Tuesday, January 21, 2014
Dear Hopeful One: a letter
Yes, you, with your eyes shining and the buds of a thousand stories in your lapel, showing you what you are championing for. You are at that stage wherein writing seems like a world apart from a world; a world that is all your own only so long as it is in your head, but a world to which you will invite an excited public someday.
You read this blog and other blogs of writers who are published or about to be so, and maybe you're just a little bit jealous. Maybe you wish it was you being featured on other blogs, your book with a Goodreads page and a promise of Amazon in a month or so.
But dear hopeful one, enjoy your innocence. Enjoy the thrill of stepping into the realm of the written word. Enjoy writing for the pure joy of writing, unencumbered by deadlines and emails and interview queries. There are things you hold right now that I no longer have:
You have likely never opened a document to find all your careful formatting had been absorbed into the hole of the Never-Never and must be re-done with the painstaking precision you have already spent hours upon.
You don't have to keep a planner full of all the little things you forget about, like contacting review websites and other bloggers, and arranging guest-posts and interviews and giveaways and then re-contacting all those people to let them know the schedule/details/information.
Formatting probably means a glorious nothing to you.
Sitting at the desk till your neck is stiff and your back hurts is entirely optional for you at this point and if you don't much feel like writing, you can always doddle off and pick up the next tantalizing book that's been wanting to be read.
I realize that for all the hard work and unforeseen difficulties in my stage, I hold something precious too: I have my book in hard copy in my hands and there are few things quite so exciting as your first novel. I'm not trying to tell you it isn't as exciting as it looks; it is. But just because I have printed my novel is no grounds for thinking there aren't difficulties in my writing life.
Don't despise your youth, Hopeful One. Enjoy the simplicity of being unknown because (as I'm learning) even the littlest bit of being known is enough to change one's perspective on whether writing is a joy or a business arrangement. I intend never to let writing become all business, but dear Hopeful One, you don't need to make that choice yet. Hold onto the joy of word-play and rejoice in anonymity. There are plenty of years in which to print your books, plenty of stories to tell, plenty of areas in which to grow.
Take your time, Hopeful One, because every stage has a special beauty.