It’s FALL here in beautiful New England!
The trees are showing off their magnificent colors. October is magical. It’s breathtaking and awe-inspiring. It’s glorious and crisp. October is the best time of year.
Unless you’re an acorn.
I am not an acorn, but I would imagine that if I were, and if I were sentient and anthropomorphic, it would be very difficult for me not to feel sorry for myself in October.
Where would acorns like me go? If not eaten by a squirrel, then I and my friends could be buried in a hole somewhere, forgotten under the brutal snow that New England’s prize for loving autumn too much.
Poor me. All alone in the darkness. Decomposing. Maybe, if I’m lucky, I’ll germinate in the spring. If we ever have spring.
Ah, but this is where I get to sermonizing, so I need to get back to October.
If you are a beginning writer, you are much like a wee acorn.
Small, seemingly insignificant, a bit nutty, occasionally accosted by squirrels. If you are a beginning writer, you may look at those towering, more experienced, more successful writers (a tree in our analogy if you haven’t got it already) and think that you should just give it up and become squirrel fodder.
Don’t believe for a minute that you are less because you are just beginning. Please don’t believe that your future is bleak because it’s dark in your squirrel hole. Don’t believe that their strength should be compared to your weakness.
Writers can feel this same way. They may feel that because the market is huge and saturated, they don’t have a chance. Or they may feel that because writers around them are more successful that there’s no room for another voice. They may be so busy looking at the circumstances around them that they forget to plow through.
Instead? Do this:
1. Write every day. Even ten minutes will keep you going in the right direction. If you can’t write every day, write as often as you can.
2. Remember everyone was a beginner sometimes. If you have to, research your favorite authors and study their early years. Go back to this list of famous rejections. Make it a game to collect your own
3. Worry only about you, and no one else. Writing isn’t a game for the insecure. It’s a quest for those of us who look straight ahead and stick to our convictions and our determination.
4. Hang on to the dream. George R.R. Martin said, “I don’t like writing, but I like having written.” How did he get to his level of fame and success? One word at a time. Now, you can always take a break. You will always have drier seasons, but that doesn’t mean you should quit altogether.
5. Don’t ever, ever, ever, ever, compare yourself to another writer. Either you will compare your strengths to their weaknesses and come out looking like a smug know-it-all (and no one buys books from smug know-it-alls) or you will compare your weakness to their strength and give up entirely.
It’s autumn in New England. There’s beauty everywhere. In the grand and in the small.
Keep writing. You will have the glory someday.
Katharine Grubb is a homeschooling mother of five, a novelist, a baker of bread, a comedian wannabe, a former running coward and the author of Write A Novel In 10 Minutes A Day. Besides pursuing her own fiction and nonfiction writing dreams, she also leads 10 Minute Novelists on Facebook, an international group for time-crunched writers that focuses on tips, encouragement, and community.