I decided to start a blog and a webcomic all about writing.
I’ve been wanting to do this for a long time, and I decided that it’s now or never. I can spend countless hours watching my favorite writing and blogging YouTubers, researching how to begin a webcomic, Googling the latest tips and tricks… or I can just start, hurry up and fail, and get to doing well faster.
You must be here because you have some dreams of being a writer, or maybe you already are, in which case CONGRATULATIONS! You put in the labor and you’re going to cash out. If you’re still in dream mode, please read on. Then immediately after, get to writing! (Or get to plotting, if you’re into that, because Nanowrimo is soon, so you can begin your novel in November with millions of other writers, including me! Happy Preptober!)
But it’s scary to begin. Rejections are real, and they’re coming for every single author who sends their hard work into the world. It’s much easier to watch AuthorTube, read books, and brainstorm ideas, and those are all great ways to boost yourself, but that alone won’t turn you into the writer you want to be.
Let’s use our imaginations to decide what we should do.
Imagine a world where (insert your favorite author here) had waited and waited until they had everything figured before they began writing. Imagine your favorite book didn’t exist, because (fave) didn’t think they were good enough to start. They spent a lifetime acquiring as much knowledge as they could, maybe even starting some drafts, but the fear of rejection and inadequacy prevented them from sharing their work.
Now imagine a different world where you’ve learned a lot, you’ve put your heart into your art, you know there’s more to learn, but after some edits and diligent drafts, you’re ready to begin. You send your work out, you get some rejections, because who doesn’t, but all you need is one yes.
And you get it.
Your debut isn’t perfect, but it gets enough praise for people to want to read more. So you write more, and your second novel gets you some pretty serious accolades. Your next novel gets you on some best seller lists and by your fourth… even your (fave) is dying to meet you.
Now imagine a third world where you were a master at writing… in theory. You know your basics (how to show, not tell + how to plot + how to write a character arc) and even some more advanced practices (how to avoid filtering + how to add subtext and foreshadowing + how to use “whom”) but when your friends ask to read your work, your heart rips itself in half and you stutter something about “not yet.”
Which world would you rather live in? The choice is yours.
If you’re having a hard time imagining any of the worlds, here’s another exercise that might ring truer for you. Think of (fave) or any author whose books you’ve read more than one of, especially if you read a later work before you read their debut. For example, I read Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo (my personal fave) before I read The Grisha Trilogy. I also read Gone Girl before I read Gillian Flynn’s first novel Sharp Objects.
Did you notice differences between the work published first and the work published later? You probably liked the first one well enough, but the second/third/fourth book turned you into a fan for life.
When I read Six of Crows, I went crazy, and luckily Crooked Kingdom was only a month from release, and when I finished it, I was MANIC. I couldn’t calm down, I loved it so much, and I needed everyone to know. (Might write a blog post in the future about 100 reasons why Crooked Kingdom is amazing.) Right now, I’m finally reading the Grisha series, thoroughly enjoying it, but I can’t say I love it as much as the Six of Crows duology. But just from finishing Shadow and Bone and moving onto Siege and Storm, I noticed so much improvement, especially with character and dialogue, which makes me really excited to finish and read Ruin and Rising.
When I read Sharp Objects, I was kicking myself for reading out of publishing order because I enjoyed Gone Girl so much, and I only liked Sharp Objects. But this taught me a valuable lesson that I may not have learned so well had I just read an inspirational quote about it in a blog.
Writers get better when they write more.
–Liviam Reedespeare (1502 AD)
Sure, there are exceptions, but generally writers evolve by writing more. Leigh Bardugo and Gillian Flynn are superstars now, but they, like every writer, have gone through rejections and growth. It’s part of the process.
That’s all I really wanted to say. I hope I’ve encouraged you to start if you haven’t already.
TL;DR: If you’re afraid to start writing, don’t be, because you learn more along the way by doing than by teaching yourself and not applying what you learn. You’ll face hard times and rejections, but so did your favorite authors.