Friday, March 2, 2012
FTT -- Maggie: Staying True To YOU
All stories begin as inspiration. A random idea, a momentary thought, caught on paper and developed into a fantastical world full of characters, feelings and happenings. If you've chased that idea to the point where you have a novel in your hands, it probably means that you love it. You're excited about it. It's your baby.
These two things -- pursuing publication and writing something you're excited about -- have their very own sets of emotions. The publication side tends to be more stressful, more focused on "what's selling" and on the "do"s and "don't"s of the publishing world. On the other hand, the excited-about-this-story side, though potentially just as much of a pain when it comes to structure, world building, editing, etc., is much more fun. We love it. It's special. It's irreplaceable. It's why we do what we do, right?
When these things meet, there is a tendency for one to completely suck the life out of the other. If you get too focused on the publishing, you may lose that love for your story, that excitement and that thrill that's so vital to creating something unique and original. Similarly, if you focus too much on how awesome your story is, you may not see things that need to be corrected if you ever want to reach publication or, ultimately, success.
Finding a balance is harder than it sounds, but it's achievable. This is the road I'm on now. I aspire to be published one day. I plan to query, land myself an agent, and, eventually, a killer book deal. (Like the optimism?) But my downfall is focusing too much on this goal. Much as I love my stories, as soon as it comes to sharing them with the world, or fixing them to query-able state, I start to panic. I lose faith in what I loved and spend too much time thinking about whether or not it will sell.
In the end, I think it's so important that you begin your journey toward publication with a healthy dose of each. Make sure you don't lose that passion! Stay true to the novel that kept you awake at night. That novel that sent a chill down your spine. That novel you screamed at because it wouldn't take the shape you wanted, and then doted over when it finally did. That novel that started in your head, and can only emerge through your fingers.
Sure, there will always be a risk of rejection. You may fail the first time. Or the first few times. But that's not a reason to give up. And this is what I need to keep reminding myself.
So. That being said, what are your thoughts? How do you keep the balance between your goals and your love of your story? Do you disagree with anything I've said? I'd love to know!
Happy First Friday of the Month, everyone! Until next time.