Encouragement to Write
It took me five years to write my first novel. Then I waited a year for publishers to reply to me which only one of the four bothered to do and finally, it took a while to find out about self-publishing (not vanity publishing) and get my book out into the world.
I can’t say that I worked on the book every day for the first five and a half years, but I have almost every day since. Looking back, there was a lack of confidence. I had never written anything for the public to read before.
I wanted to know that people would like it before I published it, so I was also naive, although I believe that part of a publisher’s job and that of a literary agent is to boost the writer’s confidence. Self-publishers don’t have that comfort, or I didn’t anyway.
Another problem that I had was the fear that readers would associate me with the main male character. I don’t remember why I thought that this would be an issue, but it held me up for about a year until one day I wrote in big letters in my notebook ‘CRAIG IS NOT ME!’. A simple thing, but the thought never bothered me again.
Back to wanting to know that everyone would like my book before releasing it. I didn’t know any writers and still don’t personally, although I correspond with a few over the Internet. I didn’t know what an author did – OK, write books – but I was writing a book too, so what else made someone an author?
I needed encouragement, I wanted someone to say ‘That’s good, keep at it’ – five simple words., but they didn’t come. This was mostly my fault, because I didn’t show my work to anyone, because I wanted to know that they would like it first.
A silly, vicious circle of my own making, but I didn’t realise it at the time.
I couldn’t show it to my wife, because she does not read English. There is nobody else around here that might care. One day it became clear that I would never publish if I carried on like that, so I emailed the manuscript to a friend.
I never heard from him again on the subject, but I know that he received it. Occurrences like that do not inspire confidence. I waited four months and then took the bull by the horns and published anyway. I told my immediate family and they rallied around by buying a few copies.
One brother wrote one line on Facebook and another wrote a four line-email to me saying that he couldn’t put it down and would I please write a sequel.
The very next day, I started that second book. In stead of taking seven years to write, it has taken seven months. That is what a few words of encouragement to write, or do anything I imagine, can do.
Since then, I have had dozens of encouraging comments and requests to be informed if I write any more, but think of the things that could have been achieved if a few kind, encouraging words had been uttered at the right moment!
It’s a crying shame.
by +Owen Jones
Copied from Owen’s Personal Blog with kind permission.