Forgive, Or Else
If you’re going to stay sane as a writer, you must become forgiveness.
You cannot simply know or understand or practice forgiveness. It must become entwined with your very essence and become a defining characteristic of who you are.
I say this not because you have no other choice, but rather because it seems like the only other options lead down a bitter, angry spiral of harsh liquor and ever-hardening hatred.
There is a very real chance that you will never live up to your own expectations.
You will tell yourself that you will write for at least an hour a day, or at least 500 words a day. You will probably not meet this goal.
You will tell yourself that the thing you just finished writing is utter rubbish and you should be a better wordsmith by now.
Forgive yourself, because otherwise, you will rapidly become jaded about your abilities. You might convince yourself you should not even be writing, if you cannot achieve these “simple” goals.
The best and most widely accepted piece of advice on writing is that you should write. If you cannot forgive yourself, you will stop writing.
Write because you love to write, and not because you have set an arbitrary, lofty goal after which point you shall count yourself a “Proper Author.”
Writing is not a goal. Rather, it is a journey that never ends.
Forgive The Publishing Industry
There is a very real chance that you will be rejected by the publishing industry.
Let go that seed of resentment. Do not soothe your soul with the bitterness of superiority or the sourness of martyrdom.
- “Clearly, they have no vision. They only publish garbage.”
- “I am doomed never to succeed. After my death, they shall find my unpublished manuscripts and thousands shall weep for the stories I did not write.”
Perhaps you are not ready. Perhaps your story is not what they were looking for. Perhaps they were having a bad day. Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps.
Let it go, because otherwise your heart will become as bitter and sour as your reactions.
There is no one true path to Becoming Published and it’s at least one part lottery to two parts skill.
Get a new lottery ticket, and let the old one go.
Forgive Your Readers
There is a very real chance that some people will not like your writing.
As a matter of fact, there is an excellent chance that some of those people will hate your writing with such burning fervor that they will spew vitriol all over your amazon pages, goodreads, blogs, twitter, and every other channel they can find.
Forgive the readers who silently dislike your writing, because everyone has different tastes and their displeasure is not related to the quality of your writing.
Forgive the readers who loudly and violently dislike your writing, because that sort of hate rarely has anything to do with you, and that kind of hate deserves pity rather than gasoline tossed on a fire.
Forgive them, because once you start to despise your readers, it becomes nearly impossible to stop, and you might miss the quiet adoration of the person who loves your work, and for whom your writing is the quiet balm to their own soul.
Write the stories you want to read. Once you’ve done that, the readers who dislike your writing are no great loss — the true tragedy would be to lose a reader who would love the stories of your heart, but you have written something else entirely. (example : writing paranormal romance because it’s “popular” when your heart longs to write historical fiction.)
(Side note: love and trust your critiquers – the people you have chosen to give you feedback on your writing. It is incredibly difficult to grow as a writer without constructive criticism. Forgive them as well, of course, but pay more attention to what they say than you would a random reader.)