I’m back with another tidbit of advice for all you aspiring authors out there. Be brave!
I was trading messages on Facebook this week with a reader. She shared with me that she’s a writer also, something I didn’t know. I asked about what she writes and if she used a pen name and she shared that she’s not yet published.
She said that she’s anxious about sharing her writing with people. I told her I am, too.
Every. Single. Time.
My lesson for you this week is to be brave. I’m an introvert. I’m also a people pleaser. I want people to like me. And yet I chose a career that requires me to put myself out there and accept criticism from everyone!
It’s not easy!
But every time I get an email from someone who loved something I wrote. Or read a review (the occasional reviews I read) that says something about the book that was amazing. Each one that offers a suggestion. They all mean something to me. Even the reviews that aren’t positive are an opportunity for me. Something that can help me be a better writer.
But I still hesitate when I finish a book. I still wonder if anyone is going to like a book when I hit publish. I don’t think that’ll ever go away. After thirty-four published books, I still get anxious.
But I do it anyway.
If you’re thinking of becoming a writer, or you’ve written a book but haven’t taken the leap yet, find a friend or close family member. No, a friend will not be the best person to give you criticism, but they will give you a bit of confidence. That person will tell you your story is good, hopefully, and encourage you. When you’re starting out, you need a little bit of that.
No, you don’t want someone to lie to you, but you want someone that you know will be gentle with your feelings. Or at least will be able to deliver suggestions gently.
The first person who ever read a story of mine was / is my best friend. She gave me a bunch of notes, but I knew they were coming from a place of love because she wanted to help me. Yes, an editor will want to help you also, but an editor is a paid professional. She won’t hold back. Your friend might just enough not to hurt your feelings.
No matter what, at the end of the day, you have to be brave to share your stories. You have to let a piece of you out into the world. To give other people permission to say something you created, something you worked hard on for weeks, or months, or years, isn’t any good. And to give them permission to say it changed their life.
Because when it’s all said and done, those are the emails, the reviews, the comments you remember. Those are the ones that will change your life, not just theirs.
If you have a question, about writing or anything else, send me an email (mary (at) maryethompson (dot) com) with Q&A in the subject, or post it in the comments below, and I’ll answer your question right here on the blog!