So I have bought the bullet and have done it. I have sent one of my novels to be torn apart. Ripped to shreds. Eaten alive and spat out….
I am running out of metaphors.
One of the problems with where I live is that there isn’t a large community of writers to connect with. Those that are here tend to lie more on the literary side of the fiction writing spectrum. I am not on that side. To be more specific, I am so far away from it that it is like a couple of those shots from one of the many space probes. You know, the ones that passed by Jupiter. Anyways, they turned around and took a photo of the sun from Jupiter. The sun was a tiny speck in the distance. It looked just like a bright star in the night sky if you were looking on earth. I am the space probe, the literary fiction writers are the sun.
That outlines the issue that I face. It is also one that faces many writers out there new. Getting your work edited and looked at to find any glaring errors. Finding Beta Readers. Or the want to find Beta Readers.
New writers have a hard time for various reasons. New writers tend to have anxiety on other people reading there work. They are afraid that the help that they may receive will be less than pleasant. That it will be overly harsh and critical. Many that do receive such advice get deflated and defeated and stop writing. They think that there work sucks, therefore they suck. That they are not going to be an overnight success.
I fell into that camp at one point. I thought my work was good. It wasn’t. I burned it. Poof. Gone. I didn’t write for years afterwards. To this day I do not know why I even write now. I just do. It is one of those things that I have accepted.
The reason that happens to many young writers out there has to do with our view of the word ‘Talent’. Or the phrase ‘To Be Talented’. What does it mean? I think that the words first definition sums it up. From Dictionary.com.
That says it right there. A special natural ability or aptitude. Meaning that to be talented means that the ability to write a story, or draw a picture, or sing a song and win whatever gameshow of the week you are on. It comes to you easily and naturally and that you don’t have to work for it. Or at least to those that do not have any ‘Talent’.
There are some, me included, that have realized the truth. The truth that has been staring the creative work in the face. A truth that will change it, probably for the better.
Like Neo and the spoon, there is no Talent. None. Burn the definition from the dictionary and re-write it. Why? Because people see Talent as a sudden thing. I, who have never played a Piano in my life can, if I am Talented enough, sit down at the Piano and play like Mozart. No practice. No training. Just bang. Mozart.
To those that think that, I cry bullshit. Talent is nothing more than the byproduct of hard work determination and will power to stick with something no matter what. Like extreme flatulence is the byproduct of beans and corn. As an example, my six year old son loves playing Piano. He, plays quiet well for a six year old and is a sight to see.
Is he talented? No. He has been interested in music since he was a baby. Since he loved drumming his fingers on the coffee table. I threw fuel on that fire. I kept him interested in drumming fingers. In making sounds that sound good. He kept his interest up. I started his lessons in September and now in March, he has finished his first book. I am told that his progress has been fast. Is he Talented? No. He practices hours every day cause he loves playing it. He puts the work in. That is not Talent. That is hard work and I love it.
Back to these young writers. They get in the belief that there work is special cause others have been. JK Rowlings, Steven King, etc all exploded in the spot light. They can too. right? Wrong. These big name authors spent years writing utter and complete crap until they were an over night success.
So my novel, that I wrote ten years ago is now with the Beta readers. I feel anxious, excited and nervous. I keep reminding myself that the novel is ten years old. It is a turd and even though I am giving it a polish, it is still a turd. That gives a new meaning to a couple of those metaphors from the beginning.