How You Really Feel

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I fear the days when I sit down to blog and the inner voice whispers, “Tell them how you really feel.” There are several problems with this happening.

  1. This is the same voice that likes to tell me “you suck at this” when I’m feeling particularly low—so why should I follow its lead now? I think that’s a fair question, but moving on.
  2. There are things that you think and feel that you’d rather not admit to people. We all have our insecure, petty moments, and I’d like to think these are best left unexpressed. Dealt with in the privacy of your own psyche.
  3. What good does it do? Not admitting the truth about yourself is the equivalent of taking the blue pill and remaining clueless about the matrix. And then presenting that face to the world as the façade that is you. Like you grabbed both pills—I don’t need no stinkin’ choices—swallowed them and will spend the rest of your life hiding/balancing/dealing with the truth that is and the truth you wish was. (Seriously, is it any wonder we writers are awash in mental illness, anxiety, and neuroses?)
  4. You have to ready yourself for lies and denial. It becomes your go-to response. “I never even thought that.” (lie) “I am not interested in your sister.” (bigger lie) “I’m glad it was you and not me.” (Could you hear the bells and see the lights on that lie jackpot?)

I did.

YA Author Tom Hoover on His Inner VoiceAnyway, when my inner voice pushes me in the true confessions direction, my first impulse is to email my webmistress and immediately begin the lies.

“Y’know, it’s been a particularly busy week. Crazy at the ole day job. I’m thinking we might just take a week off from blogging.”

In movies, they call that the coward’s way out. And, to be entirely honest, it’s a way out I’ve taken before. Because, here’s the thing: Getting published is hard. Like anything meaningful in art—getting a record deal that doesn’t cost your future, getting the commission you need (without strings attached) to finish and unveil your masterpiece, shepherding a story through the entire birthing and revision process so you can say to the world JUDGE ME NOW!

And other soul-wrenching examples. And that’s not even counting the crap you’ll put yourself through.

You have to deal with a lot of rejection and even resentment when you try to find an agent, and after that, find a home for your work.

I’m not saying this to be discouraging. I believe that most of the time, talent will out … if you persevere. But you gotta go in with your eyes open; otherwise, you won’t be prepared for the dues you’ll have to pay.

I know from experience. I DID NOT enter this thing with my eyes open. So I wasted a lot of good, productive time being upset—and even bitter—about my journey through the magical world of books. I hope that if I’d known what to expect, I wouldn’t have been so negative. I hope I’m at least that mature—but I’ll never really know. And I feel bad about that.

Don’t be like me.

Expect to work hard. Expect to feel like you’re in this alone sometimes. Expect people around you to get what you want before you. Expect rejection and learn from it—let it make you better at your craft.

Keep writing. Keep revising.

And when you fall, get back up, dust yourself off, and, like the song, start all over again.

Art has a price. Pay it.

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