I have wanted to be a writer my whole life. I’m a little embarrassed to admit that, because I didn’t actually start being a writer until last year. Almost 34 years of not doing what I wanted to do. Although I’m sure everyone can understand why: fear. It’s a scary thing to be a writer.
First there’s the self-doubt. Can I do this? Why do I even want to? Is wanting to be a writer arrogant in some way? Are the story ideas I have even good enough? Years and years of this thought pattern went through my head. And I listened and acted accordingly.
Then there’s the fear of what others will think. It’s one thing to know that you will get rejection letters; it’s another to actually get them. You can prepare for your reaction, but it still stings pretty badly. And if people are rejecting me, then why am I even wasting my time? Because writing takes time.
Community dragged me out of this vicious cycle. I went to my first writer’s conference, a tiny local one with only about 100 people. I brought my story and stood up and read a couple of pages of it to them. And they started giving me feedback. Granted, that feedback was positive, and maybe things would have gone a different direction if they had kindly told me that I needed to go back to the drawing board. But the point is they responded favorably. So I started seeking out feedback from other people. And that gave me the courage to send out the story to see if the feedback I was getting would be matched by affirmation from the publishing world. And it was.
And now I can’t imagine writing without feedback. I’m a part of a critique group, and I love sending them my stories and getting their thoughts about it. It has made my writing much stronger. And I get to read their stories, which is fun for me as a writer and a lover of stories.
It’s a pretty universal fact that people are better together. And that goes for writers too. I have advice for you if you want to write: find community. The accountability, encouragement, and instruction you’ll receive in a writing community is crucial to the viability of your writing career. Plus, things are just better with friends.
Victoria is a wife, a mom to three girls, a full-fledged homebody, a so-so housekeeper, a mediocre musician and has dreamed of writing her whole life. She lives at the foot of the Rockies in Littleton, Colorado and she will never take that for granted. Victoria is the author of Soprano Trouble, book one in The Choir Girls series. Visit her website www.victoriakimble.com to get a sneak peek of book two Alto Secrets.
it takes a lot of guts to stand up before a group and read your creation.
Like you, I’ve had that certainty that writing was what I was SUPPOSED to do… going way back to elementary school. Thankfully, along the way, there were wonderful teachers (and my parents) who were supportive and encouraging. In my career choices — newspaper work and librarianship — I had to write every single day… but that was “work” writing, not “creative” writing. I had long stretches where I didn’t feel I had done any creative writing.