Monday, April 09, 2012

The Confidence Game

I've been thinking about amount of sheer chutzpah being a writer requires a lot lately.

First, in my Loft class, I was having a chat (I'm teaching on-line this year, which probably deserves a post all its own,) and one of the students was talking about how difficult it is to work up the courage to send stories to magazines. I get this. In fact, this is one of the reasons I have offered to do this part of the job for several members of the writers' group. Yet, I've never had a lot of trouble with it myself. I have what my martial arts instructors call an indomitable spirit. I don't believe I'm awesome so much as I believe that you can't win if you don't play. I'm always willing to wade in and get knocked out. Then, I get up and do it again. I get pounded a lot, but I've got a smile on my face because, to me, this is part of what it means to be a writer. Being engaged in the business, even if it bloodies your lip.

And it will.

A lot.

Because, even AFTER you've punched your way over the transom and into publication, you still get really nasty reviews. Even ten years after a book comes out, you might stumble across something that points out all the weaknesses you always secretly knew you had.

The hardest is part of being a writer is how utterly vulnerable you have to be willing to be while also maintaining a ridiculously thick skin. It's a really strange requirement, but I think one of the ones we really have to develop if we want to survive.

Once more into the breech! Let us ride out to meet them!


Jon said...

Good luck, Lyda! I have three short stories floating somewhere out there on the submission sea myself right now because you're right, like Lotto, you have to be in it to win it. Fingers crossed.

Sorry about the requires hate review, that's rough. I clicked the link and saw that pop up and cringed. Keep in mind that that is what she does, it's schtick and that you're better than that.

Once more into the breech is right.

Eleanor said...

I got part way through the review and quit. It's not by a professional reviewer. It's by someone being a jerk. I have gotten reviews like this from fans, though mostly shorter than this. My lovely story "The Garden" -- which is about a young man in a warrior society who doesn't want to be a warrior, but wants to stay home and cultivate his garden -- got slammed by a fan as being typical feminist claptrap.

Eleanor said...

And yes, I admire your optimism and resiliance. You do bounce back up. I wish I had a tenth of what you have.

Paul Weimer said...

Hi Lyda.

"Requires Only That You Hate" has a growing notoriety as a curmdugeoness who excoriates a wide variety of books and authors on perceived issues of gender and race.

Yes, Eleanor, she likes being a jerk. And if I might be so bold, likes to be a jerk. I cannot look into her mind and soul, so I will withhold what I really really think of what she does and why.

tate hallaway said...

It is clearly a schitck, so it does bounce off a little easier. Thanks for the support, y'all.

Kelly McCullough said...

Sorry you got chewed on by people being mean on the internet Lyda, it's no fun.

tate hallaway said...

People are wrong on the Internet again. *sigh*