The Essence of Courage

First, a couple of housekeeping items to go over.

I need someone (or some people) to review CLARA.  If you’re interested, please contact me and I’ll get you a voucher for Smashwords.

Also, I’ve started a new page called Fellow Authors.  If you would like to be included on this page, please let me know.  However, I do reserve the right to not add you (for example, I will not be including writers of erotica, though I do respect the effort you put into your work).

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I have a friend who writes ebook novellas.  A couple of days ago, he asked me how my novel is doing.  Because he’s a friend and I hate to lie anyway, I told him the honest truth: not so well.  I admitted that I’ve only sold a grand total of four books.  He laughed and said I was catching up to him.

I was surprised.  I’ve read my friend’s work; I think he’s rather good.  I figured he would be light years ahead of me as far as audience growth was concerned.  At the same time, though, it felt good knowing I wasn’t the only person not doing so well.

I went on to admit that maybe the problem wasn’t platform or anything like that, but that perhaps my novel just wasn’t good enough.  That maybe I should have done something different.  He looked at me and said, “You’ll always be second guessing yourself.”

That bit of our conversation stayed with me.  I wonder, now, if other writers I have admired for quite some time also second guess themselves.  I’ve heard of actors who won’t watch themselves in movies or tv because they’ll just sit there and critique their work, thinking about what they could have done differently.  Though I am the same way with my writing (I only read my work to edit it), it never occurred to me that other writers would be the same way.

In this way, I suppose, writers must be courageous.  It’s very frightening, to release something into the world when a small part of you will always wonder if it could have been done differently.  To be able to ask people to review that work, knowing that there is a possibility that they’ll confirm your instincts, that you should have done it differently and now there’s no going back.  And even if you did pull the book from the shelves (electronic or otherwise) and made the changes, it doesn’t really matter.  Someone will own that original work and may not go back for the updated edition.  Once words are released, it’s hard to gather them back.

I once told my therapist that my writing was the only area in my life where I did not get anxious.  The only area in my life where I am completely confident.  I believe now that I said those words without really thinking about them.  Because I’m not completely confident.  I do second guess what I’ve written and fear that it it is nowhere near as good as my beta readers say it is.  However, that is the essence of courage: to be afraid but suck it up and do it anyway.

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