As a longtime author and music composer, I’ve met a lot of people aspiring to do the same thing I do—sit down and write an epic novel, publish it, and begin building an audience base (which I’m still working on). People decades older than me come to me for advice. I am, by no means, a master at this, but I certainly have a lot of experience. But the one most common issue I’ve seen aspiring authors, artists, actors, and musicians deal with throughout the years is uncertainty. A lack of confidence in their work and themselves that leads to never finishing a project and actually put out there to the public. And even if it is complete, they fear criticism. That’s completely understandable, though. Even my confidence gets shaky; all the time, too. No one is ever 100% sure of themselves, and that’s a good thing.
The way I see it is that fear sort of keeps you on your toes, but only as long as you don’t let it overwhelm you. The fear of criticism is you questioning your own work. Instead of making it about the people who will criticize your work (and believe me, you will get negative feedback almost all the time, and some of it might be quite personal), make it about yourself. What don’t you like about your work?
If you’re writing a novel and you hit a roadblock or just an area where you don’t feel totally excited about it, why is that? Is it your word choice? Is it just a poor plot point? Is the way one or more characters acting rather unfitting for the scene? Maybe give it a rest and go back to it the next day, figuring out how to change some things. Don’t be afraid to delete entire sections. In the book I’m currently writing, I actually ended up deleting nearly 70 pages because it was going down a road that had little potential, and now I’m long past that point because I found a plot point that works well.
Don’t hold onto something that’s only going to hurt you in the long run! When you’re producing art of any kind, the first and most important critic you want to impress is yourself. Outdo yourself with every word you write, every note on the measure, every pencil stroke, and don’t be afraid to erase what you don’t like. Get rid of it, take a break, then keep going. You don’t need to do everything in one sitting, but don’t quit, either. Find your own work pace and get the project done. Believe me, you’ll be so proud of yourself afterward that, despite your exhaustion, you’ll want to do another one. After a brief break, of course.
The world still needs artists of all kinds. Don’t let the “societal norm” tell you otherwise, but as time goes on, the art is what will remain and define us as humans. We’re not simple, disposable machines designed to work as another brick in the wall for the rest of our lives. We’re individuals with our own hopes, dreams, beliefs, and personalities, and when you realize that you are you, this little thing we call life gets a little bit easier. Let your art shine, and keep putting it out there. You may save a life one day.
Thank you guys so much for reading this. I hope this entry was able to inspire you guys at least a little bit to continue following your passions. I just have a bit of an update before finishing this entry. This will likely be the only entry I can post this week since I am to attend jury duty starting tomorrow, and so I hope to leave it off on a positive note. You guys are amazing, and I hope you are proud of yourselves. If perhaps you’re running into difficulties of any kind or even need someone to talk to, my DMs on Twitter are always open at https://twitter.com/LordChrom7
Talk to me anytime and I’ll help in any way I can. Thank you guys so much for your continued support, and I look forward to writing more next week.