When I started writing for publication in 2006, one my greatest fears was that nobody would want to read what I had written. Or worse, they’d read it and hate it. This fear was so deep it bordered on irrational. People would ask about my upcoming debut and I would demure, saying: “It’s not very good…” Can you believe it? I tried to tank my own book. Well, not really, but still. I should have shouted it from the rooftops. Instead, I whimpered as if I had done something wrong and I owed the world an apology.
A simple question with a complex answer. First, I’m a perfectionist and there were many things in my debut that I longed to do better. No, I wanted to do everything the best, and my first foray into the world of publishing quickly disabused me of that lofty notion. I discovered I had a lot of learning to do. That after countless edits there would still be mistakes in the book. And that, to this day, no matter how many books on craft I read or writing seminars I attend, I will still (and always) have a long way to go in terms of personal growth and discovery. The other reason I battled feelings of insecurity in regard to my writing was because I understood that my book was nothing new. Got news for you: there are
a few a lot TONS of coming of age stories out there. Countless books about young women on a journey of self-discovery, struggling with loss and angst and finding hope in the midst of terrible circumstances. In a nutshell: There’s nothing new under the sun.
It’s a sad truth. But over the years I’ve discovered another truth: No one sees the world the way I do. This is basic, fundamental stuff, but for some reason it took me a while to own it. For years I believed that there were authors out there who could do what I was doing–only better. Their stories were more profound, more powerful. They were smarter than me. They sold more and reached a bigger audience. Was there a place for me at all?
Yes. A thousand times yes. And yes to you, too. No one sees the world the way YOU do, and we need your perspective. Will there be people who write better than you? Who receive more acclaim? Who right books similar to yours only with lovelier prose, a more likable heroine, a plot twist that makes readers swoon? Definitely. But we are a tapestry and even one thread missing diminishes the beauty of the whole. Don’t be discouraged, don’t ever feel as if there isn’t room for you in this wide world of writing and sharing and creating art. Each perspective is stunning, unique. Each detail exquisite. The world needs you, friend.