• Getting started

    27 February 2020

    A fan of my books, called Kendra, recently wrote to me for some advice about publishing. In her email she said:

     

    "I'm a comic artist/animator, just about to graduate college, and I have a piece I've been working on for a very very VERY long time. I'm finally ready to try to publish it and draw it out -- but I'm absolutely terrified. Putting my writing - and my art - out into the universe feels so personal, and I am absolutely terrified no one is going to like it. Do you ever feel this way when you write and publish your books? How do you get over the fear of failure -- if you consider no one enjoying your books a failure? How do you work with others -- and let them change your work without letting it affect you personally? And how do you keep writing fun? I'm always stuck in the balance of writing for myself and then trying to write for others. I can't find the happy medium. I want to enjoy it but I'm terrified of failure, simply because my work is so personal and so important to me. What do you do with these kind of problems if you face them at all? What keeps you writing and what gives you the courage to put it all out there?"

     

    BIG questions that I think pretty much every writer faces when they're starting out. I wasn't able to answer all of them in depth, though I've gone into more detail about those in the past and written about them on my web site (there will be a link for that at the end of this post) but here's how I responded to Kendra:

     

    "If there's one message that I hope every reader takes away from my books it's that we must never let our fears define or confine us. It's perfectly natural to be scared of showing your work to others, but if you've got to the point where you feel ready to send it out into the world, then you just have to put those fears to one side and start submitting it. Expect rejections and, even though you will be disappointed by them, you won't be crushed by them. Remind yourself that pretty much every writer struggles and gets turned down when they're starting out (Cirque Du Freak was rejected by 20 publishers), and wear those rejections if and when they come as a badge, with pride -- because they're proof that unlike the many people who dream of being writers but never dare put their neck on the block, you've stepped up and are taking the shots as anyone in pursuit of their dream must take. Also remind yourself that you're still VERY young, even if it might not feel that way -- most authors are in their 30s before they really start to get going -- so if this one doesn't work out, move on to the next one, and the one after that, and the one after that...

     

    "Every rejection hurts, but better to try and be knocked back, than never try at all. The most important thing is to KEEP trying. You'll learn to deal with the hurt, and grow from it. You might even find that it helps you become a better writer, in the long run.

     

    "And, hey, you might not get rejected at all -- though you'd be a very rare anomaly if you're not!

     

    "Best of luck with the adventure!"

     

    I hope that proved of some help to Kendra, and that it maybe helps some of you reading this, if you're in the same boat as her. For LOTS more on this subject, you might want to check out the Writing Tips part of my web site, where I've gathered together my thoughts on most things concerned with writing and publishing. You can access it by clicking on the following link:

     

    https://www.darrenshan.com/writing-tips/

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