Who would have thought that entering into a Twitter contest would result in a multiple of realizations that turn into blog posts? And perhaps this latest “realization” isn’t so revolutionary, but it did sort of sadden me, while at the same time, gave me a newfound mission as a writer:
Support other writers.
Or, I guess I should modify that. Support upcoming writers. I’ve been supporting writers that I love for ages now by buying their books, forcing–er, recommending–their books to my friends and writing reviews on Goodreads (if you don’t write reviews, you really should ((doesn’t even have to be long))! Reviews help authors, especially lesser known ones. Just throwing that out there). So I got the supporting writers part down. But supporting upcoming writers? I know that is a little vague, and there are plenty of different ways to do that. I have one specific goal in mind, however:
Encourage them by believing in them. And telling them I believe in them.
Something I’ve struggled with in most aspects of my life is believing in myself, for various reasons. Unfortunately, my role as a writer and my writing hasn’t escaped from the venom that oozes from that mentality. And, like I wrote about earlier this week, rejection comes hand-in-hand with being a writer. It is easy to mistake rejection as synonymous to failure (hint: they aren’t). Pair that with the fact that, in order to get your work published or represented, you have to put yourself out there. That is such a scary feeling to begin with, and takes a certain amount of vulnerability and courage to even do in the first place, especially knowing it isn’t a one-time event. You may have to query dozens upon dozens of times. So when you already sometimes harbor a negative mentality, it is easy to get overwhelmed with said mentality until you’re drowning in self-doubt.
I’ve noticed throughout the PtichtoPublication process that a lot of writers struggle with that same battle; struggle with believing in themselves after putting themselves–through their work–on the line. I’m not 100% sure why that is or if that just comes with being a writer. I mean, it is so easy to get discouraged or believe that you can’t do it when rejection is so common in our line of work. On the feed, plus from conversations with writers that I connected with, a lot of writers confessed with either dealing with the same thing or expressed feeling more doubt than hope, in terms of their writing career and publishing prospects. Some even contemplated given up writing. Yet at the same time, there’s a great community that has been super supportive and so quick to tell someone to keep going; or to try again; or that they can do it. And that was so awesome to see–that unwavering, instant support–as much as it was a bummer to realize that other writes struggle with the same fears and doubts that I do on a daily basis. It seems, like the creativity we all possess, we all also deal with some negative mentalities. So how do we craft a better mindset?
Writers obviously understand the power of words. It’s our our medium. It’s no surprise that telling someone to you believe in them or that they’ll be published one day is a super mood booster. Not to mention that the effort necessary to pass along those encouraging words is almost non-existent. It isn’t hard to send out a Tweet that tells someone you’re standing in their corner. Or a Facebook post. Or a letter. Or, better yet, even if person. Yet in this fast-paced world, I think doing small acts like that often don’t happen, for various reasons. But you must realize that a simple line of encouragement–“I believe in you”–can be just as life-changing as the words, “Not for me,” or “I’m sorry to inform you, but…,” or even simply, “No.”
Take the time. Encourage others. I, for one, am so thankful for the encouragement that I’ve been provided this week from strangers who I’ve just “met” by connecting with them over our mutual love for writing. And it is such a great feeling to see how others respond to a positive word. My fellow writers, support one another. We’re all in this crazy journey together. To everyone else (still including the writers), just be supportive in general. Doing so hurts nothing, costs nothing and the positive possibilities are always worth the effort.