Hello to all the writers out there, especially the courageous ones participating in NaNoWriMo. In order to be good writers we have to be able to self edit. We have to be able to step away from the Art in order to shave off a bit of flesh here, pummel the soft spot there, and sometimes kill it off completely, bury it in the backyard, and never speak of it again. But that same ability to critique our work can overflow into our entire lives, causing us to second guess ourselves in just about everything, especially our decision to be writers in the first place.
So here are some encouraging words from Jim Butcher, author of the Dresden Files and one of fiction's most beloved characters; Maggie Stievfater, author of Shiver among many other fabulous books; and, finally, my wise twin sister, who graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design and therefore can survive any criticism that's flung her way.
First up: Jim Butcher. You've got to read the story of how he became a published author. My favorite part, "Keep trying when the guy next to you quits in disgust. Keep writing when the girl next to you sobs and throws her manuscripts into the fire. Keep conducting yourself like a professional, and you'll get someone to believe that you are one. If you're lucky, maybe even yourself." Read his post here.
Next up, Maggie Stiefvater. She seems like a happy person. In her photos she looks like a pixie, her hair pulled back in a ponytail and a mischievous grin on her face. Therefore I assumed that her entire life was happy, and that her journey to publication was like a jaunt through a field of roses and friendly woodland creatures. But everyone struggles. Everyone has doubts. Read her post here.
And finally, some inspiring words from my twin sis. This is taken from an email she sent me today:
"Writing will never be a 9-5 type thing. It will always be this weird ebb and flow of work and creativity. So you're going to have to learn to be nice to yourself. You're going to have to learn that some days are productive and some aren't. And no one else will understand. You could be a great editor or lawyer. Instead you are taking the harder path in life. And everyone around you will think it's the easy path, the "fun" path. They are wrong. It doesn't matter what they think because you ARE talented. And you WILL be published."
I hope this post inspired you! Remember: Don't let your relatives make you feel bad over the holidays when they ask if you're still doing "that writing thing" (they're not trying to be mean, usually.) Don't let Facebook make you feel bad about your lack of success. Don't let the little gremlin on your shoulder, as one author put it, tell you that you're wasting your life.
If you want to write, then write. Tell stories. Spin a world out of words. And don't ever, not once, apologize.