When it comes to writing, I think we all have our insecurities. I know I do. In fact, I have plenty. I can’t recall a single book I’ve written where I didn’t get two-thirds of the way through before determining that it was total shit. Seriously. For days, pages and thousands of words, I have battled it out with myself trying to decide who on earth would ever want to read this. Which inevitably made me think – should I even LET anyone read this??
Generally, once I plow through that unpleasant rough patch I reach the end at which point I’m starting to think, hm, maybe it’s not total shit. There’s some good stuff here. Hell, some parts may even be brilliant. Funny. I don’t recall writing those parts…
Initially overcoming this immense self-doubt was easy enough, because in the beginning you can usually scrounge up at least one family member or good friend who’s impressed enough with the idea of you writing an actual novel that they want to read it. This is good. You trust them. You know they won’t crush you with any harsh critique. And, really, I think when we start out, that’s a good thing. If we got told our work sucks ass right from the start we’d probably just stop writing right then and there, but that’s a post for another day…my point is, I’m in the double digits now and family members stopped being available for that first read through after book three, leaving me to shamelessly beg and plead via the internet and sometimes turning up complete strangers to do the honors who will feel considerably less remorse about ripping to shreds my newest creation of words. I’ve gotten off track again.
What I’m trying to say is that once the first reader gives a thumbs up, our feelings start to morph into something that almost resembles confidence. Let’s call it hope. We now have hope that maybe we produced something someone out there will find enjoyable. This is a good place to be. I like it there. And so far, this is where I’ve stayed. Until now.
As writers we all know that to write well, you have to write honestly. You have to be able to put aside your fears of rejection and worries about what others will think of you and write what is in you to write as if no one will ever find out it was you who wrote it. Yeah well, we may be writers, but we’re also human and as annoying as it is, most of us do care to some degree what others think…even when we say we don’t. We do. I am no different. So, even when I thought I was writing real stuff, the best stuff I could write, I wasn’t. I was still sticking to material I felt comfortable sharing.
See, the stories jumping around in my head can basically be divided into two sets of categories. Stories I intend to share and stories I intend to keep to myself. Initially, I only had one category. The ‘I’m keeping this sucker to myself and never telling anyone ever’ category. Making shit up is not a new thing for me. I imagine most writers will tell you that they’ve been coming up with story ideas and characters for as long as they can remember. Well, same here. And for me, those stories weren’t created to entertain others. They were purely there to entertain me. More than that though, they’ve been my therapy. My friends. My happy place. Which makes them pretty damn private in my book. (haha, get it? My Book!)
Which brings me to BRADY. A happy place. This story was definitely not created to entertain others. It’s only purpose was to entertain me. And that it did, very well I might add. At one point I started jotting down the initial conversation, the one that had played out in my head over and over again, but then I stopped myself. I wasn’t really going to write about Brady. I wasn’t actually going to let the world know about the silly fantasies that I cooked up in my free time. People would think they were stupid. Completely ridiculous. Totally laughable.
But for some reason, Brady wouldn’t let me go. No matter how often I told myself that I would die of shame if anyone ever read it, I wanted to start writing it again. Naturally, I turned to my mother. “Hey, I have this stupid idea for a book.” “First of all, don’t call it stupid. Second. What is it?” “Fine, it’s not stupid.” I still want to say that it is though, because somehow it’s less embarrassing if I already claim it even if I don’t mean it. Obviously I don’t mean it. I LOVE the story. “Basically, the story is about this girl who meets this famous actor in an elevator at the airport and she comes up with this creative way for him to avoid a bunch of unwanted attention and then…they end up falling in love. Dumb, right?” “No, sounds cute. Write it.” Okay.
And I did. I wrote it. In less than thirty days. And no, that’s never happened to me before.
I held nothing back. And more than once I found myself thinking, oh, I should delete that – people will think it’s weird or they’ll think it’s stupid, whiny, annoying, etc. But I didn’t. Eventually, I stopped worrying about it and I just wrote.
Then, it was done and the moment of truth was upon me. Who would read it and give me the initial thumbs up…or thumbs down? I got lucky. I found a friend (and author) who wanted to take a look at it. She read it in one sitting. LOVED IT. LOVED BRADY. She laughed, she cried, she cared about the characters. Her feedback was so much more than I ever expected. I had no idea the variety of emotions this book would conjure up in the reader. It was amazing.
After that, all of a sudden several more people wanted to read it. And the wonderful reviews just kept pouring in. Beta readers had their turn and it was more of the same.
I’m not telling you all of this to brag about how awesome my new book is (although, clearly, it must be ;-)) but rather to show you that it’s okay to be scared, and that it’s worth it to overcome that fear. BRADY hasn’t even been published yet and the response has already been overwhelming. Never have I written anything that felt so real to me and wound up being so relate-able to others.
This time, I’m not just hanging around in ‘hope’. I’m EXCITED. And while hope was good…this is so much better.