thursday, February 28, 2008

Secret Thoughts - Don't Tell

I came across a discussion on best writing advice the other day. One author said we should take ourselves seriously and never apologize or offer a disclaimer for the confidence we have in our writing and the BIG vision we have for it.

I think we often shoot ourselves in the foot when we don't take our writing and our goals seriously. It shows--in the way we respond when a non-writer asks what we're working on, in our interaction with other writers at conferences, and probably in our writing. I know there's a fine line between taking ourselves seriously and arrogance. I've met writers who believe in themselves to the point of alienating editors and agents and other writers. I find their cockiness annoying. Yet often, I get mad at myself because I don't have--and exhibit--their confidence.

I'm filled with uncertainty regarding my own writing and goals, and I know that can cause an editor to look at me suspiciously. I suspect they wonder if I can turn out book after book? I wonder too. I've written four books, published one and have a background in newspaper and magazine writing. I can meet deadlines with no problem. But do I want to? I ask myself if I can promote the way I'd have to if they honored me with a three-book contract. I'm constantly looking inside myself, trying to determine if I believe in myself to that extent? Do I want to put writing and promotion before everything else in my life? Actually, the answer to that question is no, I don't. I want God and family first--always.

I'm an observer. I watch and listen to everything going on around me. I've seen writers relegate family and friends to the back of that publishing bus. They become obsessed with that next contract--will it come? Deadline after deadline pummels them into submission.

Honestly, I don't want that. But I do want to sell another book, and another one, and another one.

The question I have is--how can we produce over and over again without sacrificing those we love. And that includes ourselves?

Is it possible? What do you think?


Pamela S Thibodeaux said...

Yes, Jess, it is possible to write and promote without sacrificing those you love. Even yourself.

It's all in maintaining BALANCE and knowing when to walk away and spend time with that/those loved ones...even yourself.

This is just one of the many 'fears' that block writers from doing what they love and what God has called them to do.

Don't let it stop you!

Erica Vetsch said...

Oh, man, I hear you. Someone asks me about my writing and suddenly, there are no words in my head, and my tongue is as lively as an old boot.

I am afraid of coming off as arrogant, or insane, so I say "Oh, I'm working on a novel."