Thursday, May 13, 2010
What it Takes to Be an Author, Part II
Pure and simple.
You can't be an author if you're not willing to face your fears. Fear of failure. Fear of rejection. Fear of letting others down.
Fear that the answer to the following questions is 'No!':
Will I ever write another book?
Will I ever write another GOOD book?
Can I really do this again and again and again?
Those three questions have haunted me since day one of this journey.
I love to write.
I hate to fail.
To write, I must be willing to fail and to learn from it.
That's the difficult thing. That is the struggle. I must not only allow myself to fall from the high of, "I've completed it!" to the low of, "It stinks worse than rotten eggs", but I must also be willing and able and even compelled to pick myself up, brush myself off and fix whatever is broken (in me and my manuscript).
It's a gigantuine task. One that takes a will of steal and a whole lot of coconut cake (please see previous post for details).
Writing, you see, is not about one victory. It is not one defining moment. We often discuss The Call as if that were the end of the journey, but it is truly only the beginning. The Call is simply an opportunity. It is an editor saying, "I believe in you," and us responding, "I believe in what I'm doing."
Because without that belief, we will publish one or two or three books, and the journey will get more difficult as we try to balance family life and writing and editing and creativity. We will feel overwhelmed and wonder if it is worth it, and we will begin to doubt what we are doing. If we are not careful, we will lose our passion to our panic and self-doubts. Sadly, I have seen this happen. I know several people who have published one book and never published another. Or published two or three or four and then thrown in the towel and said, "enough!".
So, yeah, The Call is the defining moment, but it is not THE moment. That does not exist. To be an author every moment must be THE moment. Each time we sit down to write, we must force aside our anxiety and worries and endless questions, and we must pour ourselves into the book with nary a thought of rejection and failure.
And that's a hard thing to do.
What does it take to be an author? It takes guts. Lots of guts.
And, of course, friends.
And the belief that what we're doing is exactly what we were made for.