Seriously, you guys are the best. THE BEST. I'd love to thank you all individually (and have done my best to do so on the tweets and blog posts I've read) for all the words of encouragement, the tweets, the spamming of my cover on your blogs--but I think I'd need 4 blog posts to do that.
So you'll have to settle for me saying you absolutely melted my heart to a puddle of bubbling feel-good-sauce. You swelled my pride to bursting, and you basically left me wondering what I did to deserve you all.
I mean that 100% sincerely, and if I can ever repay any of you, please just ask, and I'll do all I can. Plus, there's a little musical dedication at the end of this post, Sara Bareilles style. :-)
COVER CONTEST IS CLOSED
Yesterday marked the end of the Blood Fugue cover contest. I'll be tallying the entries and randomly selecting the winners over the next week. I'll let everyone know who won what on Friday, September 7th. Good luck to all who entered, and thanks for playing!
If you don't win this time, please keep an eye on my blog in the coming weeks. I'm scheming an epic blogfest to celebrate the actual launch of Blood Fugue, and I'm thinking there's going to be some even bigger prizes to be had... yeah, I want it to be flipping huge!
Every week I'm going to open a blog post with some good news from some of my author-writer-blog friends. Sometimes without even being asked! Like this week...
LIGHTING CANDLES IN THE SNOW
Fantastic author-blogger, Karen Jones Gowen, is realeasing her latest book, Lighting Candles In The Snow, in September. Be sure to jet over to Goodreads HERE and give it a look... sounds like an awesome read!
ARE YOU READY TO FLY?
So I read an interesting thing from a video game designer this week. Basically, his latest game was set to launch, and he had this to say:
"There’s a moment during game development when you have to let go of your game and release it to the world. You’re sitting in your office, thinking about all of the choices you made, wondering whether people will find it fun, engaging, beautiful, scary, funny. Is your vision going to be realized? And then you take a deep breath and let it go."
The universal truth of his statement really hit home. Being creative means taking a risk, plain and simple. There's always going to be an element of uncertainty involved when you take something internal and highly personal--like the idea for story, game, or painting--and subsequently attempt to make it external, something to be considered or consumed by many.
Any writer or artist will tell you that the concept usually isn't the tricky part. It's the translation, the interpretation of that concept, that's hard. It gets especially difficult when you're creating with the intent of sharing. When you go from writer to author, from painter to artist.
If the guy from the quote above was just making a game for his friends to enjoy, he probably never would have said those things. But he's making a game that he wants strangers to pay him to play. That's an entirely different bunch of bananas, folks.
Personally, I've struggled with nothing more as a writer than trying to figure out when something is "ready". At each step along the way--betas, critiques, queries, etc.--the anxiety of not knowing how 'good' something really is just grows. It never lessens. Sure, you get a feeling that you might really be onto something, but it's just a feeling.
Here's the reality in writing: No one is waiting with a giant rubber stamp that says, "Pass" or "Fail" ... at least no one that really matters is. For every three people that tell you they love what you're doing, you'll find three more that don't get it at all. Each time you write a sentence, paragraph, or chapter that makes you think you're finally on par with the authors you love, you'll read something new that reminds you how much of an amateur you really are.
Well, I'm here to share a little nugget of truth you might not be ready to hear. It is bitter to swallow for anyone who needs affirmation (see - most of us) but it is truth: Whether you're posting fan fiction on your favorite forums, publishing entirely on your own, gunning for that dream agent, or submitting directly to editors--you, AND ONLY YOU, can determine when you're ready.
One "no" or a thousand "yeses" aren't going to change that, so how do you know? No clue, but I can tell you how I did: Faith.
It took faith in the work I've put in studying the craft. Faith in all the times I've failed, and gotten stronger for it. Faith in the words of the readers who gave me positive and negative feedback. Faith in the skills and guidance of an editor. Faith in my writer friends who are far braver than I. Faith in my writer friends who struggle with confidence as mightily as I do. Faith in my ideas. Faith in my words. Faith in my story. Faith.
At some point, my faith was stronger than my doubts. Eventually, I trusted what I knew, and quit focussing on what I didn't. There's a place where fear gives way to confidence. Very much like riding a bicycle with training wheels, I came to a point when that extra support wasn't necessary, maybe still appreciated, but not needed.
So, at some point in the writing journey, you're going to be perched on the edge of the nest. When that day comes, what's it going to be? A nervous peek at the ground and back to safety, or is it your time to soar? It's your choice.