Tuesday, January 11, 2011

With Apologies to Nike...

Hello everyone! First, I'd just like to say how excited I am for my first real post on YAtopia! We're all looking forward to sharing our thoughts and experiences with you and we'd love to hear your suggestions. So if you have any topics/activities you'd like to see on the blog, please leave them in the comments!

By nature, I'm a very social person.  I meet a lot of writers - whether it's through social media, national writing organizations, local writers groups, or waiting in line at the Post Office on December 22nd (true story!). I often find myself talking to "new" writers and the conversation will go something like this:

Me: *inevitably, says something about writing*
Them: Oh, really? I write novels, too.
Me: Awesome, what do you write?
Them: A little bit of everything
Me: Cool, cool. So what kind of stories have you written so far? (I know, I'm pushy. But I love talking about writing)
Them: Well, I have ... you know ... all these ideas. And I want to write a book but *insert excuse here* and *insert publishing myth here*
Me: That's nice. Here's my card; there are some links in the sidebar of my website that I think you'll like. (Alternately, if they're really clueless, I'll write down Nate B's website and suggest they check out the right sidebar)

I know many of these people. I used to be one of these people. The thing is: they're not bad people. They're mostly just scared and a little naive. And I know they can't yet handle what I really want to say to them, so I'll say it here:

Just do it.

I'm not going to baby you. Becoming a writer is tough. You finally get the whole story down on paper and you think it's so perfect you'll just send it to Simon & Schuster and they'll send you a big fat check.

Then you realize you have to do revisions. And, oh man, you thought writing it the first time was hard? The revisions make you sweat, bang your head against the table, cry until your face hurts, hate your Beta readers then realize they're right two days later, clean your entire house in avoidance, give up at least three times, drink lethal amounts of coffee, stay up all night just to erase a comma. You shine and polish until your fingers are blistered and your eyes are red from fatigue and you have this beautiful precious baby manuscript that surely the whole world will fall in love with.

But it doesn't stop there. You will get rejected. And it will hurt like nothing else you've ever felt before.

You'll think you suck. And (honestly) you will suck. You'll wonder if it's worth it. But you'll keep writing. And then you'll get better. You'll write more and you'll get even better. Wash, rinse, repeat.

And one day, you'll find out that all the pain - all the tears, doubts, everything - was worth it. Every single moment, you are learning, growing, becoming a better writer.

And then. AND THEN? You're going to be amazing. You're going to know what it means to persevere. Someone will fall in love. Someone will say yes.

But only if you write the thing. Only if you're willing to start and take a chance. Only if you stick with it when the last thing you want to do is think about your manuscript.

I hope you never give up. I'm rooting for you. There's room enough on the shelf for both of us.


  1. Yeah! I get the first comment. This is so true. The Internet can be a writer' biggest ally and enemy as it distracts from writing. Great post!! Throw away the pacifiers - no more babying!

  2. Yay! I definitely feel sorry for myself as a stay at home mom sometimes, feeling like there's no time to write because I've always got a child with me and chores to do, and I'm too tired at night. But as writers, especially before we're published, we have to MAKE time. And darn it, sometimes we have to lose sleep.
    Thanks, Sarah.

  3. By the way, we're over 100 followers!!! Wowee! Thanks for the support everyone. :)

  4. What a brilliant post! I'm telling you, inside any writer, whether they be successful, failing, or somewhere in the middle, you will find the same thoughts. Hilarious really, we are such an insecure bunch, constantly doubting ourselves, but still we push forward, opening ourselves to ridicule, pain and a public humiliation! That's why I love writers. Ulimately, we are fearless. Woo hoo. Bring on the humiliation.

  5. Love the word fearless there, Leigh because its true. Rejection is so hard and I don't think the insecurites ever stop, but we're still here. Doing it.

    Great post, Sarah.

  6. Sarah, you rock because you don't just encourage inclusiveness and community support... you live them!

    If only they knew the kind of rejection you've dealt with, they'd believe you even more. :-)

  7. Thanks Sharon! The internet can be a huge distraction, but it can also help inspire!

    Hey Wendy. You're right: sometimes it can be so hard to make the time - especially when there's no immediate guarantee of a pay off. But we have to if we want to be in the game.

    Thanks Leigh! Haha, "Bring on the humiliation." I love your attitude.

    Thanks Kelley!

    Hi Meg! You rock too :-) I'm not sure I've even scratched the surface of my rejection, but I'm working on it!

  8. "Clean the entire house in avoidance & give up three times" definitely resonated with me. It might seem counter intuitive, but the days I devote to writing end up being the most productive for everything else too because I procrastinate until the inspiration hits. I like your literary voice and I'm glad you're lending it to YAtopia!

  9. Hey Jen: I'm glad you liked the post and thanks so much for being a follower!

    Thanks Adam! Yeah, when I'm trying to revise at home, all my dishes and laundry get done :-)

  10. Love, love, love this post ...

    It's SOOoooo true!!!! I love that it all comes down to JUST DOING IT. It really does. Sarah, you are spot on.

  11. thanks so much Morgan! I'm glad you liked the post!