Missed Saturday Again... Whoopsie?
Updated: Sep 7, 2021
Missed Saturday again. But I've been working on my story, I promise!
Actually, I am reaching out editors this week to find the one that's right for me. Gonna get sample edits, quotes, the works. All the while, I am finishing up the edits on my book.
The feedback I got from my beta readers has actually helped a lot. There was a lot of constructive criticism that has pushed me to make my story even better. But there have also been lots of words of encouragement. All three of my beta readers have said that they were hooked on the story, and that they wouldn't have been so picky if they weren't interested in it.
I know there's a lot of advice saying that artists shouldn't care about what others think, and I believe that is true, to an extent. If there is something that you feel needs to be said, if there is a story that is burning to be told in you, then let the naysayers berate you as you whistle on past them. But if you are writing a story that you know is in a genre enjoyed by your close friends, their feedback can be incredibly helpful.
My mom has been EXTREMELY helpful and encouraging throughout my writing career. She has helped me line edit every work I have done, has given me challenging questions, has pushed me to push myself, but at the same time has never given up on me, even when I've given up on myself. But there's always that doubting voice in my head that says "of course she likes it and wants to support you; she's your mom." That doubt makes sense, because parents that love you will usually see you with rose-tinted glasses. But it was only when I got a call from her recently that I realized that not everyone's mom would do what she has done. Not every mom would be there for their children who are trying to realize dreams that, at face value, are impractical, irresponsible, and (in some ways literally) wish-fulfillment. I realize now I was wrong to doubt her intentions and the sincerity with which she has encouraged me through my years as a writer.
Moreover, when you get validation from those who have read extensively in your genre and believe your story has merit, it both comforts you and quiets the voice in your head that says you aren't good enough, at least for a time. When my friend who reads a lot of fantasy told me that, I felt a huge sense of relief. The question that had been picking at me from the back of my mind, "is my fantasy story any good?" had an answer, at least from one person whose opinion I trust.
I guess where I am going with this, is we often try to find phrases or maxims that will push us beyond our limits. "Just do it", "don't let your dreams be dreams" (shout out to Shia), or "don't care what the haters think". But we should also remember that we are human. We need feedback, we need connection, and, we often get so stuck in our heads that our doubts and anxieties can paint the world with an invisible veneer that stains our perceptions.
It's not impossible to reach the greatest heights by ourselves, and I encourage you to strive with every fiber of your being for what is important to you. But know that others are standing with you, also striving for their own hopes and dreams, and being there for them, as they are for you, can sometimes be the lift you need to pull yourself up to the next phase of your journey. Don't be afraid to ask for help or beat yourself up for wanting encouragement. Life is an adventure, and adventures always have an element of the uncertain to them, otherwise they wouldn't be adventures.
To those who feel alone, or who genuinely have no one around them, I understand. I felt alone for most of my life growing up. My parent's divorce was rough on all of us, and each of us isolated ourselves from each other and the world, I imagine in frustration with not knowing how to cope effectively. For me, this extended to my social life, and I became distant, quiet, extremely introverted, and had extreme anxiety and difficulty making friends up throughout college. I still do.
But if you feel that alone, still take hope in yourself, in your own dreams and ambitions, and the fact that you are alive, living once, and praise yourself for daring to reach for what matters most to you, whether or not it seems plausible. And also remember that you may not be as alone as you think you are. At the end of the day, we are all looking for meaningful connection, and it could be closer than you think. It may be buried beneath years of drama and stories we tell ourselves, but, in most cases, those who love us will always be there for us, and new love can be made, if we have the courage to reach beyond the comfort of our shells.
We live once. Live well. Strive for authenticity. Be humble. Love yourself and others. Embrace challenges, but temper your ambition with compassion.
And always keep going. You may not always be on the right path, but you will find it if you are honest in your search and let yourself get lost once in a while.