Thursday, November 17, 2011

Robbing The World

I entered a contest yesterday, at the last minute. I'd been thinking about it for weeks, but I didn't sit down and write my entry until a few hours before it was due.

It was the first time I've put myself up to be judged in a while. A long... long... long while.

I was probably using something like this the last time I entered a contest.
Of course, you could say that by blogging I open myself to be judged, but this is different. I'm talking about being judged on my creativity. This raw feeling had me revisiting an old lifetime query...

Why do I procrastinate? Why don't I ever give it my all?
But, the answer is simple.

I procrastinate because I fear that if I ever really tried, I could really fail.

Well, doesn't that just make me a clever one?
Of course, it doesn't.

But, what puts me on another level is that I think about it. If I never really push myself to work harder and stop procrastinating (which would inevitably result in better work) what would happen?

My response: Who cares what would happen?
It's not happening.

And a thought came to me...

I am robbing myself of my potential. Each little failure doesn't hurt when I know I just rushed "my best effort" in a last minute rally. But, years and years built up of little failures due to half-tries make me think I am setting myself up for ultimate failure.

"My great concern is not whether you have failed, but whether you are content with your failure." Abraham Lincoln

This contest, while I have no idea how I will fare, was something I wanted to win. I wasn't content with my submission. If I lose, I will not be "content" with my loss. So, I sit here, tapping my foot nervously because I have no confidence in my work... because deep down, I know I should have been working on it so much more. When I find out the results, I'll think, "Okay, that's that. Now, let's move forward to something else."

On a whole, little failures don't bother me. I will move forward in some way or another. But, the idea of all the failures characterizing my life blows my mind. I don't want my life to be characterized by little failures.

So, I guess I better board the train and get on with trying. Give myself a real shot with all the potential I have inside of me. My guess is there are plenty of you out there who are in the same boat. Skip the boat and board the train with me.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Suicide is Painless: A Retort

My last blog certainly drew some blood. My own. 

I could say that it ripped out my heart and hurt my feelings, but that would be a lie. I'm a writer; I'm used to getting ripped to shreds.

There are a million reasons why self-pubs, indies, and even traditional wayfarers hate traditional publishing and/or the Big 6.
  • Gatekeeper's prerequisites, i.e. queries and synopses (who doesn't hate writing those?)
  •  The long waits, even after you get picked up by an agent and/or publisher (What? It'll be two years before my book is on the shelves?)
  • The snobbish tomfoolery.
Yeah, yeah... the list could keep going, but I'm going to stop there. I want to talk about the last one. That last blog, "Self Pub Suicide", was about humility and getting along. Unfortunately, sometimes I come across as mean when I am trying to make a point. It can't be helped. (If you have something to say about this, save your breath and read the tirade in Abrasive.)

Point: As writers, we need to unite to help each other. If my goal was to please just the writers, then I wouldn't have a job. My goal is to please the reader... I'm pretty sure that is everyone's goal.

I don't believe in the mentality behind the "it's just not what we're looking for" comments (read "you're just not good enough"). So, instead of acting like a snobby gatekeeper,  leave the asinine comments at home and be constructive. Be as offhanded as you want. Throw in some sarcasm for good measure. Stab my work till it's bloody. Tell me I've made typos. Ask honest questions and post your perceptions that will breed healthy debate and growth. That's the only thing that will benefit any writer.

But, DO NOT come into my house and play the "I'm better than you" game. Writing is a level playing field. Suck it up, learn the game, and play it with some integrity.

This is what I'm thinking when I listen to other people, (especially when they are being derogatory or spiteful):

"Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle." Plato

...Try it some time.