“Believe in yourself! Have faith in your abilities! Without a humble but reasonable confidence in your own powers you cannot be successful or happy.”
“Oh…no need to be so formal…you can call me m.”
It’s good to be attending my first meeting of the IWSG, and I hope to forge many fast friendships along the way. Like me, many of you are participating in the NaNoWriMo this month and my sincerest condolences best wishes to you. I’m plugging along, hitting and missing some days, but secure in the knowledge that I will complete the manuscript and it will be something worthwhile. How do I know this? The lead-in quote from Norman Vincent Peale — I swear by it. For decades it has been my mantra, not only for writing, but for all things in life.
- Belief in Self: As with any work of art, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and writing falls prey to those subjective judgment calls. This is something that needs to be realized right off the bat — you have to grow a thick skin. Not everybody’s going to like your style. Not everybody’s going to like my style. But I like my style…the voice that booms behind my story…so every tale of mine already begins with a strong sense of self. Find yourself and love yourself. It will certainly show in the tone of your work.
- Know Your Abilities: I don’t write because I was grounded one afternoon from playing football as the star quarterback. I write because of my love for spinning a yarn, pursuing the education necessary to become adept in grammar and the art of storytelling. I didn’t spend time playing games under the erroneous impression that I could pound out a piece of short fiction after the pizza party was over. It’s taken a lifetime of preparation. Even so, you’ll never see me approach a story without a good grasp of how it is to be written, and I certainly don’t automatically know how to do everything. One of my WIP’s is an epic narrative in mythic style. It’s been…let’s see…forever since I dipped my heel in the river Styx, so I had to sharpen my skills with research of the style I wanted to emulate. Yes, it is still my voice, however, it is now my voice in a different time…from a character with different beliefs…spoken in phrases unfamiliar to my tongue. I had to know my abilities and adjust accordingly, learning what I needed to proceed. The education never stops.
- Humble and Reasonable Confidence: Perhaps by the sound of this article it seems like I have a great deal of confidence. Not so…merely a healthy dose of it. It is a reasonable confidence, due to all the years of preparation, but it is also a humble one, from the many failures and bumps on the path. My skin has toughened from participation in many of the fine arts — writing, acting, drawing, painting, music, singing — all the things to which people could say, “That sucked.” Sometimes it really did. Those are the times to explore what didn’t work and consider what would. And I have friends who keep me real — not simply yes men who pander to my ego. The truth shall set you free. To be a successful writer, build an intimate relationship with truth…especially the openness and willingness to hear it from others. That will keep you humble.
It’s wonderful to be a part of the group, and I’ll be seeing you next month, probably sniveling that my stuff is no good and nobody likes me.