Day 2: Five days, and five simple pieces of advice for new authors.
Day Two. . . Tip Two.
Write for the voice in the darkness. You know, that one quiet voice in the back of your mind that whispers about the mysterious tunnels it wants to explore, the pictures it wants to paint, the pain it wants to experience to enhance the joy when it explodes on the scene. That same whimsical voice that is always followed by a much more logical one, sounding like your boss as it points out what is selling now and what readers want to see next from you.
The battle between heart and mind is very real for all artists, especially now where fear of judgement is everywhere. Please, do the world a favor, and write from your heart. We need authenticity more than anything.
The mind only knows what it knows, and there is no method to the madness with art. It is not trackable, though the Amazon algorithms keep trying. So while it might make sense billionaire heroes are selling and writing one would make you a million dollars, you have to remember, someone wrote it first for the voice in the darkness, just because she loved it.
Your voice could be doing the same thing for you, and you are ignoring it trying to be someone else’s voice. Do us all a favor, write the book you would stand in line for fourteen hours to buy. Write the greatest book ever written in the history of yourworld, ‘cause your world is unique and special and you are the only one who can do it.
No one told me this, I had to figure it out on my own.
And the truth is, the journey on this one never ends. It is a constant readjustment as I learn and grow in my real life, and my experiences start to become reflected in my writing. Particularly now, at 41, when I realize my outlook is much more mature and complex than the starry eyed, hopeful younger me nine years ago who wrote Beyond Eden. The world has changed a lot since then, I have too, but often that boss voice reminds me romance is supposed to be filled with starry eyed innocence, even if I don’t necessarily know how to reflect that now.
What I discovered about myself over the past two years is I will quit writing before I write something that’s not true to my heart. That’s one of my special gifts and most difficult curses. I don’t open for fear, but I will shut down, sit on the floor and sulk in the face of it.
If you’re like me, dear God, please learn how to write for the voice in the darkness and fuck what anyone else says. Do yourself that favor because you will have a very long, hard road if you don’t.
And if you’re not like me, and you can write just for the paycheck—please stop it! Find your heart and follow it, be great instead of mediocre. Nothing you think you’ll lose by writing something inauthentic just for a paycheck will be worse than knowing in your heart of hearts that you are a fake.
And worse, the readers will know.
Don’t think they won’t.
Especially right now, we’re all starving for honesty. Even if it is dirty, gritty, cheesy, silly, ugly or whatever, be your truth! Even if it’s not someone else’s truth. There’s a lot of readers out there. They’ll find you and they’ll be glad when they do.