Authors Are Humans, Too
The generally held opinion about authors is that we are born with some measure of genius surging through our veins. Somehow we managed to glean more intelligence, more creativity, more artistry than the average person. That formidable task called Writing a Book is kept on holy ground, and only the most fortunate of them are allowed to tread along its shores. And once you have written a book, your talent is doubled. Trivial diseases such as writer's block strike the unexperienced: whenever a true author sits down, golden words flow from his pen. He never lacks inspiration — why, it's practically served to him on a silver platter — and the whole word is straining to read his books the minute they hit the shelves. In a matter of minutes, this human being with a penchant for ink has turned into a demigod.
Let me tell you something, readers: that's simply not true.
To be sure, I'm not exactly the dictionary definition of average. I prefer tea to coffee, pens and notebooks to company, I don't own an iPhone, and I'm not a huge fan of shopping malls. But when people at my tutorial think I (and all authors in general, for that matter) am perfect, I can't help but laugh hysterically. You should see me on the days when I stay up too late watching The Young Victoria and can barely drag myself out of bed. In those circumstances, my mind is consumed with the adorableness of Albert and Victoria, and whether or not I should have some toast with my breakfast. I certainly won't be offering up doses of authorly wisdom at the breakfast table, I assure you.
The average person enjoys the excuse that authors are more than human because it relieves him of any responsibility. If a writer possesses talent far beyond that of a typical human being, there's no hope for the rest of us. Writers are experts — that's why they craft stories so brilliantly. They were born to write literature that takes its reader's breath away, and the rest of us just weren't. Therefore, we can't possibly be expected to produce such wonderful, poetic stories.
The truth is, budding writers are fearful. I say this with such certainty because I was once — and in many ways, still am — a new writer. We are scared to death of being compared to the greats and being found lacking. We worry we won't gain much interest or exposure. And our worst nightmare is being the author of that one book that sits in the library and collects dust while readers wait months just to get their hands on the latest bestseller.
What I had to learn over these past several years is that what I write is not going to be error-free. And that's all right. It will take many years for my writing to reach the height at which I want it to be; I may never attain it. But I still keep writing. Because, at the heart of it, I don't write because I want to be featured on talk shows and become fabulously wealthy (though I certainly wouldn't mind that). I write because I love it. I love the smell of ink. I love meeting characters that become my new best friends. I love the icy rush that crashes over me when I've written something that feels wonderful. And I'm certainly not perfect. I procrastinate way more than I should (right now, I really need to be folding those delicates). I write chapters that horrify me a few days later. It's all a part of the writing process.
Unfortunately, you can't possibly know this unless you actually start writing. Tie a weight around your fear and toss it into the sea (let's just hope there aren't any smugglers nearby to rescue it). Sharpen your pencils, shut down the Internet, and don your scribbling suit. Your writing will not be perfect at the start, but it will improve with time. And most important of all, it will be yours.
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Elizabeth Rose is a follower of the Most High who seeks to live every day of her life in accordance with 1 Corinthians 10:31. She loves all sorts of books (the thicker the better), is convinced that Irish Breakfast tea is the closest thing this world will get to heaven, dances until her feet ache, stays up until all hours writing, wears pearls at every opportunity, and obsesses over Les Misérables and The Scarlet Pimpernel. In May 2012, she self-published her first book, Violets Are Blue. You can find her on Literary Lane, most likely with The Count of Monte Cristo in hand, and ink on her fingers.