“Express yourself, don’t repress yourself”
~ Madonna (Human Nature)
I noticed an extremely talented writer friend hadn’t blogged for awhile, so I checked in on her last night. She decided to take a break due to some harsh comments from those supposedly ‘in the know,’ and was taking time to lick her wounds and hadn’t written in months. I am a true fan, and was shocked to see her so affected. But I could relate.
Been there, done that. I gave her this advice: ‘Screw ’em. Trust your voice. They’re jealous of your amazing talent, and by silencing you, they are somehow feeling better about their lack of it.’
Write, my dear friends. Ignore what THEY say. Trust your voice, believe in yourself. You are amazing.
‘YOU CAN’T WRITE’
I’ve been there. Someone I respected, who was ‘in the know,’ told me that my work wasn’t ‘ready for publication, was boring, that nobody would read it.’ So, I walked away from that situation. Doesn’t matter who that person is. What’s important is that I listened, I let it affect me, and I crawled into a dark, gray hole. For a nanosecond.
SO I WROTE ANYWAY
And then completely ignored this person’s advice, wrote Broken Pieces, the book this person said nobody would read, because I trusted my voice. And it not only changed my life, it also connected me to so many amazing survivors, writers, readers, bloggers, reviewers…to PEOPLE I likely would never have otherwise met.
LET PEOPLE HELP YOU
Your first draft is going to be awful. Terrible. Sh*t. So what? You’re no different than…
Ernest Hemingway ‘The first draft of anything is sh*t’ or
Anne Lamott: “Almost all good writing begins with terrible first efforts. You need to start somewhere. Start by getting something—anything—down on paper. What I’ve learned to do when I sit down to work on a shi**y first draft is to quiet the voices in my head.”
I personally refer to my first drafts as ‘word vomit.’ The problem, I’ve discovered, is that most new writers try too hard to make their writing perfect on the first try (impossible, I tell you!), so that when they receive criticism (and they will), they crumple. I was no different. So…what to do?
Blogging helps. Share your writing. But when it comes to getting ready for publication (no matter which direction you take), hire a writing coach, or a professional editor, someone who knows about writing and does this for a living. Not your Aunt Edna who used to correct English papers back in the day. You are too close to it to edit your own work. And by edit, I do not mean grammar and proof — no, no, no. I mean structural edits — looking at the entire content and seeing what flows, what fits, what doesn’t, what needs revision, what needs to be cut.
BUT I HAVE NO MONEY!
Gosh, if I had a nickel for every time I’ve heard this, I’d be rich by now. I get it, I do. I’m there, too. But guess what? Your book will not sell if it’s riddled with errors. You cannot afford not to hire a professional. Would you do your own heart surgery? No.
Besides, there are terrific options now: crowdfund using PubSlush (a crowdfunding platform just for book projects), look at Bibliocrunch (find quality professionals for your book publishing needs within your budget), barter services, whatever! Make it happen.
Point is this: writers write. Don’t let anyone influence you about you. Trust your voice. Protect it, above all else.
Figure the rest out later.