I wrote this post a few months ago and feel it needs repeating. There are far too many artists out there holding their words and their art in fear of criticism.
It’s been a while since I’ve written about anything on the blog besides cover reveals and book releases, but today I feel the need to say a few words to the writers, creators, and artists.
When I started my writing journey five years ago, the main thing that continued to hold me back from putting my stories out into the world was fear.
The big bad word.
Fear is easy to succumb to. It loves to whisper in your ear. It loves to lie to you and keep you from what you want most.
I let it rule for a long time without even realizing it and it cost me.
And this is what I want to talk about today.
I’ve had fellow writers who are new to this industry ask me how I do it. How do I deal with the negative side of this industry. How do I have a thick skin. When I say negative side, I mean everything from reviews to rejections.
My answer is always the same: I’m not sure that my skin is thicker than anyone else’s, but what I am sure of is I have something to say.
The truth is, everyone has an opinion about every damn thing. Everyone always will. But you get to choose what you allow into your world and what you block out. I don’t read negative reviews. I used to in the beginning, but what purpose do they serve me now? The books are published. I can’t change them. I wouldn’t if I could.
I don’t take offense to rejections. Some of the rejections I’ve received contained bits of gold. I appreciate any agent or publisher who has taken the time to point out why I was rejected.
None of them had to say anything at all.
My writing has become stronger because they did.
I’ve been writing since I was nine years old. It’s as much a part of me as anything else. It’s something I love.
And I think that’s where the thick skin lies … I’m writing for me. I’m proud of me. I did something I’ve dreamed about. And I’m continuing to do it. So the haters can hate. It’s very easy to hate. It’s the easiest thing in the world to do. It takes no courage, no heart. Raising someone up … that takes real courage. Those are the people I choose to hear.
In the last two years, I’ve had three novels published, (the third released in September), a short story, another short story will release soon, and a fourth novel, that’s up for review on Net Galley, will release before the end of the year.
I’ve had, and continue to have, people who love my stories ( I LOVE YOU GUYS RIGHT BACK!! xoxoxo) and people who hate them. And I’m okay with that. I knew going into this that I would be setting myself up for better or for worse. I took that risk, faced that fear, and jumped anyway.
It’s the scariest thing in the world, but you have to jump anyway.
So, writers, authors, poets, artists, musicians, dancers, painters … do your thing, say whatever it is you have to say in whatever medium you choose to say it in because no one else can say it the way you can.
Then stand back, take in what you’ve done, and be damn proud.
Paint for you.
Sing for you.
Write for you.
Create for You.
“I write from my soul. This is the reason that critics don’t hurt me, because it is me. If it was not me, if I was pretending to be someone else, then this could unbalance my world, but I know who I am.”
~ Paulo Coelho
“Don’t quit. It’s very easy to quit during the first 10 years. Nobody cares whether you write or not, and it’s very hard to write when nobody cares one way or the other. You can’t get fired if you don’t write, and most of the time you don’t get rewarded if you do. But don’t quit.”
~ Andre Dubus
“We who make stories know that we tell lies for a living. But they are good lies that say true things, and we owe it to our readers to build them as best we can. Because somewhere out there is someone who needs that story. Someone who will grow up with a different landscape, who without that story will be a different person. And who with that story may have hope, or wisdom, or kindness, or comfort. And that is why we write.”
~Neil Gaiman — The Graveyard Book
** I am a such a Neil Gaiman fan if you guys haven’t noticed.
- Put One Word After Another: Neil Gaiman’s Eight Rules of Writing (aerogrammestudio.com)
- Neil Gaiman Drops Knowledge (mentalfloss.com)
June 4, 2013 | Categories: Author, Inspiration, Quotes, Writer, Writing | Tags: American Gods, Arts, Author, Coraline, Fiction, goal accomplishment, laney mcmann, Neil Gaiman, novel writing, Online Writing, Sandman, Twitter, Writers Resources, Writing Advice, writing quotes | 3 Comments
I know most writers have seen, read or heard of Neil Gaiman’s 8 Rules for Writing. Obviously you guys have figured out that I am huge fan of his work—I am also a huge fan of his advice.
Here it is:
Put one word after another. Find the right word, put it down.
Finish what you’re writing. Whatever you have to do to finish it, finish it.
Put it aside. Read it pretending you’ve never read it before. Show it to friends whose opinion you respect and who like the kind of thing that this is.
Remember: when people tell you something’s wrong or doesn’t work for them, they are almost always right. When they tell you exactly what they think is wrong and how to fix it, they are almost always wrong.
Fix it. Remember that, sooner or later, before it ever reaches perfection, you will have to let it go and move on and start to write the next thing. Perfection is like chasing the horizon. Keep moving.
Laugh at your own jokes.
The main rule of writing is that if you do it with enough assurance and confidence, you’re allowed to do whatever you like. (That may be a rule for life as well as for writing. But it’s definitely true for writing.) So write your story as it needs to be written. Write it honestly, and tell it as best you can. I’m not sure that there are any other rules. Not ones that matter.
April 27, 2013 | Categories: Author, Writing, Writing Tips | Tags: Advice on writing a novel, Arts, Book Writing, goal accomplishment, Inspiration, laney mcmann, Neil Gaiman, novel writing, Sandman, Writers Resources, Writing, Writing Advice, Writing Exercises | Leave a comment
Only in men’s imagination does every truth find an effective and undeniable existence. Imagination, not invention, is the supreme master of art as of life.
~ Joseph Conrad
April 9, 2013 | Categories: Inspiration, Life, Novel Writing, Quotes, Writing | Tags: Advice on writing a novel, Arts, Fiction, Inspiration, Joseph Conrad, laney mcmann, novel writing, Quotes, Writer, Writing Advice | Leave a comment
“If you dare nothing, then when the day is over, nothing is all you will have gained.”
~ Neil Gaiman (The Graveyard Book)
- We Who Make Stories … (laneymcmann.com)
March 29, 2013 | Categories: Author, Inspiration, Quotes, Writer, Writing | Tags: American Gods, Arts, books, Coraline, Graveyard Book, laney mcmann, Literature, Neil Gaiman, Quotes, Writing Advice | Leave a comment
There is a moment now and then when writers may catch themselves and think … wait, should I write that?
I think her words are both honest and true. There is a fine line writers walk between fiction and fact. Fantasy and reality. So much of who we are is embedded in our stories. Our words, our voices, our hearts … our sometimes crazed imaginations. Elena writes, “Just because you write about an axe murderer, doesn’t mean you are slightly unhinged and could lose it and carry out your protagonists actions in the middle of the night – just because you think it, doesn’t mean you would do it.”
People judge you as a person when you put your stories out there. And we can judge ourselves as words fly from our fingertips in a flurry of ideas. Whether you write horror or paranormal romance, people will either love your work and sing your praises, or wonder if you are indeed unhinged.
Does it matter? As a writer who has chosen to share their work with the world–it probably shouldn’t. It’s the risk you take when you decide to go public. It’s the reason every writer hears those few words of caution, “Grow a thick skin. You’re going to need it.”
Not everyone will praise or even like your work. Some people may hate your genre, your ideas–your imagination. And they will judge you. But we can’t please everyone and we can only write what moves us and hope our words resonate with readers.
So I leave you with this to ponder:
“Writers are not just people who sit down and write. They hazard themselves. Every time you compose a book your composition of yourself is at stake.” ~E.L. Doctorow
So the question is, Are you willing to put yourself out there? It’s the risk all writers have to take. The difference between owning what you love and hiding it. The difference between being public or private. Published or tucked away in a drawer.
SO WRITE ON WRITERS. Take your best shot. 😉
*** Re-posted from April 2012 ***
February 1, 2013 | Categories: Author, Inspiration, Novel Writing, Thoughts, Writer, Writing, Writing Tips | Tags: art, Fiction, laney mcmann, novel writing, The Fire Born Novels, Writer, Writers Resources, Writing, Writing Advice, Writing Tips, ya fantasy author, YA Fiction, YA paranormal romance author | 15 Comments
“If you want to write, you can. Fear stops most people from writing, not lack of talent. Who am I? What right have I to speak? Who will listen to me? You are a human being with a unique story to tell. You have every right.”
January 16, 2013 | Categories: Inspiration, Novel Writing, Quotes, Writing Tips | Tags: Advice on writing a novel, Arts, Author, Blog, Education, Fear, goal accomplishment, Inspiration, laney mcmann, Richard Rhodes, Writers Resources, Writing, Writing Advice, Writing Exercises | Leave a comment
Aspire: to long, aim, or seek for.
Aspire is one of those words with an embedded escape clause.
“If I really suck at this, or if I just give up, it won’t matter because I’m only aspiring.”
Do you love to write? Does it speak to you?
Aspiring isn’t goal setting. It’s an escape hatch. It is scribble, scribble, blah, blah … What was I talking about?
If you want to write then write. If you want to become an author work your ass off at it. It’s hard and it will make you want to scream one second and cry the next. But writers write. It’s what we do. Don’t be afraid to put a label on it.
December 8, 2012 | Categories: Author, Inspiration, Writer, Writing | Tags: Advice on writing a novel, art, Arts, Author, Author of The Fire Born Novels, Chats and Forums, FAQs Help and Tutorials, Fiction, goal accomplishment, Goal setting, laney mcmann, Mailing Lists, Publishing, Word count, Writer, Writer Resources, Writers Resources, Writing, Writing Advice, Writing Tips, ya fantasy author, YA paranormal romance author, Young Writers, Young-adult fiction | 6 Comments
It’s every new writers nightmare. The reason so many hide their stories away.
What if no one likes my book? What if I only think I can write…but really, I can’t!
Oh, god, people are going to judge me.
A quote by Bruce Patrick
WRITE ON, WRITERS.
October 22, 2012 | Categories: Author, Inspiration, Publishing, Self Publishing, Writer, Writing | Tags: Author, facing fear, fantasy author, Fear, goal accomplishment, Inspiration, Judgement, laney mcmann, WIP, Writer, Writers Resources, Writing, Writing Advice, Writing Tips, YA Fiction, YA paranormal romance author | 8 Comments