Last week I read a very interesting blog post by Ronel Janse van Vuuren (who blogs over at Ronel the Mythmaker) about rejection, the choice to self-publish, and the endurance you need when it comes to getting your work published.
Rejection and Success
I do not think that there is any writer on earth who will tell you that it is easy to get your work rejected or that it is easy to forget about bad reviews of or comments about your work. Of course there are those rejections that may give you clarity on ways to better your writing (which almost makes the rejection worthwhile), but for the most part you simply get a “no” when your stories are rejected. Perhaps that is also why it is so difficult to talk about rejections – you start to doubt that you can even write one sentence, nevermind write a whole story or a whole book.
I also do not always say on the blog when I submit stories for publishing – one reason also being that you sometimes wait a month or more to hear whether it has been accepted or not and I think I may bore my readers – but in not telling anyone when I submit it takes some of the pressure away. It is only in the last few months that I have felt comfortable enough to say what it is I’m working on at any specific moment. And, while I am sure I can give a lot of reasons, the main reason is fear. Fear of being seen as a failure or being seen as a fake. “After all,” fear says, “you can’t possibly think that you will ever amount to being a real writer, do you?”
And yet, here I am, plugging away at the keyboard every day, jotting down ideas which come into my head, and still sending out the odd short story for publication. But fear keeps on gnawing, it never really seems to go away – even for those who are already successful.
Don’t Listen To Fear
Not listening to that fear is perhaps the most difficult part of putting your writing out there. It’s the lies fear tells us that keep so many people not just from writing, but also from creating other art or showing their art to the world.
But, still, when you go to look on Goodreads, you will inevitably find that your favourite author has received various one and two star reviews, while you can’t understand for a moment why anyone would think that their literature isn’t the best the world has ever seen or ever will see.
When you get negative feedback it is often difficult to remember that the artwork you’ve created or the story which you have written just isn’t to someone’s taste and not that it is the worst thing that anyone has ever created in the history of man. Constructive feedback, of course, is a whole other thing altogether. You can work with constructive feedback! (The problem is getting constructive feedback and not just a “I hate this” kind of feedback.)
Still, when you know the kind of hateful feedback you may get when people read your work and don’t like it, makes you think twice about posting it on the internet, self-publishing it, or even publishing it through traditional means. So you may ask how do I then publish a blog or ebook and put myself out there?
The Power of Others
Well, the short answer is “other people”. When I see friends and people I look up to share their work with the world, it makes me want to share mine as well and helps to give me the guts to publish when I see how they are handling and enjoying it. I also want to share my stories and make a difference with them. And to do that you need to throw caution to the wind (up to a point) and just go for it. You never know how your work will perhaps inspire others to also share their work.
And, even if you do fail, try and learn something from it so can do better next time.
Hersenskim is meant not only as a place where I can pen my thoughts and post my stories, but I also want it to be the place where I show my journey as a writer. And, to that end and inspired by Ronel, I will do more to make you, my dear readers (and you are very dear to me), join me on this journey with its many ups and downs, the rejections and the successes!