Barriers to our writing
Lately in some of my writing circles there have been conversations about barriers to our ability to write and publish. Mothers with young children struggle to find the time between child-raising duties. People who work full-time squeeze writing into the pockets of their time. Editors send rejections for stories we were sure they would buy. These things get in the way of writing but I don't think they are the real barriers to our writing. I think the real barrier is us.
I know it is hard for some people in the face of many rejections to keep on writing. I have books that have sold after 27 rejections. I have lots more waiting to be rejected before they find their perfect home. Heck, no matter how many books or stories or articles you publish being rejected will always hurt. And no matter how many times you tell yourself, or someone tells you, not to take it personally, sometimes you will. That's because writing is a heart job. We pour ourselves into what we write and we want the validation of being published to tell us it is worthwhile.
Go ahead and quit if you think you can. If you can't, then accept the fact that there will be good writing days and bad writing days. There will be days when you have time to write and don't and days where you manage to write in-between chores and dayjobs and cooking dinner. There will be rejections and acceptances. It's good to remember the pleasure in the process of writing but sometimes it's a hard process and the pleasure fades. That's why you have a critique group. That's why you have a writing buddy that you can call or write to on your down days who reminds you that you write because you can't NOT write.
For me, editors are NOT the barrier. They have been savvy folks who, yes, are looking to fill a niche perhaps but have helped me see things about my work that I was too close to be able to see for myself.
If there's a barrier in writing it's me.
Being afraid to write what I want to write because it might not be marketable, might have a small audience, might not be understood, might make me an enemy, might tick off my mom. Substitute your own excuse of the week.
Being afraid to take chances with my writing that will stretch me and help me grow.
Being afraid to be the writer I am capable of being because what if I fail, what if I succeed, what if someone doesn't like who I become, what if "I" don't like who I become?
Being afraid I'm not good enough to tell the story I want to tell because I don't have the skillset, because I don't know where to find the information, because someone told me it was a dumb idea.
Just plain being afraid is the only barrier to me. The rest is scenery along the way.
Writing defines me. Publishing pays me. It takes wisdom to know the difference.
Write on, right now.