By C. Hope Clark –
Yeah, that’s hard for us to swallow sometimes. We write to be read. Eager to please, we’re like kids asking what are the rules so we can play the game well enough to win. We want people on the sidelines to root for us and tell us how well we did. We want the prize.
Along the way, when times are rough, we remind ourselves that we are our best and worst critic. We might even say we only have to please ourselves, but we don’t mean it. We get sad. Sometimes we cry. A few get mad and bash the publishing world as an evil, heartless machine that gobbles up the good and spits on the rest, stomping out the soul of art.
But in the end, when we’re alone in our room staring at a screen that won’t produce the right words, we have to face the fact we write for ourselves first, foremost, and last. Without our own love infused into our stories, they read dry. And to give love to something means to sacrifice and take risks. Remember, love can be unrequited.
Many things we do in our lives we do for self-pleasure. While it’s a joy to be complimented for our efforts, the bottom line is we shouldn’t perform without enjoying the experience of the performance. When you do, you shortchange the audience.
Write a story that makes you smile, cry, or feel proud. Be truthful with yourself when trying to make it your best. Be thrilled when others enjoy the experience you worked so hard to produce, but try not to measure your success on the judgment of others. While it’s tempting to beg for the judgment, and shoved in our faces that success comes in terms of sales to others, nothing we do gets off the ground written in a vacuum with only an Amazon ranking representing the goal.
It’s like finding a friend. Not everyone likes you, and you don’t like everyone. Only certain people connect with who you are. You have to be the best you to be the best for someone else. Without pleasing yourself first, you lose all hope of pleasing others.
Have fun writing.