(My mom is going to have a fit that I didn’t title this “WRITE BRAVELY”. I KNOW MOM. I KNOW).
So here’s the thing about writing books.
Sometimes you get a project and you know from page 1 (or at least you are hopeful) that it will work! You may not know if it will SELL (that’s a whole different beast) but you know that the bones are there.
You have a project where you question yourself at every stage. Maybe it’s in a new genre, or it’s taking chances in structure – plot, POV, character, what-have-you. Maybe it’s wacky/crazy. Whatever it is, it’s taking you out of your comfort zone.
And that’s scary.
But it’s not a reason to give up. Not a reason to hold down the delete key until you’re back on pg. 1, waiting for the safe, the stable, the known.
Even if there’s a chance, a good chance, that the story won’t work, it’s always worth following it. Because it might surprise you. Stories that unstable, that different, are bound to. And if it doesn’t work, it’s been good practice. Maybe one of your cast of characters will find its way into a new project.
I have two projects right now. One I know (I know the bones are there, and I’m pretty sure I can write it). And one that scares the sh*t out of me because I don’t know it and it’s not clean and in order and the characters are all strange and the story is odd but THAT IS WHY I LOVE IT. I love not knowing if it will work. I can’t quit the book. Little warning lights have been flashing in my head since I first started, since before I started, but I CANNOT QUIT THIS BOOK.
It’s my fling. It’s passionate and volatile and not-so-healthy and strange and sometimes.
You need a little fun. You need the threat of something succeeding or failing spectacularly and the knowledge that every day it’s walking that line. You need a challenge.
Don’t play it safe.
Because when you write something safe and it doesn’t work it SUCKS. You sit and you try to understand why. What did you do wrong? You followed the rules. You hit all the right notes.
When you write something bold and it doesn’t work, you don’t have to wonder why, you don’t have to sit and agonize and get lost in the business or the rules or the trends. You can be free in the knowledge that you took a chance. And then, instead of crawling back to safe (it won’t be any easier) take another chance.
My friend told me to WRITE BRAVE. And he was right.
Take a chance.
Have a fling.
Love your work.
Because then it’s never work (until you have to edit :p)