As my launch day inched closer, several people commented, “you must be so excited,” which I was, but I was also terrified. It is one thing to spend the last several months (or years) toiling away on a novel in one’s spare time, but it is quite another to actually let other people read it, and strangers at that. Releasing a second novel isn’t any easier than the first. If anything it can be even more nerve inducing. What if the first was a fluke? People now have expectations. What if I can’t meet them?
The easy way to get around this fear is to simply hide behind a pen name and never tell anyone you actually published a novel. This will also ensure you receive minimal bad reviews, mostly because your novel isn’t read. The better way, though, is to take advantage of the writing community. I have been blogging for two years now (I know – where does the time go?), and have met some of the most spectacularly supportive fellow writers. They have played and integral part in promoting my work, and I am thrilled to now be in a position to return the favor.
One of those writers is Kristin Elise Garrett, whose novel, She Hopped Over the Wall, also launched this week. When I first ‘met’ Kristin, I did what every sensible person would do, I reviewed her About Me page, and was struck by her words, “I think it is a brave thing for one to put themselves out there with their thoughts, feelings, imagination, and everything else that comes along with good writing. It can be an emotional, financial, and professional risk.” Brave indeed. Knowing how difficult it had been for me, I just had to ask what gave her the courage to take that risk.
Things that gave me courage to come out as a writer – by Kristin Garrett
- I stopped caring what everybody thought. If you want to be good at anything you have to ignore unconstructive criticism. There will always be a fly buzzing in your ear telling you that you’re not good enough. Most of those people are just jealous or they would be reading a writer who is good enough (which is you). Sometimes these people will even be your friends, family, coworkers, whatever. Personally I don’t give bad reviews. If something sucks I quit reading and move on. I don’t have time to be moaning about everyone else’s writing because I’m too busy writing my own work.
- I learned you cannot please everyone so just please yourself. Who cares if no one reads you? I found some lovely bloggers whose books I enjoyed more than some best-selling novels. Not everyone is going to like what you write. When you start writing for other people, writing for fame, or writing for stats, that’s when you become miserable. Nothing will ever be enough.
- I can do whatever I want. My blog has no theme. One day it’s dramatic fiction, another day it’s satirical humor, what I ate last weekend, it’s mine and I can do whatever I want.
- There has to be more to life than paying bills and dying. I don’t know where that phrase came from but I saw it on Pinterest and it’s true. I like my day job and I like my life but the only thing that really invigorates me is writing. It doesn’t mean I need to quit the rest of my life to “become a full-time writer.” I just wrote a novel in two months and I work 50+ hours a week. I can do both. If it ever comes to someone paying me then I’m not going to say no…
- It could be my calling. It would be bold of me to say it is my calling. But I don’t know until I try. I could be missing out on the best that life has to offer if I don’t put finger to keyboard. I seldom know what I’m writing in advance. It’s like real life; you make plans, you walk outside, your favorite restaurant is closed, you go to another, you plan on the park but it rains, etc. When I write, my characters do something unexpected and then I change course. Those rascals.
- I stopped thinking of it as a job. It doesn’t have to be perfect. I have a day job that I get paid for. No one is going to fire me because of a faulty plot.
- Nobody is going to die if your writing is terrible. Unless it’s a character that has reached an unfortunate turn for the worst.