Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Mistakes

Being a writer can be extremely stressful. Sometimes it feels like every decision we make has the potential to destroy our entire career.

For instance, if you write a blog post and it has something in it that you know people will disagree with, you might hesitate before pushing the "publish" button. Or on twitter, you read someone commenting on something political. All you want to do is show them your support, but you also realize that some of your followers might read it and disagree. What to do? Keep silent? Will speaking up make everything blow up in my face? Or when you're writing a query and you've edited your hook more times than you've edited your book. The words are a jumbled mess in front of you, but you know if you don't get this right, you might never be published.

Any of those things sound familiar?

I've made mistakes. I do things wrong and so do other authors. I have regrets that my mind likes to torture me with on occasion. We all offend people sometimes, say things we wish we hadn't, write things that we later realize we could have made better. We disappoint people and lose readers.

But you know what? It's okay.

Because we're human and no matter what people tell you, one mistake won't destroy your career. It might cause damage or slow you down, but as long as you're willing to keep going and pick yourself up, then it will be okay.

During those down moments, if you give up, that's the only time when you can truly fail. Otherwise, opportunities to succeed will continue to open up for you. You just have to work hard and take risks.

Taking risks is scary. I've been terrified about getting my book out there and the risky things I've written about in it. There's quite a bit inside of it that has the potential to offend people.

Self-publishing, especially without querying first, means I have pretty much zero chance of ever publishing this traditionally. It means I'm taking a certain road with my career that I may regret later.

But should I sit here and be scared? Or should I take the plunge and learn from my mistakes?

Don't be scared to mess-up. Be scared of never trying.

40 comments:

Khaula Mazhar said...

Inspiring E.b. I hope I can get up enough confidence to do it myself. I just started a blog here, please come and visit ( and join) when you get the chance :) :http://khaulamazhar.blogspot.ca/

SC Author said...

This is so, so, wonderfully true. Sometimes you get scared that if you go through one door all the other doors shut behind you, and sometimes, that's true. The main thing is to get enough information and to be certain about your path. You have to be in it to win it, and can't haphazardly think you can retrace your steps.

It's full steam ahead :)

I love your posts :)

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Anonymous said...

I think authors get too worked up about this. I personally decide if I read one book by one author based on samle pages. If I like the story/writing I will buy the book. If I don't, I won't. I couldn't care less about the political opinions of an author. In fact, I couldn't care less if an author is a complete douchbag. If I like the book, I will buy it. The opposite is true as well. The author might be the nicest person in the world, and I might agree with all his/her views on life and politics and what else. If I don't find the book interesting, I will not buy it.

E.B. Black said...

Thank you for that post Anonymous. =) I agree that authors sometimes worry about this too much. Not that it's unimportant, but I kept hearing the words "it will destroy your career" being thrown around and it seemed rather extreme. Something that could make people freeze and be too afraid to put themselves out there. It makes *me* scared when I read that stuff, too, sometimes, but in the end, it's all about our writing!

Peacehart said...

Honestly I never thought too much about this. When I read a book, everything about the author is unknown to me, except for their name and whatever their bio is on the back page. Maybe in this day in age it has become a lot more likely to find out personal things about an author. But just because you become a public figure doesn't mean you have to forsake your own ideas and beliefs. There are sometimes you have to scale it back, especially if your beliefs can offend someone. But stating what your own beliefs are shouldn't be enough to alienate someone.

I'm considering writing a post about my political beliefs for the upcoming election. So I definitely hope it won't destroy my career! If people don't like me for it, oh well. Most of my friends on facebook see this stuff all the time lol.

E.B. Black said...

Whatever your political opinions are, peaceheart, will not bother me, even if they are completely opposite from my own, but there have been cases where people stopped following authors on their blogs, twitter, or facebook because they disagreed with their political or religious opinions. I've even heard of people hating authors so much for their opinions that they posted negative reviews on those people's books even though they never read them before.

It won't destroy your career in my opinion, but it could cause painful backlash.

Also, you sound a lot like my boyfriend. He says I'm a person and that my writing "persona" doesn't have to be devoid of opinions and feelings. It's hard to know the balance really, what to share and what things to keep to yourself.

T.J. said...

*standing ovation* well said :) I keep a lot of my personal beliefs out of my blog and on my personal FB...out of Twitter and author FB. But those that know me also know they can voice their beliefs and we can debate til the sun goes down and enjoy it :) I love diversity and other perceptions. I don't agree with some of my fav authors, but it doesn't stop me from buying their work either. Nobody is exactly the same, and I like it that way.

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