Writing Takes Balls

I haven’t written a post in a few days because I’ve been going through, Beyond the Eyes for the millionth time. It was already polished, but I wanted to make some adjustments and see if I could get the word count down, which I did. The word count was at 111,000, and it’s now at 109,000. I know that’s high for a young adult book, but there are YA books with a higher count than that, and I’ve read countless times that if each scene is relevant to the story then it’s fine. When I had first started BTE, the word count was up to 119,000 words, so I did cut a lot out. Anyway, I’m happy with it, and I absolutely love the story. It has everything: romance, friendship, humor, horror, mystery, suspense, and heart wrenching sadness. There are some parts in it that still chokes me up when I read it, and I’ve read it a lot. When my critique partners had read those parts, they told me it choked them up as well. I had wondered if they would get the same reaction as me, and was happy when they told me they did because that’s what you want from the reader. You want them to be emotionally involved in the story and sympathize with the character(s). So yeah, I was pleased when they told me that. Now let’s hope I can leave BTE alone until I get an agent or self publish it.

I was thinking last night that it takes balls to be a writer because you’re exposing yourself to scrutiny and harsh criticism. I remember reading Stephen King saying that Stephenie Meyer can’t write at all. He totally bashed her. I’ve read her Twilight series and enjoyed the story. Although, I have to admit that vampires sparkling in the sun was lame, and Bella’s codependency on Edward was annoying. Oh, and her self-deprecating attitude got tiresome. But other than that, it wasn’t a bad story. Yeah, Stephenie’s writing could have been a lot better, and even I caught errors in her books. But hey, she wrote it and had the balls to put it out there, and now look where she’s at. I just wonder how she felt when Stephen King said that. I think if he said that about me, I’d probably cry. I mean. I love Stephen King. I love his sense of humor, his imagination, and how he writes. I know in this business you’re suppose to have thick skin because people will bash your work, but I’m sure even thick skinned people still get their feelings hurt.

Every time I send some sample pages with my query letter to an agent, I get this scared feeling in the center of my chest. I’m always afraid I’ll get a letter back saying that I can’t write and to give it up. It’s fueled by this pesky little doubtful thought that lingers in the back of my brain, that maybe I’m just kidding myself, and I should move on to something else. However, despite my fears and doubts, I continue on, which I think takes balls. So all the writers out there who has been doing the same thing should be proud of themselves because it is a scary thing to do. I think you guys rock. I also think musicians, singers, painters, and photographers rock as well, because they’re basically in the same boat as us writers. We my favor a different tool to build our house, but we want the same thing, to create a nice frickin’ house that people can enjoy and will last for a long ass time.

When I was thinking about this last night, I thought about when a book does get published, it’s totally out there. It’s like a virgin, fresh and untainted. It's a risk. A scary risk. But honestly, despite the risk of my book(s) getting publicly flagellated and the fears that I have, I cannot stop. I can’t. Even if somebody were to say that I sucked and to give up my writing dream, I couldn’t. Does that make me twisted?

I don’t know.

Sometimes I wish I had a passion for something else, something safe, that would guarantee a stable future, like a doctor, scientist, an engineer and so forth. I think life would be easier if that were the case. But that’s not who I am. I love to write stories. It makes me happy, and it makes me even more happy when people love them as well.

So I’ll continue to grow some thick skin, better myself every day, and remind myself that I have the balls to take that leap into the unknown world full of scrutiny and praise.