Now that my baby has gone out into the world of beta readers (was going to say big bad world, but my wonderful readers are neither big nor bad), I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about why I write.
It’s nerve-wracking to send your work to other people, to hear what they think of the piece you’ve been lovingly working on for months – and in various shapes and forms, years. But will I be destroyed if I get negative feedback, or if I’m told it’s not worth publishing? Not at all.
Why? It’s because, first and foremost, this is a story that I wanted to tell. It’s a story that’s been marinating for almost two years now, beginning with a vivid image of a girl crawling out of the latrine hole in a beautiful mansion and proceeding to clean herself off on the lush carpets and priceless tapestries. Through numerous drafts and edits, I’ve finally reached the point where it’s reasonably close to the story that’s been playing itself out in my mind.
Despite my still-tenuous grasp of clean, concise prose and vivid imagery, the tale of that girl is out there for the world (okay, my betas, but you guys are my world!) to see. I’m passionate about my plot and my characters, and yes, it’s something that I would love to read myself – on the proviso of better prose, obviously. 😛
That, I think, is the most satisfying part of all because first and foremost I’d like to see myself as a storyteller.
Yes, it would be wonderful to be published. To be published means that I don’t have to spend all my days toiling away in an office while dreaming of what I want to be writing at that very moment. It means that I can transport many other people to a different reality, if only for a few hours, where characters embody the traits we long to have and justice is served in the end (why I’m not a writer of ‘downer’ endings). And most importantly, it is a very public way that I can bring glory to the God who I believe in.
What will I do if it’s deemed unpublishable? I will move on and keep writing. For there are many other tales out there to be told, many new characters I would love to explore and bring to life on the page. I’ll take the lessons learnt from this round and do it even better the next, so that one day I will be able to share my beloved characters and their stories with the world. Even now, the kernel of a new plot is tugging away at my attention, demanding to be recorded.
So, to my betas: Thank you for your time and your willingness to help. I love you guys and I really hope that despite going through my novel for review purposes, you’ll still be able to enjoy it as much as any other reader.
Please don’t shirk back from an objective opinion because you’re afraid of hurting my feelings – I already know why I write and I will not stop. All your comments and thoughts will only make the story and the storyteller better.
To anyone else who wishes to write: Be sure of why you are writing. This will sustain you through the times when the story on your page doesn’t match up with the story in your head. When you wonder if anyone would bother reading the garbage you’re regurgitating. When you think that you can write the rest of your life and never get anywhere.
Keep going. Tell the story you want to tell, and let the publicity sort itself out because your passion will shine through.