What do I mean by this? I don’t mean that writers are the intimidating type–actually just the opposite. What I mean to say, is that writers tend to be their own worst enemies.
This is something I have been thinking about for a while. It used to be that when I started a writing project, the first thoughts in my head were always about the project itself: title, chapter length, beginning, middle and end. In recent years my initial thoughts (after the story idea itself) become more about audience, marketing, price, platform, etc. So what happened?
I became obsessed with the ideas of successes and failures. I had an epiphany yesterday, whilst buried up to my elbows in topsoil:
If you write–you are a writer.
When we become authors we spend a lot of time worrying over how our work will be received. Will people like it? Will they hate it? Will it be compared to some other work? Ever hear someone say it is amazing that we survive our births or our childhoods? I think of writing the same way. It is amazing any project we begin ever gets completed, let alone published.
I have a dear friend who took her first adventure into publishing this year. She was not only amazed that anyone would want to read her work, but was shocked the first time she was referred to as “an author.” I thought she was silly, as clearly, her work was good enough to be published and enjoyed, but I kind of understand at the same time how she felt. She had spent so much time reading published works, and yet did not put herself in the same category as those other authors. We read so much about what other authors go through that sometimes I think we do ourselves a disservice. We are worried the horse will collapse on the track before it is even out of the gate.
This post is a simple reminder that if you write, even if it is not published–you are a writer.
Perhaps the best thing any of us can do to help out our writing careers, is to sit back and take a breath. Look around you. Decide what is most important during the writing. I am willing to bet the first thing that comes to mind when you are about to write that first sentence, next chapter, fantastic ending–whatever, will not be marketing or audience reception—if it is–take another deep breath and try again.