In recent years, I have fancied myself somewhat of a mentor-type for other writers. Not because i believe i’m better or anything like that, but because I was given the push that i needed a long time ago from a writer by the name of Eric Griffin (author of one of the Tzimisce Clan Novel). It was my first year going to DragonCon (this is about a decade ago – so many years before i got my first writing gig) and I had just begun writing my own stuff online and trying to farm it out to get published. I had attended writing panel after writing panel at the con, trying to figure out what it was that i was missing. That one thing that would push my work over the edge. To say that i found what i was looking for would just be a downright lie, because the panelists spoke of character and story creation, as well as guidelines and outlines and redlines and all kinds of lines, but nowhere in their words did i find the feeling that, “yes, i could do that.”
I got very down on myself that weekend and was about to call it quits entirely. My friends were all busy doing other things most of the time and i basically sat in a corner telling myself how stupid i was for even trying. Everyone has that moment of doubt and this one was mine. Then Eric was walking by, noticed that i was upset and actually stopped to ask me why. When i told him about the rejections (or just being ignored) i had received on my writing, all the hours and creativity that i put into it to come up with squat, he gave me a peace of good advice.
Oops! Here’s where i would have put Eric’s famous quote that sparked the rest of my writing career. Sadly, i don’t remember his exact words (because i have a terrible memory). But i do remember mentions of “it sounds like you have great ideas. just keep plugging away” and things of that nature. Then, at the end, of my conversation with Eric, I was smiling, sure of myself and I just knew that i was next to conquer the world of writing.
It seems like a simple message, but what any insecure writer needs is just someone to say “you’ll get it eventually”. It’s too easy to fall behind in your positivity, and there’s so much vitriol floating around the Internet (and even between writers directly) that hides under the guise of “constructive criticism” when it’s really just an excuse to tear another creative person down. And my example with Eric really shows off the fact that it doesn’t matter what kind of positive words you say, just that you say it. Not to say that everyone actually does have a shot at big time notoriety, but there’re quite a few authors that quit just because they don’t have a cheerleader behind them pushing them to be a better writer and finish up that novel that’s been sitting on their hard drive for years.
This is the reason why I try my hardest to listen to other writers and their ideas and give them something positive to take with them. Maybe, one day, i’ll be the reason behind another writer who didn’t give up and didn’t let others bring them down. Eric definitely did that for me and i am eternally grateful. I’d like to think that i’m paying it forward.
Until next time.