I think part of the reason I put off getting back into writing was because I was scared. I worried what people would think. Not so much whether or not it was any good, but the subject matter and the language. I gravitate toward the dark side, and my stories tend to show that in a big way. I pictured friends and family reading my work and thinking, ‘But he seemed so nice!’
Two things happened that helped me get over it and stop worrying. The first was something I read on author Chuck Palahniuk‘s awesome website, where he used to have a terrific section for writers (it has since moved here). I’m paraphrasing slightly, but it basically said: Don’t underestimate your readers. They’ve seen it all before, and they can handle whatever you can dish out, so don’t hold anything back.
That was incredibly reassuring, because I actually was considering toning down certain aspects of my novella. That got me to reconsider.
The second thing that happened was that a friend of mine passed away. Michael Louis Calvillo (or as I knew him, just Mike) was an author – not an aspiring writer like me, but an actual published author. He was incredibly proficient, and anyone who enjoys horror fiction should do themselves a favor and check out his work. I had already started writing again before he passed, and I had read some of his work. It was crazy. I mean that in the best possible way. In terms of imagination and creativity, it was light years ahead of what I was (and still am) doing. Off the charts.
When he died, I went on facebook to write a short post about him, and one of the things I wrote was, “he was never afraid to let his freak flag fly.” After I posted it, I thought about that. He was the nicest guy you could ever meet, and he wrote some of the weirdest, goriest, bat-shit crazy stuff I’ve ever read. Why? Because that’s just who he was.
And that’s when I decided it was time to write for me, no one else. I took all my insecurities, threw them in a pile, poured gas on them and lit them on fire. So whether a publisher gives me a deal or I have to go the self publishing route, if you read my work you can count on one thing: It’s going to be at least a little bit weird. Just like me.
7 thoughts on “F is for Freaks Letting Their Freak Flags Fly”
I’m too damn nit picky and that’s why I’ll never be a successful writer. Back to the edit thing, I go through with a fine tooth comb and edit over and over and over. I actually do have OCD, so to say that I can be obsessive with it is a bit of an understatement. 😉
I’d like to say that I no longer care about what other people think. Unfortunately, that’s not true. I’m the kind of person who can get a dozen compliments, but if the thirteenth person says something negative, I will fixate on that for literally weeks or months.
I’m sure if somebody gives my work a negative review, that will hurt. Everyone wants to be liked. But I was so worried people would think I was weird or had something wrong with me for thinking up such bizarre stories that I was holding myself back. I had to let that go.
I love this! I’m holding a dinner party with mystery guest invited by a mutual friend so I can pitch my book in preparation for a conference I am going to and when they find out that sweet little Margie is writing about zombies they are shocked. It took me awhile to come out of the writer’s closet too! Good for you!
I love it! Keep people guessing what you’re going to do next, that’s my plan of attack.
One man’s freak is another’s genius. We cannot be afraid to investigate our depth. i am glad you stepped into the arena and let yourself be…yourself.
It’s been liberating to say the least.