September 14, 2008

Keeping the Love

Once again, the blogosphere has provided a sort of writer's echo chamber ~ a place to throw out ideas and have them reverberate back changed and clarified and strengthened.

Viewing the serious state of things in the world can often cause artists to question their purpose and their place in the state of things, and it seems that more than just a few of us are wondering how to keep going. Via Writing & Ruminating, a really excellent piece by Jennifer Lynn Barnes on how to recapture the joy of writing.

"Now, however, I've discovered many other terrifying possibilities that writers have to make their peace with, too. Like what if you write a book and you sell it and then the chain stores don't pick it up and readers can't find it and the sales are disappointing and every time you try to sell another book, editors pull up those numbers and it's a giant brand on your forehead, and you end up being worse-off than you would be if you'd never published a book at all? Or what if the book does really well, but all of the people who liked your previous books absolutely HATE this one and feel personally let down by you and it ruins your previous books for them because they just hate this one that much? What if (and this is, I swear, something every single published writer I know has thought at one point or another) the books you've done so far are just a fluke and you've been lulled into a false sense of security in thinking that maybe you don't suck, but you really do, and soon you will be revealed as an impostor, full of suckiness?

Jennifer Barnes follows these ponderings on suckiness with fourteen concrete ways to keep your head, and keep your love of writing alive. Though she writes from the point of view of someone who has achieved mucho success with Golden and her Squad novels (and you may want to haul off and belt her with a fish you think she's bemoaning her success -- she's not, so hold off on the piscatorial punishments), there's plenty here for the unpublished writer as well. More encouraging suggestions follow in the comments.

This is a fabulous piece to read and reread and then push off into a strong sprint into your writing week.

Cheers, and thanks, Kelly and Jennifer.

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