As a writer I’m expected to be a loner. Books aren’t written in the middle of a party. It isn’t done by a group of friends sitting around a living room. It’s solitary work, between a writer and their medium. Whether you use pen and paper or a computer, you still need the solitude to focus on getting your message out.
Solitude can allow your mind to wander and wonder if your message is a total snooze fest. Or, if you’re like me and struggle with punctuation daily, to fret that readers point and laugh at obvious comma misplacement. Don’t say they don’t. Commas can be hilarious.
Long ago I realized that everything made me nervous, my clothes, haircut, grades, boys, and people’s reactions in general. I really only had two options. Remain sequestered in my room until I completely cracked, or take a deep breath and step out into the terrifying world and deal with my inadequacies. When a dear friend pointed out that I have to write, it was just another step.
Then I realized that it wasn’t just one. Writing is a series of terrifying steps. Seriously, I think writers block is just the crushing fear of moving on with the book. You have to put your but in the chair and make your hands create words. Then of course they have to make sense, build character, and move along the plot…
Once you’ve written the book, you breathe a sigh of relief. It’s done. You made it. Not really, now you have to go back and change the words that you labored so hard to create. Then there’s self editing. Then some people give it to others to review and make changes or not depending on what they said.
Then you need to find an Agent. What if you can’t do that? What if the thing you’ve worked so hard on is really awful? Those darn commas. Or, if you get an agent, and they manage to get you published. Then you have to go to book signings. What if no one shows up? You sit there all day amid stacks of your book, your smile getting more and more desperate with every hour. Or if you’re at a group signing and yours is the only book that no one wants.
Wait. Life isn’t about what could happen. It’s about what’s happening right now.
You want to write a book? Good, do it.
You’re finished? You are now in one percent of the population. Edit that one. Write another.
Done with that? Query an agent.
Rejected? Do it again. Continue until you get one.
Found an agent? Congratulations, are you done with that second book yet?
Published? You’ve just achieved something wonderful. Be proud of yourself. Sign books. Promote. And above all keep writing.
Just because some people don’t like your book, doesn’t mean everyone won’t. To quote Walt Disney, “Keep moving forward.”
Don’t let the peak of insecurity stop you in your tracks. Own it, use it, bend it to your will until it becomes a part of who you are and no one, including you, notices it anymore.