I head into my four-day writing weekend a little fuzzy-brained due to a late night last night — but it was all for the good cause that was the Sharon Public Library’s Local Author Roundtable Project. Our contestants for the evening were myself (obviously), Rich Feitelberg, Pete Kahle, Daniel G. Keohane, D.A. MacQuin, Jason Parent, and Rob Watts.
Not pictured are Kenneth Heard and Jennifer Allis Provost, who were, respectively, sick and had a child-related crisis, which is too bad because, despite what I’ll call a thin turnout, it was a fun evening. We talked a lot about writing as a craft and quite a bit about putting ourselves out there to spread the word about our work — something I am still learning to do and am still rather uncomfortable doing.
One chap in the audience asked a few questions near the end that made me suspect he was about to attempt to write his first book. There was an undercurrent of self-doubt in his line of questioning — the kind that hinted (to me at least) he was in his “fumbling through” phase and, because he lacked experience, questioning whether he was anywhere close to the right path. He didn’t realize that feeling like a clumsy, uninformed hack-in-the-making was part and parcel to becoming a competent, confident writer. Hopefully he left the event feeling encouraged and empowered.
So that brings me to this, a statement I’d like to make to anyone who has toyed with the idea of writing a book, or attempted it but never finished it, or has a finished product sitting on his/her laptop but hasn’t taken that leap of faith and put it out there for everyone to see. For that matter, this also applies to anyone who wants to launch some sort of creative endeavor but has second-guessed him- or herself into inaction:
Get off your goddamned ass and DO IT.
Stop dreaming about it. Stop talking about it. Stop making up “reasons” why you “can’t do it” and pull the fucking trigger.
Believe me, I understand it’s scary. I was there once and I was terrified to actually release my first novel to the public, who had absolutely no reason to buy it or tell me it was any good — but they did. And now it’s my living.
I won’t lie; you might take that step and discover that you are in fact not the talent you believed yourself to be. That’s okay. I was there once, too. If that’s what happens, you know what you do? You take some time to feel like absolute crap, get it out of your system, then pick yourself up and go find a new dream. Either way, you’re better off for making the attempt than you are for denying yourself the chance to fly or die.
Thus endeth the sermon. Now go make some art.