When we decide to become a writer we secretly believe it is a matter of time before we are regarded as a literary genius.
It is such an awkward moment for a writer when they finally accept they are NOT a literary genius and are just an average writer.
You enter the writing world secretly convinced you are a literary genius. In your head once your first book is written it will be a literary game changer. All the other famous best-selling authors can step aside because you are coming through! You have been threatening to write a best seller for years and now its time for you to show family and friends that you can hit the best seller charts. Off you happily skip over to your laptop with your head full of Booker Prize nominations, book signing queues and that expensive country farmhouse you have had your eye on.
You start writing some stuff. When you read it back to yourself it moves you to tears. It is pure literary gold. You have done the unthinkable, you have entered the literary world with no previous writing experience, no writing related weaknesses or faults and your writing is world-class. You were right about yourself – you are a literary genius! Once you have typed out a few pages you then present it to a loved one or you stick it on your blog saying to yourself ,’they are not going to know what’s hit them!’
The non-existent to lukewarm reaction to your work is not what you were expecting. Your loved one glanced at your writing, put it to one side and carried on watching the sport on TV. Your blog post only received a handful of views and some comments about watching your grammar. You ignore them all. Huh – what do they know? There is nothing wrong with your grammar.
You carry on believing that you are a literary genius. Sigh!
Over time you start to struggle with the label that you have given yourself, the literary genius label. The world doesn’t seem to be falling over itself to read your work, it took you months to get past 15,000 words on your first novel, the writing feedback is suggesting that you have some areas of improvement, writer’s block is a weekly occurrence, you haven’t won any writing competitions run by publishing firms and even though you hate to admit it – you have read some amazing and earth shattering stuff written by other writers. This was not supposed to happen.
You start to get frustrated with yourself. Surely the world is missing something with your work?
This is when you decide to accept the fact that you are not a literary genius.
So, how do you survive accepting something major as this?
Tell your writer ego to step down. Listening to your ego has got you into this creative mess.
No one starts out as a literary genius. Writing is a craft and is something which needs to be worked at.
Writing is hard. It’s going to take time to build up your skills.
Being a literary genius implies you will have overnight success.
This is a great article, titled, ‘On the road over overnight success,’ from one of my favourite authors, Victoria (V.E.) Schwab.
These days I see my name paired more and more with the words “overnight success”, and I’ve heard that the average overnight success takes 10 years. It’s taken me 9, so if that means I’m ahead of the curve, so be it.
No one enters this writing world as a literary genius.
You need to stop listening to your ego and learn your craft.
‘This is how you do it: you sit down at the keyboard and you put one word after another until its done. It’s that easy, and that hard.
― Neil Gaiman
‘Read, read, read. Read everything — trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master. Read! You’ll absorb it. Then write. If it’s good, you’ll find out. If it’s not, throw it out of the window.’
― William Faulkner
Have a great day.