*QUICK NA LIT CHAT UPDATE*
The debut of the New Adult Lit chat last week can only be summed up as a massive freaking success. We had lots of smart authors and passionate readers chiming in the entire hour (and then some). You can read a transcript of the chat HERE, which will give you an idea of the types of things we chatted about.
And we don't just chat NA. We had tons of discussion on the finer points of YA, and what distinguishes NA from it. As such, this week's chat will be a nice carryover: WHY IS NA NOT YA OR ADULT? The chat will be at the same time/place: This Thursday, August 2, 9 PM EST on the Twitters. I'll be joined this week by author Victoria Smith of the NA Alley Blog. (Be sure to check 'em out if you haven't already. Fun group of ladies!)
A MASSIVE THANKS TO EVERYONE WHO HELPED PROMOTE THE CHAT!! Seriously, this thing was so hot we were actually trending on Twitter Thursday night. That only happened because so many of you Tweeted and blogged about it before hand. It helped so much, and any help you give in getting the word out for future chats is also mucho appreciated. Really hope you can join in, too.
A JUGGERNAUT OF FAITH
My last few posts have centered around the writing journey, and what it means (to me) being on the threshold of something (publication) I've struggled with for a very long time. I talked about the nervousness in wading through the final wave of editorial revisions. Then, I discussed the transformation in mindset, writing, etc. that had to happen for me to get where I wanted to go (here).
Yesterday, I was treated to a near-final version of my very first book cover. Had my name on it and everything! :) Not bragging, but it's beyond flippin' sweet. I'll definitely be sharing tons more on that in future posts, as well as tell you all about the cover artist I'm working with. She is ridiculously talented, and just as sweet as honey.
But for today, I'm going to continue with the theme of why and how we put ourselves through all of this. Mostly because seeing that cover has me convinced, more than ever, that I'm doing the right thing. Writing is what I love to do, it's what I need to do. I haven't wasted my time, not a second of it, and you haven't either.
But to see the payoff, you're going to need an unstoppable faith.
I'M GOING TO NERD OUT NOW, STAY WITH ME ...
There's this character in the X Men comic book series named the Juggernaut. He's a real baddy. Basically, he finds this ruby-gem-thing (with a rich, nugget filled evil mystical-being center no less) that possesses him, giving him superpowers. As his name suggests, he becomes unstoppable.
Physically speaking, he's completely indestructible. The Juggernaut can run through walls, walk through fire, repel explosions, and fall off of a building and never get a scratch. On top of all that, the gem made him a giant, hulking man with super-strength--he throws cars around like they're toilette paper rolls or something. AND he's got a nasty streak two-miles wide.
Now, as you can imagine, this is one tough opponent. You can't beat him up. You can't slow him down. Essentially, you just have to get out of his way. But, in true comic book fashion, he does have a single, glaring vulnerability. His mind.
"FAITH CONSISTS IN BELIEVING WHEN IT IS BEYOND THE POWER OF REASON TO BELIEVE." ~ VOLTAIRE
When you aspire to write professionally, there are many things that will build your resolve, and twice as many to strip it away. Seemingly, for every line of encouragement left on your blog, you'll get an entire letter full of rejection. For every paragraph of right, there'll be pages of wrong. After years of practicing the craft, when you think you've figured out what and how you should be writing, you'll read something that confirms you still have no clue.
To anyone on the outside looking in, I'm sure that all seems daunting and depressing. But to a writer, it's just what happens between breakfast and lunch everyday. A writer has to embrace failure. We have to breath it into our lungs, cough it out, and breath it back in. Why? It teaches us to have faith in the process, in our abilities.
I equate it to the tear gas training they do in the military. In basic training they shuffle everyone into a room filled with tear gas. When you enter, you're wearing your gas gear (mask-ventilator, etc.), then, on command you remove your gas gear. You stay in the room for a short period, exposed to the gas, and then you're allowed to leave.
Sounds horrible, right? It is! Your eyes burn. Your throat burns. Snot and tears leave your body in rivers. So why do it then? It's the military, so they're probably just trying to toughen people up. Nope. Then they want expose you to the gas so it doesn't freak you out if you ever encounter it in combat. That's not really the point, either. They want you to trust your gear.
There's no way to fake exposure to tear gas. If you've ever been in it, or around it, you'll know it. By keeping their gear on, and then removing it, the soldiers are very aware of how that gear protects and insulates their bodies. So, if the time should come in battle when they're asked to don their gas gear and charge into a cloud of toxicity, they'll do it without fear. They'll have faith in the process, in their equipment, and just do what needs to be done.
"FAITH IN ONESELF IS THE BEST AND SAFEST COURSE." ~ MICHELANGELO
The Juggernaut is very aware of his only weakness. He wears this special helmet to protect his noggin. Not that he's worried about a concussion or anything, as his head is just as indestructible as the rest of his body. No, he realizes that the X Men have a couple of telepaths on hand, and his mind is vulnerable. His helmet keeps them out of his head.
Ultimately, he's always defeated in the same way: Someone strips him of his helmet, others slow him down (never completely stopping him, mind you), and a telepath turns out the lights.
I'm suggesting, to get where we want to be as writers, our desire to succeed has to be unstoppable, like the Juggernaut. I even think we share his one weakness. Our minds are vulnerable, so we must put on our helmet, our faith, to protect it.
We just have to be cautious about where we place that faith.
We can't put our faith in industry changes and fads. Those things come and go. We can't put our faith strictly in the advice of publishing professionals. They aren't always right, and their perspectives and goals will never be 100% your own. Similarly, we shouldn't put too much of our faith in other writers. We all have our own unique journey, and what works for one, doesn't necessarily work for all.
What we need to put our faith in, is ourselves. To get remotely close to "doing this", I've learned that it takes an incredible belief that I'm doing the right thing. That I'm eventually going to figure it out. That I can push myself beyond anything I've seen, or done, before. And that I can do it time and time again.
There have been so many times in the past 4 years I've thought I'll never see my name on the cover of a book. I'll never write anything anyone else will want to read, much less pay for. I'll never get the opportunity to see a story in print, because I'll never get an agent.
A belief that I COULD do this--if I worked hard enough, if I wanted it bad enough, if I sacrificed enough--is sometimes all I had. I think I'm realizing that faith is mostly all I ever needed.