It doesn’t matter if you’ve published zero short stories or a hundred. It doesn’t matter if you’ve spent twenty years “working on a novel” or have published a dozen. It’s always the same thing: “Oh cool, you’re a writer.”
But that’s not actually want I wanted to talk about. It’s the Part 2 of that response I wanted to bring up. You know, the one where they follow up with:
“I always wanted to write a book, but…”
It doesn’t really matter what that “…” is, but it’s always there. I know for a long chunk of my life I fell into that category. My excuses for not writing fiction varied, but I think what held me back the most was just my own lack of confidence in my own work. I always felt I was a good enough writer to dabble with stuff online, but not write “for real”. I wrote a weekly column for a now-defunct pro-wrestling site for a couple of years in the early 2000’s and also ran a libertarian commentary blog for a while.
But fiction? It just seemed to hard. And even if I could do it well, I had no idea what to do with it. I didn’t want to devote precious free time to writing if it wasn’t going to get me anywhere.
The way I looked at it, for better or worse was “Why write, if you can’t publish?”
Well, due mostly to the information age, I found out that it’s not only possible to “do something” with fiction, but it’s actually not too difficult to get published, and even make a buck or two doing so. So finally in 2010, I hit the computer and wrote my first short story (not counting anything I did for a college creative writing class.)
I had no clue.
Actually, I shouldn’t say that; I just hadn’t found a style I was comfortable with. I also had no idea what to write about, so followed the old axiom: “write what you know.”
And, really, what do I know more about than alien abductions?
So that led to a little slice-of-life short story I called “Dreamer” tracing two disgruntled aliens as they prepared to abduct an unsuspecting human. (This story was eventually published at TheWiFiles under the title “Breeding Ground.” Give it a look.)
It was fun. It was also great to get over that fear that I wasn’t “good enough” or had no idea what to do with any fiction I managed to write and just finally give it a try.
So my whole point here is for you to do the same thing. If you’ve always wanted to write, stop holding yourself back and just do it.
I promise you won’t regret it. The only thing you’ll regret is putting it off.