First of all, many thanks to E.B. Davis for allowing me the opportunity to guest blog on Writers Who Kill. I gave it a lot of thought. What do I have to say? Can I encourage other writers? Will it make sense?
All writers, whether they are best selling authors or writing for a few close friends, or just family, lack confidence. ALL writers suffer from self doubt. Let’s face it, we all have it, and I’m pretty sure I have more than my share. We are all cursed with lack of confidence when we write. That’s not to say we have good days when we’re enthusiastic and things are clicking and that one setting finally comes around. Hang on to that feeling because you’ll need it later.
I’ve had more rejections than I can count. But I still write. Why? I guess you could say I have to write, that I need to write. I can’t explain it. I keep writing even though my success has been limited. And I will keep writing even if I never again publish anything except maybe a “Letter to the Editor” in the local newspaper.
Let me tell you one about a friend of mine. I will protect her privacy and not give you her name, but every bit of this story is true. She wrote a first novel. It was what I would call a “literary mystery.” The language is beautiful, the story is intriguing, the ending a shocker.
It was well received. One of the Big Four publishers offered her a six-figure contract. She was ecstatic. Her agent suggested she not take the contract. WHAT? A better idea was to have a bidding war for the right to publish this first novel. She agreed. The original publisher ended up buying the rights for even more than originally offered.
The book was published to acclaim from critics and other writers. Then her agent began pressuring her to write another literary mystery. Under pressure, she sweated out her second novel. Also excellent, well received. Success. More pressure.
She sent in her third novel and her agent rudely rejected it. Corrosive self doubt set in. Depression set in. She seriously considered quitting writing altogether. Her publicist spent hours on the phone building her back up, encouraging her, listening to her. My friend is writing that third book and enjoying it, “free from the agents and publishers” she says. She sounds good.
So what does this mean to you? You know that obstacles will jump up and swat you down. You also know that you really do write well. So seek out honest critique from someone you trust, or a writers group designed to buoy you up, and let them. And beware of “writing snobs” who participate in such groups in order to put others down and brag on their own work. You don’t have time for them, so run away from any group like that. You have writing to do. And it will be good.
An Iowa native, I was born and raised in Clinton, home town of the American movies’ first sex symbol, Lillian Russell. I graduated from Clinton High School with no distinction, direction, or enthusiasm. I attended several colleges, graduating from the University of Iowa with a B.A. in English, then an M.F.A. in Fiction Writing from the Iowa Writers Workshop. These accomplish-ments stunned my high school guidance counselors. Later, I earned an M.A. from Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina, in Special Education.
My mainstream commercial novel, Signs of Struggle was published by Neverland Press in September, 2012. The sequel (2nd in a series), A Far Gone Night, was published October 2014. The third, The Face on the Other Side, was published in March, this year. I am hard at work on #4, plus another, stand-alone novel about a lonely man living in the mountains of North Carolina, who sees a murder but does not report it.
For fun, I think about working out, go on a hike every now and then, read everything from Robert B. Parker to Dorothy Ayers, and play with my dog, Lily. I also take frequent naps.