I'm off to Comic Con today, but as I was up late getting everything ready, I heard something TV that made me think about this, so I had to put together a quick post.
Whether you're on your first book or your fiftieth book, whether you're starting out, agented, published, or anywhere in between, you can't escape the fact that as you pursue this difficult career of being an author, you will have to trust yourself.
Family and friends might tell you you're crazy to try to be a writer. CPs might give you revision suggestions you disagree with. Agents or editors may not connect with your story or characters they way you'd hoped. But in the end, it comes down to you. It's your project. Your dream. You have to trust yourself.
Now, I'm NOT saying you should dig in your heels and stubbornly cling to your own opinions and ideas--that's a surefire recipe for failure. We all have a LOT to learn, and we should definitely consider each suggestion or piece of advice very carefully before we decide to ignore it.
But this is a subjective business--like anything creative--so at times you're going to have people dislike or disagree with a choice you made, a personal style, etc. And sometimes you may not necessarily be wrong. So it comes down to trust. Trusting yourself, your idea, and your abilities. And I'll tell you right now: it. is. not. easy.
I tend to be very insecure, very prone to self doubt and quick to think everyone else knows better than I do. And most of the time they do. But sometimes I'm not completely in the wrong.
I try to remind myself of something that happened in film school. I must've had a lot more gumption back then, because when I pitched my intermediate project to my professor he was NOT enthusiastic about it. Basically he told me to abort mission. But I had a feeling that a big part of the problem was that he wasn't seeing what I was seeing--and I was convinced that if I just went ahead with my plan and showed him what I was thinking, that I would win him over.
So I did. And on our first round of dailies (where we screened the footage we'd shot over the weekend to the entire class) he actually said: "I can't believe I'm saying this, but I think this project is going to work." I ended up getting an A.
Obviously that story could just as easily have had a very different ending--and I'm not saying that if you trust yourself you're always going to win people over. Sometimes you don't. Ask any author and they will tell you about all the heartache and rejection they endured to reach their dream. It's inescapable.
But trusting yourself is how you survive. Each query that leads to a rejection means you send another. Each time your CPs go to town on your pages you revise again. Each draft you decide to shelve because it's not quite 'good enough' means you write another, better one. You keep going, trusting that you are a good enough writer to make it. Trusting that you will get where you want to be.
It's difficult to do. But remember, if you don't trust yourself, who will?
So how about you guys. Do you trust yourselves? And how do you find the confidence to keep trusting yourself, when things get hard?