Good morning! I’m delighted to be a guest here and hope to give you something to think about as you head back to your computer and your work in progress. Going through my email today I ran across a great blog by Nick Stephenson, whom some of you may know as a coach and teacher. I always read through anything he feels important enough to comment on, and I often come away with a new idea, a different perspective and sometimes even the possibility for a plot.
What I came away with today was two comments that hit home. I’ve been mulling over them; perhaps you will, too: 1) “If you’re not scared, you’re not trying hard enough.” And, 2) “You don’t have to be THE BEST.”
These gave me pause. The first, about being scared of doing the work I really want to do, reminded me of how many times I have found myself discarding an idea for a story, poem or even a novel because of what the ramifications might be if my (friend, mother, neighbor, son…) read it in print. I know the subject in question would be good work because I would be so invested in it. It’s my darling, it’s something so dear to my heart…etc. etc. But writing it would be scary. It’s not just that it’s perhaps controversial. It’s that bleeding it out would open me up to criticism, possibly even ridicule. Scary? You bet.
But…maybe I should rethink that. Maybe I haven’t been trying hard enough, reaching far enough. My romance and mystery novels, even my short stories, are, I’m convinced, adequate, maybe even more than adequate. But they don’t dig deep into that murky basement of things I know. Things that might resonate with a reader in a way a mystery or romance never could. Things that won’t likely see the light of publication.
Nick’s second comment about not needing to be the best also hit home. Maybe we don’t write some things because we’re fearful they won’t be good enough. Maybe we’ve worked hard on something that won’t make that top slot, that may just end up somewhere in the middle of the slush pile.
But isn’t that better than being nowhere at all? It’s not the best, maybe, but it’s not the worst, either, and it’s worth the time I spent in writing it. Whether an editor sees its worth, or whether a reader agrees with it, enjoys or hates it isn’t important. It is. It’s real. It’s there, for better or worse. And it’s mine, darn it. It may not be THE BEST, but it’s MY best. For now. And as I grow as a writer, and as a person, my best will grow, too.
Short bio: Nancy Sweetland has been writing since the age of 13 when she received her first rejection slip and determined to become a published writer. She’s the author of seven picture books, a chapter book mystery for young readers, many short stories for juveniles and adults, and three adult romances, “The Door to Love, “Wannabe,” and “The House on the Dunes. A third mystery/romance novel, “The Perfect Suspect,” will be published by Should Mate Publishing this spring. Other novels and short fictions are available on Amazon. com. She lives in Green Bay, Wisconsin, and loves to hear from readers. Contact her on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Blurb for “The House on the Dunes” (Divine Garden Publishing):
Surprised by inheriting spectacular emeralds and a lavish home on Lake Michigan, Olivia Hobart is compelled to uncover the secrets of her mother’s past. Ignoring her controlling husband’s wishes, she moves into Dunes House to learn what has been concealed. But her efforts are complicated by dangerous incidents and withheld information. Is the old caretaker really blameless or the possessor of long-held secrets? Is her handsome neighbor romantically interested in her or only attempting to gain access to what he sees as his rightful estate? Dunes House holds the answers…but will learning the truth bring to light an affair that could cost Olivia the only life she has ever known?
Blurb for “The Perfect Suspect” – coming out from Soul Mate Publishing this spring:
Twice divorced and wary about relationships, Jen Wright buys a cabin sight-unseen in far north Wisconsin to get away to write her elusive next novel. She doesn’t expect to find her first ex-husband (but with a reconstructed face) shot to death in the bedroom. She also doesn’t expect to be attracted to handsome Deputy Ross Tyler, recently rejected by his fiancé. Like Jen, he’s unwilling to risk his heart again. Is there a chance for a relationship? Do either of them want one? She’s the perfect suspect and the blustery Sheriff isn’t going to let her forget it. When the murder gun is found in her fan, he’s even more convinced of her guilt. The PI she hires to investigate is killed; his ever-present briefcase is missing. Jen’s sure it was no accident but can’t convince the law. She realizes she’s actually living a good plot for her new novel. Unfortunately, she may have to write it from jail.
Link to my website: