It's the Monday after my favorite writer's conference. That feeling of joy and excitement lingers, my commitment to writing renewed. The weekend was wonderful - I met new people, learned new things, and had a great time bonding with my friends. The blog is about to experience a re-launch, as I work to build my writer platform. In the meantime, some reflections.
Not everything is sunshine and roses. I entered two contests and lost. Received feedback in my email this morning and as feedback tends to be, some was positive and some soul-crushing. The book is at a place where it is good, but not quite good enough. One of my friends and I talked about how we can receive twenty positive comments, but then one negative comment sends our brain into a tailspin. The thing is, everyone experiences the same thing. Even if you have written a best-seller, there is going to be a reviewer that didn't like the book, and as writers we have to find a way to incorporate the useful, constructive feedback and flush the mean stuff down the toilet. So this is me, mentally flushing the things that make me want to cry and set my manuscript on fire.
Writers, in general, are awesome people. Talking to strangers is so very hard for me, but I've figured out how to talk to other writers. It's like we have this whole, "I'm a slightly odd introvert who creates worlds with my fingertips, oh really me too" sort of thing going on. It bonds us. We've survived the above mentioned criticism. We've experienced first conference jitters. We've sat for hours staring at the computer screen wondering if perhaps we can just will the scene to life. (That's not just me, right?) The PennWriters community in particular is a great group. They are supportive and welcoming, and they bring in industry professionals that want to see writers succeed. It's why I feel like I can conquer the world after each conference.
Fear is okay, but don't let it become the enemy, and don't be afraid to ask for help. Life is overwhelming. And one of the topics this weekend was how we often make excuses for not writing. Why? For me, a lot of it is fear. Fear that no one will want to read my work, that it will never be good enough, that I will never be good enough. In writing and in life. But hey, I'm here to say that I am officially tired of being afraid of failure, of rejection (both personally and professionally), of not fitting in, of anything else that's holding me back. Still afraid of snakes, though. Can't seem to get over that whole forked tongue thing.
My friends put up with my weird personality, and I am incredibly thankful for them. Honestly, I can't imagine being on this journey without them. I laughed until I cried on multiple occasions this weekend, something I desperately needed. It is important to surround yourself with people who love and support you, that you can love and support in return. Writing can be lonely, and while that's okay sometimes, it's also okay - and necessary - to have people in your corner. Cheerleaders. Brainstorming partners. People who make you laugh and hug you tight.
Thank you, friends, family, fellow writers, and followers. Out of respect to my soon to be teenage son (ack!), I will be closing down The Family Van soon and starting a new, more writing focused blog. Stay tuned!