Okay, so Caldera 8 went live yesterday. Yay!
Here’s the obligatory picture that everybody says will help drive traffic to your site.
But that’s not really what I came here to talk about.
I’ve been lucky enough to be invited to speak to a few writing groups. I even joined one afterward. Good people in that group. But…one thing that I’m often asked that I don’t always address well is, “What would you tell yourself if you could go back and give yourself advice when you first started writing?”
Most of the time I think, ‘Don’t QUIT! Write whatever you love and those who love it will find it.’ Or, something to that effect.
But here lately, I’ve been taking more trips down memory lane and I recall a moment when I was ready to pack it all in. I had made the mistake of getting online and reading through some ‘Writer’s Forums’. Oh wow. Some of the people in those places are completely whackadoodle. And yes, that’s actually a medical term for ‘nutso’.
I remember I joined this one group and they were discussing all kinds of topics. And being completely new, I was totally enamored with their replies and their suggestions and…well, I believed them. Imagine that! Believing people you don’t know on the internet.
Anyway, I remember this one guy (who everybody seemed to look to as sort of the group leader or guru or some such) and he was saying, ‘if you write more than 500 words in a day, then it’s crap and not worth reading’.
Well, that blew my mind. I mean, here I was throwing down THOUSANDS of words a day sometimes. Did that mean my writing was crap?
He went on to tell folks that unless you were signed with a Big 6 publisher, you weren’t a REAL writer.
Oh wow. I’m totally screwed then.
Another of his rants was about ‘horror’ and how only IDIOTS read such drivel.
Well, I have no idea what golden pearls of wisdom this guy was writing, but I had concluded that he:
1. Wrote less than 500 QUALITY words per day.
2. Must be signed with at least two of the Big 6 because people just hung on to his every word. And;
3. Whatever he wrote, it must NOT be horror.
He’s so lucky.
Well, needless to say, I was sent into this downward spiral. Seriously, I was ready to just hang it all up and walk away. I mean, who was I to question this guy? Anybody who did dare to question him got raked across the coals by the entire group.
But one voice did. He told him that he was an indie who hired reputable editors and cover artists and he worked his tail off to market himself. He made himself available to his readers and he loved interacting with them. And he made good money doing it. Oh, hell no! This was sacrilege and they laughed this guy right out of the forum. How DARE he say something that went against the great an almighty Oz?!
I actually called my editor at that time. An indie writer who built himself up from the worst possible starting point and remade himself into a force to be reckoned with. He talked me off of the ledge and convinced me that my writing was worthy. If nothing else, let the sales prove that point. Take the risk, believe what he told me and finish what I started.
So I did.
And I’m so thankful that I did. Because of my writing, I’ve met some of the most wonderful people out there. I’ve taken the hits and the less than constructive criticisms and tried to improve my storytelling. I’ve made friends with some of the coolest people with a similar off kilter sense of humor as mine and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed this ride.
No, I’m not quitting or anything silly like that. I was just reminded of the time when I allowed nameless, faceless people on an internet forum convince me that there was only one way to do something. And I almost believed them.
So, I guess I wasn’t wrong when I said that I would tell myself not to quit.
But I would also add, don’t listen to internet commandos who proclaim that there is only one way to do something. Look at others who can prove that person wrong and do what they did.
I think that’s what I’d tell myself.
Oh, and exercise more. That way you can eat more bacon. 🙂