Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Writerly Encouragement

Long, long ago, in a mindset far, far away, in the days before I was published, I used to lap up positive writing quotations and stick them on the wall by my computer. Once I'm published, I used to think, I'll be over this insecurity.

Well, guess what. That mindset isn't really far, far away. I still grab onto positive thoughts regarding writing and publication because it's never a sure thing, especially in the market right now. What is a great career now can change on a dime if you're not careful.

One of the best quotes I came across was from Anne Rice. I think I found it in either a Writer's Digest or maybe online somewhere. I didn't write the source down and I wish I had. At any rate, this is it:

"...[People who write have to] a)believe in themselves totally, b)work like demons and c)ignore the rejections.
When you mail out a transcript, you are not turning in a paper for a grade. You can mail out a perfectly wonderful and publishable novel and then have it rejected 10 times. And the reason it's rejected is because you hit 10 different people who, for various reasons, don't want to work with this idea. You have to keep going. You have to never interpret rejection as a failing grade. They are not failing grades. they mean almost nothing...I kept writing and kept mailing out. My attitude was, 'I'm going to become a writer.' I was a writer

And that's Anne Rice! Like her or not, you must admit the woman tells an amazing story and has done really, really well with it. The fact that, for me, this advice came from such a credible source was a real kick of inspiration.

I'm not sure how many writers read this blog, but if you're out there and wondering if your work will ever see the light of day, take heart! It's possible, it's doable, you just cannot, cannot quit. You hone the art, you perfect it, you polish and scrub it, you get objective, kind feedback, you work and work and work.

I love that billboard that has a pic of Edison on it. The quote is, "After the 10,000th try, there was light." Good thing he kept at it, or we'd all still smell like kerosene.


Josi said...

As a published writer I can attest to the fact that the insecurity doesn't go away. You have more things to use toward validating yourself on bad days, but you also have the fear of needing to exceed your latest accomplishment, keep readership, grow sales, etc. The Writer's life is fraught with new levels of self-doubt. I love that quote from Rice though--it definitely hits the spot.

TRIBE'S said...

You are so good for Kimmy, who would really like to be a writer some day. She has so many good ideas, and even a few in the works of becoming something good. I let her read what you write and it inspires her. Thank you!!!!

Penny said...

"There's nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and open a vein." ~Walter Wellesley "Red" Smith

Nancy Campbell Allen said...

Josi, I'm glad you agree. That means I'm in good company.

Lydia, I think it's so cool that Kimmie writes! I had no idea. The hard part is silencing the voices of doubt and doing it.

Penny, I absolutely love that quote and I had forgotten it! I'm writing it down now in my quote book. P.S. I'm so glad you made me read The Virginian!

Nick@Nite said...

Or the alternative is you could just come up with some great book idea, spend a year or more completing it, find some sponsors to help you with the cost, design it yourself, publish it yourself, market it yourself, distribute it yourself, store it yourself, and pray like crazy they don't spend the rest of their lives in your garage.

The upside?? No rejection letters.

Nancy Campbell Allen said...

I wish I had your talent and work ethic, Brian. Then I might attempt it, if only to avoid the rejection! And, oh yeah, I seriously doubt you'll be storing a bunch in your garage.

Nick@Nite said...

Talent?? Whatever, if there's one thing you've got, it's talent. Amy is in the middle of the "Faith of our Fathers" and can't put them down. Her comment was, "She is so much better of a writer than Stephanie Meyer."

Nancy Campbell Allen said...

Wow, Brian. You are so my best friend. Tell Amy that totally made my day! :-)