Creative Courage.

“I’m sure that writing isn’t a craft, that is, something for which you learn the skills and go on turning out. It must come from some deep impulse, deep inspiration. That can’t be taught … “

Robert Lowell

What gives us the power to create? Do we need courage to create? What is creative courage?

I’m offering the posit that it takes two kinds of courage to write: creative courage, and the courage to face large amounts of resistance and rejection.

I used to hear it, and wave it off, naively: no one cares about the work you’re doing; not in general, and not out in the world. Radiating the loudest silence ever from where it reclines longhand in a notebook, or dormant on your laptop, the world doesn’t care about your work.

At least, not yet.  

Sure, your significant other cares (or should), your mom, dad, sister, brother … of course these people care, but I’m talking about the world at large; the place where creativity meets business, and the more important bottom line.

THAT’s the courage I’m talking about  — and then, to write and rhyme, anyway. That’s courage.

The possibility of not being good enough, making no money, getting no recognition, no audience, the rejection letters piling up so that you’re left doubting, for a moment, whether your dream of being a writer is anything more than a nightmare, mislabeled — and then, even then, CREATING. Creating anyway.    

I think about all these things as I finish building my website and blog page, working on getting everything straightened and dusted and ready for scrutiny. These addresses will be added to the contact information on my query letters, so that I may appear most professional and most serious about my writing career. (This, as advised by a “cutiepatootie” young agent on his wonderful agent blog.)

And, this agency will actually get back to you with a rejection letter, instead of the trend of some literary agencies to offer their silence as rejection.

This time, I promise myself, (which is akin to promising not to eat chocolate, but what the hell), that no matter how juicy the name and how awesome the “client” daydream, I will not query agencies with the policy of not replying as a form of rejection.

I will not query agencies with the policy of not replying as a form of rejection. I will not query agencies with the policy of not replying as a form of rejection. I will not …

I look around, as if I just uttered a demon’s name aloud — did I really say that? Something about agents, ANY agent, and out loud, and publically? Especially when I’m searching for an agent, myself?

In my defense, someone had to say something. Writers deserve at least that much respect.


5 Responses

  1. This is great preparation for any writer! Also, try not to fear rejection or convince yourself that your stuff isn’t good enough. Just write. Do what you love. And let others decide. Stop trying to control everything and just let go.

    Advice given me recently by many others. Advice I still have to learn to accept fully. Just let go. Just write.

  2. Great advice Steph, and very true.

    Also, which happens for me, (just like that Marianne Williamson quote) a writer can also be afraid of success, even as strange as that sounds.

    Sometimes I wonder which I’m afraid of more — never making it, or actually making it.

    Em (hope your Monday is *awesome* : )

  3. Postscript — rejections aren’t so bad when you make sure to expect them — all writers gets rejections. What does irk me in the submission process, as I wrote in the blog entry above, are the agencies who don’t reply back at all as a form of rejection. I just think that crosses the line.

    The first time I saw that sort of thing in the submission guidelines, I was very surprised — I had to read it twice.


  4. This website hoster really works well for you. Now I can listen to your voice any time I want.

  5. : ) Thanks, Harlan.

    I loooooove blogging. Very cool. And you know me — I always have *something* to say, lol. I’m also having fun decorating the site and writing up new articles. Just very cool, all around, the blogging world. I also love reading other peoples’ blogs.

    I have to figure out how to add your site to my blogroll.


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