Guest Post by Ryan King, Author of the Land of Tomorrow Trilogy
It took most of my life to find the courage to finally write the stories that were in my head and my heart. Although they had always been there, as constant as the seasons, I kept them hidden away. Old friends these tales and characters had been and they often comforted me during dark times.
I don’t know when the idea of writing them down first came to me, but I do know I resisted this urge for a number of years. I was afraid of many things in those days, but I was most fearful of rejection. Not just of my ability to write, but of those faithful stories and characters. I never doubted that the stories were such that the world should know them, but that I was a poor vessel to carry them in. It turned out I was right and wrong.
The advice I’ve given several aspiring writers is to never doubt the story in their heart. Their ability to tell it is another thing entirely. Learning how to write well and capture the reader’s imagination and get them to experience the story is not something central to our being. It is a learned and practiced skill. Of course talent plays a part, but if you look at world-class painters, sculptors, musicians, composers…they all had talent. But they also worked and worked hard to get better.
Writing is art, especially fiction. The story you may have inside you can only be presented to the world through the person in whom it resides. If the writer chooses not to tell the tale, then that story is lost for all of eternity. That to me is a terrible tragedy. A poor tale told pathetically is infinitely better than a wonderful tale never told. If you are a writer, it is not what you do, it is who you are.
But there is one really big difference between writing and other forms of art. A person can instantly spot the value or have an impression of a painting or a statue or a song. They may like it or not, be entranced or bored, but they sense almost instantly one way or the other that whatever caught their attention is there. They may not be able to define it, but they know something is going on. Their impression of reality may have even changed without knowing it.
With fiction, this is not the case. Art it may be, but there is no instant response. Readers have to invest time and energy in order to decide how they feel about the art. In essence they have to believe in the artist before they have experienced the art. This is a difficult hurdle for many aspiring writers. I don’t believe it is fear of rejection that chokes writers’ tales, but the very real possibility that no one will ever hear them.
The way past this fear is to realize why you are writing. Other artists are artists even if others never see or buy their work or hear their beautiful music. They do it because it fulfills a creative imperative that is within them. That imperative will find a creative release or it will make the bearer miserable and unfulfilled. Writing has to be the same way.
I hope people read my books and stories and I hope they like them, but for my own health I need to write regardless. Art for art’s sake is a cliché, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t true. The stories must be told, even if no one ever hears them.
Ryan King launched his indie author career in 2012 while keeping his day job with the US Army. Watch for his upcoming guest spot here featuring monthly reviews of post-apocalyptic and/or dystopian fiction. For more information about Ryan and his writing visit the link here.