Lessons from an Angry Man on Facebook

This week has been one of the most productive so far in plot development for my book, The Tin Man. On my second draft I have unearthed a romantic subplot, two new potential chapters, one amazing line, and a separate plot point big enough to unveil a sequel. So, after unearthing these points, what did I do?

I did laundry, I purged my clothes, I went out to lunch with my mom, and I watched three hours worth of Markiplier videos. As per usual, right?

Even now, I'm writing a blog post while the throes of my unfinished manuscript lay minimized on my desktop. It makes me wonder why, as authors/writers, we procrastinate so much. When pressed with this issue I always ask myself "don't you want it?", "don't you love it?", and "isn't this your dream?", and it makes me truly contemplate these questions. I do love it, I do want it, and this is my dream. So why aren't I grabbing every available second to pour my soul into something that I love so much? Obviously, not every author is procrastinating this way. After all, there are tons of people who have books in the double digits, tons of people who never ever stop.

Today I was scrolling through one of my bigger Facebook writing groups and encountered a man who had managed to self publish fifteen full length novels without the use of an editor, or basic grammar skills. He was very interested in letting me know in the most uniquely humble way possible that he has written the best dark noir fiction novel since George Orwell. He made it explicitly clear that he obviously knows better... or, in his words "no better". I asked myself, how is it that this guy cranks out a book a year, and I can't even manage to get through my current chapter. I mean, I'm no JK Rowling, Neil Gaiman, or Steven King, but I'm no "AngryFacebookAuthor1969" either.

And then it hit me.

AngryFacebookAuthor can put out so many books because there's no fear of inadequacy holding him back. If there is it's hidden pretty well. I constantly find myself asking "what if it's horrible", "what if it only gets bad reviews", and "what if nobody likes it and I'm a laughing stock"? While I probably shouldn't take the AngryFacebookAuthor approach and blame all of my bad reviews on 'snowflakes' and 'ppl who don't no good books', I should find a healthy medium between his attitude and mine. After all, I started writing because it's what makes me happy.

So that's what I'm going to do.

I'm going to write, and I'm going to worry about how it makes me feel. Not the quality, not the content, nothing else. I'm going to crank away chapter after chapter, laughing at my own jokes, and crying at my own characters. And if I look like a moron while doing it, so be it. My characters are most vibrant when I feel the most vibrant, and I can't let that go.

I can't lose track of craft either. I still need to produce a quality product, but that's not going to happen if a fear of failing holds me back. Something is better than nothing. You can always learn from your mistakes, but you have to make them first. I need to let go of the fear that I will make mistakes, because mistakes are nothing to be afraid of. I will make mistakes and I can learn. I need to remember that no matter what, I won't write the worst book in history.

And if I do, maybe they'll at least make a movie out of my efforts. James Franco can pass as me, right?

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