Today’s guest blogger, Andrew Hiller, is a reporter, radio host, editor, producer, playwright, and novelist. I had the pleasure of working with him on his urban fantasy novel, A Halo of Mushrooms, which will publish on December 1 and is now available for preorder. Read a preview here.
If you’re a writer, you know the self-doubt connected with publishing a book. (Now imagine seeing your words brought to life on the stage in front of a live audience—oh my!)
That self-doubt can keep even the best writers from sending their work out into the world, but Andrew has some advice for anyone who fears they aren’t good enough:
Long before the curtain rose, I felt the jitters begin. The stage remained dark, the chairs empty, and the carpet felt hard. I arrived four hours early. I needed to experience every moment of this first night . . . my first play on Broadway (okay, 78th and Broadway)!
Can you imagine it? First, the custodial staff came in and I worried about them . . . if my play flops, what happens to them? Then, the stage crew arrived, and I felt my hands shake. I knew each by name. We worked together. They quizzed me. They dreamed with me. I saw the director and producer arrive. They smiled. I think I manage one. Then, it was the actors’ turn, and some of them looked nervous while others exuded excitement. By the time the audience arrived, I was a mess.
Then the lights went down, and somehow within the first minute, someone laughed. A big, boisterous, honest guffaw emerged from within the audience.
I was all right. I breathed again.
More joined in on another laugh line, and I watched them and watched my world live. Better, somewhere in Act One, I heard a sigh . . . that person was living in my world the way I have done so many times as a reader or audience member.
It’s a crazy, wonderful, impossible feeling. I’ve been lucky enough to experience it several times. When my first NPR commentary aired, I remember getting in a car with my mom and waiting for it. You need to hear radio in the car. Then, there was that time I strolled through the Smithsonian and heard people quoting me. The work I worried would simply disappear into the ether after I created it had resonance.
As you write or decide if you should write, remember these moments. When deadlines press, ideas stall, and you wonder why you put pen to paper or fingers to a keyboard, live the laughs and sighs again. Recall that first time you read to the class and they got real quiet. Remember when a passage or line you just wrote produced goose bumps up and down your arms. Remember what it was like the first time you saw your name in print.
The hardest part of writing is not the empty canvas, the rejections, or the endless edits. It isn’t the editors who question or force their thumbprints onto your work. It’s not the publisher who demands your baby gets plastic surgery. The hardest part is the duel you fight with yourself.
So, remember those sparks. Trust that the fire is never banked, and create. The world needs your voice. If it didn’t, you wouldn’t hear those whispers in your head. Ideas need to be shared. When they are not, the world becomes lonelier. That’s the last thing we need.The world needs your voice. #amwriting #writers #writetip #selfdoubt Click To Tweet
Andrew Hiller is the author of A Halo of Mushrooms, soon available at Amazon http://www.amazon.com/dp/B01740ZELI. Read a preview here. To learn more about Andrew, visit his website www.andrewhiller.net. You can also hear him in a radio interview at 10:15 am EST November 18 on the WGVU Morning Show.
A Goodreads reviewer wrote, “Most fantasy makes us want to close out eyes so we can see with our mind’s eye the world the author presents to us. A few allow us to imagine sounds so loud they block out reality or quiet that beckons the reader to wish anything would fill it. Andrew Hiller in A Halo of Mushrooms presents us with a mouth watering fantasy story of wonder about the power of another of our five sense, taste. The only other fiction I’ve read of comparable appeal to taste was Like Water for Chocolate.”
Candace Johnson is a professional freelance editor, proofreader, writer, ghostwriter, and writing coach who has worked with traditional publishers, self-published authors, and independent book packagers on nonfiction subjects ranging from memoirs to alternative medical treatments to self-help, and on fiction ranging from romance to paranormal. As an editorial specialist, Candace is passionate about offering her clients the opportunity to take their work to the next level. She believes in maintaining an author’s unique voice while helping him or her create and polish every sentence to make it the best it can be. Learn more here.