Sitting at the Olive Garden Restaurant the person in front of me looked straight at me and said I should send my work to a real editor. “You might be told that your work sucks”. A frequent visitor to my blog, she felt blogging didn’t make me a writer and my “followers” and visitors comments were no evidence that my writing was any good.
The comment came unsolicited. I was not looking to publish. I didn’t consider myself a good or bad writer, I simply enjoyed writing, posted essays often and thought of myself as a writer.
I looked at her and smiled while picking at my salad, dumbfounded, unable to find any words to say. The remark was not only unsolicited, it was shocking and demoralizing.
After a while, persuaded by the encouragement of a professional writer, I did send my work to an editor. Hesitant at first, I submitted my essays to a private company on the opposite side of the country.
The initial quote doubled when the editor learned English was my second language. Months later when the editing was completed, the bill arrived. To my astonishment it was far lower than what it had initially been quoted. As explanation to the low bill the editor added a comment praising my work.
The work submitted for editing turned into my first self-published book. Although I fell short on marketing, the book was met with good reviews. I was subsequently asked to collaborate on two projects led by another author and recently I was approached by a newspaper to write a weekly column. Wanting to keep some time for my own writing, I declined weekly and settled for a three-week rotation. The experience has been fulfilling.
The remark made during lunch that time could have dented my self-confidence. In fact, it did. Had it not been for the reinforcement of a writer I respected who liked my work and encouraged me to continue, I would have missed the experience of holding my own book in my hands…
It has taken a while to embrace the simple fact that I write because I can and whether a person likes it, thinks it sucks, or is indifferent doesn’t change the fact that I am a writer, and that’s all that matters.
“I carried on and kept running, realizing just then that sometimes the toughest part about achieving something and succeeding is realizing that maybe not everyone is going to be happy for you. But, you must remain positive and remain driven. Leave the negative people to the cold frustration of complaint. They inhabit a lonely world best left to themselves.” – David McGillivray Motivational Speaker.