I’ve been writing for a while now and have had the pleasure of connecting with a large number of amateur writers who share hopes and aspirations similar to my own. During this evolutionary journey, I’ve realized their is one common trait that hinders nearly all of us from realizing our dreams:
Don’t get me wrong, maintaining confidence in pursuit of your goals is crucial. It takes an enormous amount of stubbornness to believe you can become a published author when so many realists jump to criticize your chances.
The ill-side of ego I’m referring to here is the tendency of writers to fall so in love with their own unique concepts and ideas that they disregard the story-saving input of others.
I spent one full year working on the same book everyday without allowing anybody else to glance at it. One. Full. Year. In my mind, this book was so incredible I actually worried about people breaking into my Tacoma just to steal my USB flash drive(spend too much time in your own head, you will go crazy).
When I finally allowed people to look it over, their obvious indifference to the material shocked and defeated me. Somehow I summoned the courage to rewrite the entire book, but my ego took even more of a hit when I found my drastic alterations did nothing to sway the opinions of my readers. I wound up rewriting again and again, and even revised the first chapter over thirty (!) times before accepting the fact that I was missing something.
For the first time in my writing career, I decided to study writing. The book that changed me was called Story Engineering. This book describes rules and structures that all good stories abide by, essential tools I never could have found on my own. Though I’ve since read books that discuss more advanced topics, Larry Brown’s work laid the groundwork for my writing education.
The only way to grow as a writer is to learn. It is impossible to learn something you already know. Therefore, if you wish to improve your craft, it is absolutely vital that you listen to readers who criticize your work. You will be amazed at how quickly criticism can turn to praise.
- Thomas M. Watt