HOW on this green earth (though, admittedly not as green as it should be given the dire drought) did it come to be September???
Still, there’s one good thing about the months blending into each other: it’s time for another installment of Insecure Writer’s Support Group. Visit our Ninja Captain Alex, hop on the Linky, and give the cohosts some love: Laura at My Baffling Brain, Mark Koopmans, Shah Wharton, and Sheena-Kay Graham.
And what exactly am I insecure about this month?
It’s no secret I went to Dragon Con this last weekend. Fun was had, and I went to see some of my favorite makers of STUFF I LOVE. For the most part, people ask the creators about how awesome things are or if this obscure detail was actually something of importance. This time someone asked Jim Butcher what his advice was for getting published.
It was to move on.
Don’t get caught up writing and rewriting the same book. The problem is that the bad is already baked in. –Jim Butcher (okay, it’s paraphrased. I didn’t record it, but that’s the spirit of it).
This has been the year of going back through old stuff for me. I’ve been working on projects that came to life in 2009 and 2011. Could he mean me? One of them is a complete rewrite―and by complete, I mean I threw out all the words, started again, then threw out all the words and started again, changing major plot points and attempting to rearrange the bad bits.
And this is where my insecurity comes in.
Am I just rehashing all the baked in good? Are my stories the ones Mr. Butcher is talking about? Are my stories being rewritten fatally flawed like a batch of cookies with a cup of cream of tartar instead of flour?
So yeah. There’s that.
How to combat this insecurity?
First, I’m going to write books. Some will be good, and some will be my attempts to justify why I sometimes wash the clothes but don’t put them into the dryer―only with magic and monsters and mayhem.
Second: people are going to dislike my work. Maybe many, maybe few, but there will be haters. The people who have made things I love, did so against all odds and against the better judgment of everyone they knew professionally.
This doesn’t mean we should just throw caution into the―you know what? I think it does. Throw caution into the wind and write stuff you love. This is the new motto: If you love it, write it. Even if you’re writing dystopians, you’ll eventually find that perfect combination that rocks it out of the park. I know, you’re all getting mad at me now, but the first reader, the one we need to please most, is ourselves. I’m currently cleaning up a novel that I thought I was done working on. Instead, I’m prepping to do an edit, then a full edit, then one more time for good measure, and THEN read through it not once, but twice more (possibly three times). And this is after all the work that I did on this novel, which was not insubstantial (draft, edit, edit, rewrite, edit, rewrite, edit, EDIT ONE MORE TIME), so if I don’t love the story, what’s the point?
Thankfully, not all novels will go through the grinder this much, but many, many do.
But the real key to the “move on and write something new,” is that eventually, you will hit the perfect combination. You will write something you love and many many other people love too. It’s all just a gamble anyway, so why not have fun on the ride?