Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Judith Graves Guest Post: "My Worst Fear as an Author"

Today I’m delighted to host my fellow 2k10 author Judith Graves, whose second novel, SECOND SKIN, is just out! Judith and I are swapping guest posts this week, and I love her take on fear. Being out there as an author is a brave move in an often hostile world...and Judith puts the perfect words to that edgy feeling.

Being an artist, in any form, is a tricky thing. You work relentlessly to hone your craft, dodge out of social events due to deadlines or a work-in-progress that refuses to cut you some slack, wake up in the middle of the night to jot down ideas/sketches/tunes, and then your work is unleashed on the world.

A sometimes harsh, cruel world.

Suddenly what existed only in the safety of your imagination is being interpreted by others, talked up or torn down, celebrated or mocked. You are no longer in control. For a creator, that’s one hell of a scary concept.

You may be tempted to clarify misconceptions, or engage critics – to defend your baby…but that way leads madness. From an author’s perspective, we don’t know the personal biases, agendas, or histories that our readers will bring to the table when they begin at chapter one. Reading is a give and take – the author gives, and the reader takes out of the work what they are willing to see at that point in their lives.

Which may be far from the author’s original intent.

Art is subjective. Sometimes I enjoy listening to grunge tunes from the 90s and other days I skip over those songs in favour of something completely different. My likes and dislikes vary with my mood, what’s happening that day, how I’m feeling physically.

I’ll say it again. Art. Is. Subjective.

A negative review shouldn’t prevent an author from continuing to write. I personally can’t stand slasher flicks like Saw or Hostel, but there are tons of fans of the genre out there. They’re not wrong. I’m not right.

We just have different preferences.

Artists put themselves in the line of fire, invest themselves in their work and then share it with whoever may take the time to stop and ponder the implications. Fear of rejection goes with the territory. So does a thick, leathery hide.

But sometimes, the feedback is good – great – beyond our dreams. Our voices are heard, joined by a chorus, and resound. Those moments keep us plugging away. They push back the fear and feed our souls.

The only thing to fear is…ourselves. We alone can continue our quest to create, to share, and express ourselves in whatever medium we gravitate toward. And so we might miss out on the occasional movie night, or lose an entire weekend writing about other worlds, because it’s what we do. It’s who we are.

Because being an artist is a scary, tricky, wonderful, magical thing.

The collection SPIRITED is just out as well....proceeds from the purchase of SPIRITED go to 826 National (a literacy charity) and it features the intro story to Judith’s new steampunk series (can’t wait!), STRANGEWAYS:

And you can find out more about Judith at her website,


mima said...

Thanks for sharing, Judith, and reminding this writer about all that subjectivity:)

Janet Fox said...

Thanks, Mima!

Judith Graves said...

Hi Mima - thanks for commenting. Yeah....subjective...word of year, perhaps lifetime. ;)

Thanks for having me Janet!

donnas said...

Great post! And so many things can be applied to other careers and jobs as well. Thanks for sharing!!

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