The Huffington Post had an interesting piece this week on not letting pessimism get the best of you: An Open Letter to Fiction Writers by Yael Goldstein Love (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/yael-goldstein-love/an-open-letter-to-fiction-writers_b_1899842.html). It made the point that changes in the landscape of publishing, such as the advent of the e-book and the rise of reader networking sites, also mean more opportunities to reach readers in new and exciting ways. This is very true. There are all sorts of avenues to be explored if you are trying to connect with fellow readers and authors. You just have to be prepared to put the time and energy into it.
One site that I’ve been trying out recently is Authonomy, the online writing community developed by fiction editors at Harper Collins (http://authonomy.com/). It’s well worth checking out if you’re looking for a place to share your writing and maybe test the waters with work in progress. I’ve posted the first three chapters of a novel on there and have enjoyed having an opportunity to get some honest and genuinely helpful feedback from other writers from all round the world. I’ve also had the privilege of reading and commenting on the work of others, some of whom I’m sure will be future published authors. It really does hearten me to see how much talent is out there.
Another similar site is YouWriteOn: http://www.youwriteon.com/, and I’m sure there are plenty more out there.
It’s so easy to get sucked into pessimism, as the Open Letter in the Huffington Post points out. Will I ever get the story right? Will anyone ever even want to read it? Why am I sitting here typing away when I should be getting some sleep? Every writer has days (and night!) like that. But I’ve found that taking the chance to read and give positive criticism on the work of others is a great way to shake you out of that sort of inward-looking me, me, me state of mind. Anyway, as Stephen King said, “If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.” * That says it all for me.
So get reading!
* Check out some other Stephen King quotes on http://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/3389.Stephen_King. Also check out On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by the same author for some salutory advice (http://www.amazon.co.uk/On-Writing-A-Memoir-Craft/dp/0340820462).