I’ve had various jobs over the years in academia and in business. I’ve never been especially “fragile.” I’ve always been confident about my skills and what I bring to the table.
But throw that out the window the instant you take up something creative, such as fiction writing. No matter what you’ve done before, what degrees you have, and what you may have accomplished in other life realms, suddenly you’re returned to about age 14. Others’ approval matters to you a lot more.
I sent my uncle (the long-published novelist) in the U.S. a chapter from Frontiers. He read it and in an email to me yesterday shared cautious initial praise. Naturally, the likes of this is a confidence booster as I go forward:
I enjoyed this the dialogue is good, thought out and well done. I am one that does happen to use a bit more course language, well that means nothing. U choose your characters then put them on a stage you are familiar with come up with a crisis of some kind and go;. I do expect from you the wonderful way you describe towns and villages I have never seen and sadly most probably wont see. The way you describe characters is interesting. Listen this is in the third person you are God you know all the characters, all their dreams their thoughts and expectations. You, the author, can let us in, we the readers, on all their introspection’s nice and clear ones and the dark ones as well. A powerful voice the omnipresent narrator you…the author must have that clear and compelling voice, I can see you do. Now I want to see a bit more of this looking forward to your appearance so I will read more. It is difficult for me nowadays I need new glasses, I’ve had cataract surgery that went well in one eye but not the other as of yet. And, of course, I have close to forty Hemingway’s in two classes that I am forced to read. All that said I am looking forward to reading your work nephew I will go tot link and give it a look.
I’ve said before, I am very proud of you, you have lived a very interesting life and it makes all the sense in the world that you should share the things you believe and you know and what you have seen. Go for it..you have already gone for it..just keep going.
His reference to “forty Hemingways” is to how he teaches creative writing part-time. That comment made me laugh. You may recall he had made another “Hemingway” reference to me previously.
He’s not the type to equivocate. If he doesn’t like what he has read, he says so – politely. And he has had his own worries about his own talent for as long as I can remember.
So if you’re new at fiction writing and find yourself beset by a sense of insecurity and doubt, understand every writer has those feelings. Just keep going. You are definitely not alone.
As you’ve likely noticed above also, he types emails rather, uh…. casually. 😉
Time to get on with another day. Have a good Wednesday, wherever you are in the world. 🙂