Fan fiction is what got me thinking about them - the naysayers.
It was my niece who introduced me to the world of fan fiction. I love finding new writing worlds and while not new, this was new to me. From the genre to the lingo, I was out of my comfort zone and loving every minute.
Now why was I there. Okay, now I get to do the bragging auntie thing. But my very cool niece has turned out to be a bit of a writer. Not that I hadn't known of her attempts before but this is the first time she's come clean and gone public. So I checked out her profile and read her four stories. The kid has voice - impressed!
But more impressed with the fact that she'd braved public censor. She took her four stories and put them out to the world and was thrilled about getting reviews. Even the one that mentioned that maybe there might be a little too much dialogue in story one. Now I know most authors would be muttering under their breath that maybe that reviewer had no idea what they were talking about. They more than likely would not be jumping in delight that someone had taken the time to read their story at all. I know I wouldn't. But that's what I heard - wow - I have a review. Or, as I interpreted it - someone took the time to read my story!
Seems when we get immersed in the world of writing we forget the joy in sharing our stories. We forget, published or not, that they're not perfect and that some will like them, some will love them and some will be indifferent or plain hate what we wrote. And sometimes, when the stories aren't going out there like we want them to, when the reception falls flat, we start painting things more black than they really are. That's when you start considering hurling stones back at all and sundry that have given their no in one form or another. Small stones really - maybe only a pebble or two, enough for bruising or a small ouch.
Naysayers - whether it's that relative that can't believe anyone would believe that writing is anything more than a hobby, to the newspaper editor that ignored your last press release or the publisher that rejected your latest story, they're all balled up in that black cocoon that we'll call the naysayers.
Screw the naysayers! They're only there for one reason and one reason only. To make you a better writer! You'll learn from them. But first you have to learn to bounce. That's why you're buckled in for this trip. There's a lot of bouncing through the ruts and curves the naysayers create. You've got to hunker down, write until your fingers bleed and surround yourself with people who believe the dream as much as you do. Then, become just a little hard of hearing.
And when you finally hit your version of success, make sure you thank a naysayer or two. For without them - really, would you have made it?