Are you an aspiring author or poet looking for some straight answers on how to get published? Looking for ways to protect your work? Writer Girl and fellow Wordsmith. Stephanie has you covered! Check out her collection of How to Articles, lists and other websites resources below!
A good writer remembers The Path to Publication. An Author shows others the way.
– Stephanie Freeman
An Open Letter to the Discouraged Creative
I couldn’t help but notice your notebooks in the trash. Where are the cocktail napkins and bits of paper covered in your covered with your imagination? They used to haunt the floors and the tables around your home. Where are they?
It was all you could say as you stuffed your manuscript back in the shoebox under your bed.
It was a stupid idea anyway. I was just playing. Just wanted to see what they’d say.
Sarcasm drips from every word accompanied by a laugh that doesn’t quite reach your eyes. How could it? The scale of tears glittering there make it impossible. You revisit what little courage you had in showing your work to someone else, that person you trusted with your secrets and maybe even your heart.
It was not perfect. A scratched-out word here and a typo there, but it was yours and it was done. You spent hours pouring your soul onto the page only to have someone say:
I know you write, but what’s your real job?
Why don’t you do something useful/ productive with your day?
Oh, don’t mind them. They think they can a write.
What a waste of time. What makes you think you can write?
Who do you think you are (insert your favorite writer’s name)?
Nobody is gonna read this shit.
You’re writing ain’t all that, but I love you.
Too much cursing and sex in your books. What you need to write is….
Well if your little book does go anywhere don’t forget about me.
I need your help with this writing project I have in mind. (They say this after they tell you your writing is stupid or a piece of shit).
Maybe they just changed the subject. (Their favorite type of dismissal)
Maybe you say this to yourself….
This is no good. People are going to laugh at me to tell me it’s dumb.
I’ll never be as good as…..
I know the look; felt the icy hot sting of grief rolling through me in waves.
Maybe you’re sitting there staring at a blank page with those words of “tough love” and honest opinions killing your vibe… your inspiration. Maybe it’s your own voice, your own doubts picking at your resolve.
I could go on, but you see where I’m going with this.
What if I told you it’s all bullshit?
What if I said those well intentioned, give it to you straight friends and family members were wrong?
They are you know.
Creatives are often surrounded by critics or people with their own agendas. They are afraid that you found something that will replace them. It’s far easier to brow beat you or make you doubt yourself to maintain their place in your life.
When the friend or family member comes to you with this truth hurts reality check sort of talk it’s hard not to believe them. They know you right? Who better to tell you like it is, right?
Dry your eyes Creative. Dust off those notebooks and pick up your pen.
They don’t know the artist in you. They don’t know the cost or what it took to bleed on the page and share this living, breathing fragile thing you created.
And here’s a little secret…
Sometimes the ones that criticize the most are projecting their own disappointments onto you. Perhaps they shared their work with someone and they were ridiculed.
Surround yourself with like minded Creatives and people that encourage and inspire. Look to the written works of your favorite authors and poets. Believe me, they’ve heard some of the same bitingly cruel words or worse hurled at them during an argument. Some have had earlier works burned because a loved one wanted to ‘teach them a lesson’ or because that loved one knew how to ‘get them where they lived’.
Find them. Find your Tribe. We are are vast and we are among you.
At times, our lot can be a lonely one. Not everyone can talk endlessly about the creative process or read through an excerpt time and time again to refine or find new and better ways of expression.
For goodness sake find your Tribe! Keep writing, keep creating and putting your work out there. Decorate your soul; tell your stories your way with your words!
There is someone out there waiting for your work. To learn, to aspire and yeah, maybe even to escape for a while.
Your testimony whether captured in oils, acrylics, music or words is a primer, a handbook on how to survive.
How do I know?
The “well-meant” advice you read above came from the experiences of other writers and artists in my tribe.
More than one comment came from people I love; people I admired.
The good news is that the venom in their words didn’t have the intended effect. My tribe continues to write. They continue to create, and so do I.
Seven published books later and an eighth on the way serve as my body of proof. Quite a few five star reviews don’t hurt either! 🙂
For every no. For every snide remark. Your work is important. Your work is proof. The Arts matter. You matter. Your work matters.
Keep writing. Keep creating. Courage Creative, the best is yet to come!