by Cátia Isabel Silva
Often enough, when I say someone I’m a writer, people just look at me funny. Well, that’s when they are polite… otherwise, they’ll just say something to the tune of “Everyone is a writer nowadays.”, and, if I might ass, when someone says something like that, please, don’t argue, it’s pointless.
So, clearly there are many people who don’t value our work, but the question in the title is about more than that. Are there too many writers? Are there too many books? And, what does that means? Should we stop writing? Should we give up? Are we destined to failure?
If you like to read, you probably already saw how many of these little pieces of art and creativity are exposed in any bookstore. Each of them represents a person, just like me or you, trying to tell their tale and catch the audience’s attention. But again… If there are too many writers, are there too many mechanics? Or teachers? Plumbers? Any other profession, for that matter?
A book is something, especially one of fiction, that people use or resort to in their free time, to escape reality and expand their mind, but there are also TV shows and movies that compete for that privilege. Have you ever listened to someone say that there are way too many movies? So, yes, the competition is indeed hard, but you can fight back.
Should I even try?
When you’re writing a story, you’re competing with thousands of other stories, with books, movies, TV shows, comics… There are so many things out there and so many people creating them, so much talent you have to face, that sometimes it does seem impossible to do it.
Let’s face it: it’s really really hard. So, first off, you’ll need to ask yourself: what if…? What if it’s so hard that it isn’t worth it? What if it isn’t my one true calling? What if I can’t handle the fight? What if everything falls apart and I don’t have a plan B?
My advice would be to have a plan B. And then ask yourself all these questions. No matter the actual answers to them, what really matters is if you think it might still be worth it, then you must go through it.
What can I do to detach myself?
Obviously, there are trending themes that are helpful in order to catch the audience’s attention, but, sometimes this isn’t really the right way to go. Actually, it’s pretty important to write about something you really enjoy. It will be a better work, filled with passion and the people who will read your work, will be able to feel it.
Explore your fears and your strengths. For your first book, it could be pretty interesting for you to create a character in the story that is pretty much like yourself. No matter how good or bad the story turns out to be, you’ll gain from it, getting to know yourself better.
Another important point is the originality. No, I’m not telling you that your plot needs to be unique, you can pick up a common basis and write it in a way that makes it interesting and different. Just find a good conflict and explore it, focus on making your characters feel real and alive and the readers will be interested.
And, last but not least: trust yourself, keep writing, even in bad moments, eventually you’ll get there.
Guest post contributed by by Cátia Isabel Silva. Catia is a Portugal native who works in the school system. In 2010, she wrote New World as her debut novel.