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Writing a First Novel: Don’t Give Up

A guest post by Miranda Atchley.

I would say one of the hardest things about being an author is dealing with insecurity.

When I was writing my first novel, I only told a very few people that were really close to me that I was actually writing a book with plans to publish it. Most of these people had known me all my life and knew it was my dream to become an author. I didn’t tell anyone else because I wasn’t sure when I would get my story published and I wanted to wait until it was a done deal so I could tell others for sure when they’d be able to read it. So, even though I really wanted to tell people, I waited until the day the FedEx guy brought my books to me. But that entire time I was worried. I couldn’t help but think I wasn’t good enough and no one would like my stories and they would laugh at me. Every time I worked on Stephanie’s Story, thoughts like that would plague me. And I’m pretty sure it’s that way for every author, especially while writing their first book.

But I think everyone, even those that have no interest in writing, feel that way about something, especially when they’re new at whatever it is they’re doing. And if anyone tells you that they don’t worry about being made fun of or never feel unsure of themselves at some point in time, then don’t believe them. Run away from these people and never look back. I am positive that they are lying. It’s only human nature to feel insecure about yourself.

But you know what? You can’t let it hold you back. If you dream day and night of becoming an author (or a musician, artist, photographer, hairdresser, dressmaker, teacher, nurse, etc.), go for it. Don’t let the voices in your head or the voices of others hold you back from doing what you love. It isn’t worth it.

I have had people that I’ve looked up to for years tell me that being an author is dumb and no one cares about it. And that hurt, a lot. And I really don’t like those people (I need to work on that, though). But you know what? They can’t make me stop writing. They can’t keep me from publishing books. Calling me dumb and saying writing is stupid because there are “too many other authors out there” is simply someone’s stupid opinion. And opinions are just that; opinions. They aren’t facts.

I’ve also gotten lukewarm reactions. It’s as though some people think you just woke up one day and decided to publish a book; like it doesn’t mean anything. Yet we know the truth, that this has been our dream for years and this what we’re meant to do. And really, that’s all that matters. But for as many people who act like this whole writing gig is totally bogus, God sends those people who really believe in me. Who tell me they love my stories, who are proud of me and can’t wait to read the next book. And that makes it all worthwhile.

As for wondering if you’re good enough…. I’d just say look at the garbage that sits on bookshelves these days. If some of these books can sell as well as they do, then I see no reason why you and I can’t get on the bestsellers list.

So my point is that you should never ever give up, no matter how insecure you feel at times. Humanity just may depend upon your talent. 😉

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Miranda Atchley

Miranda Atchley is the author of three young adult novels, Stephanie’s Story, A New Season, and Misfit Like Me. She began writing in her early teens and published her first book at the age of 19. Writing is her favorite thing to do and when she isn’t doing that, she enjoys reading and taking walks. She resides in Waldron, Arkansas.

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