I have been talking and talking about the release of my first fictional novel, “PrinceFall”. Maybe not here on my site, but with friends, those who pre-read the book and fellow writers/readers. Honestly, I pushed back the official release for later this summer for two reasons. One, I wanted more input from my inner circle about edits. Second, I wanted to put to use some really fantastic advice from fellow writers.
I was given the book Ink from R.S. Guthrie himself and it has been a great resource for me. In the past, I’ve read Stephen King’s On Writing. One of the most invaluable resources, however, has been networking with independent authors on Goodreads! Their experiences have shown me the pitfalls, the major accomplishments and the trials that writers of books face.
As a journalist, it is a different process to switch pens, so to speak, and write fiction. I have been writing fiction and non-fiction for years, but never prepared any project as big as my own novel. And then to actually have enough to say to make it a series is an even bigger step for me. It has been challenging, exciting, frustrating and has challenged my self-confidence more than once.
It has reminded me of my early days in a studio art class in high school. My instructor was quirky, but taught me a ton about allowing my creativity to flow. I had success with my artwork, even selling a couple pieces. If you’ve read my bio here on my site, you know that once I got to college and saw that the art program was full, I changed my course of study. I never stopped drawing and painting. I kept up my skills in creating digital art. My biggest handicap was that I never felt like my work was “good enough” to share. It led to a deep-seated fear of sharing my art.
In journalism, you are open to a lot of scrutiny. A lot! As a sports journalist, it is difficult to put out news or opinion pieces based on press releases, credentials and an inside knowledge only to see someone who doesn’t have those qualifications tear apart every word you’ve written. Criticism has pushed me to be a better journalist, however. And while some comments and feedback still leave me questioning, I have learned that without the risk, the reward would be worthless. For me, the reward is the one-in-a-million reader who sees my integrity and the quality of my work and leaves me positive feedback. It is also about being secure in the fact that you have presented information that is not only true, but based on facts.
Writing a novel is a different process. I have questioned myself multiple times about putting my story out there in the public. Art, in all its forms, is a piece of the artist who creates it. Releasing my book feels like I am taking a piece of myself and tossing it out there with the understanding that I may never see it groomed by the love of others. That piece of me may just atrophy and wither away. It may hurt. In fact, it may very well hurt a lot.
This book has unleashed characters who scream to me in my head telling me to release them into the world. That isn’t to say I am completely crazy, but those voices get very loud. They demand to be heard and addressed. And because they are so strong, they keep pushing me forward despite any confidence issues I may be experiencing.
The real reward from writing or art or creating things is that it satisfies yourself. I hear the perfectionists out there saying, ‘yeah, but that isn’t strong enough to reverse the constant nagging that it isn’t perfect’. To those who struggle with that I say, set it free. It’s easier said than done. I know (very well, in fact). So, as I put out more and more creative works I hope that I can use the advice, instruction and guidance that others have given me to boost my confidence and move me forward, setting it free.
I have a personal motto: “Just keep moving”.
I really believe in it, too. If you remain still, you just get bogged down in a rut that seems to get deeper by the second. You may not have dug that crevasse that you find yourself in, but it keeps growing. I have a neighbor, a funny but wise older man, who every time he sees a Turkey Vulture floating on the air currents overhead says, “You’d better keep moving.” It’s a funny statement, yes? Well, a vulture, as you know, loves to dine on carrion and basically things that no longer have life in them. Every time he says it, I instantly look up and laugh out loud. I would hate to be attacked by a Turkey Vulture. They have a massive wingspan and I am not sure I would escape without a few peck marks. How does that relate to my motto? Well, I firmly believe that if you don’t keep moving, your life stalls. I have experienced that personally. It’s why I wanted to get t-shirts made and become a billionaire off of the proceeds from the sales. Instead, I try to remember those three words when I am battling self-confidence issues in my work.
So, in the next week or so I will be revealing something new that is related to my book. If you haven’t signed up to follow my blog, please do so you get a notice right away. I promise, you won’t be spammed – you’ll just see my blog posts and announcements as soon as I hit the “publish” button.
My last words – “Just keep moving”