Years ago my mother gave me a blank book entitled “Some Incredibly Important Trivia”. I use it to record sayings that move me, whether funny or thought provoking, it doesn’t matter. My most recent entry is by Eleanor Roosevelt:
“Do what you feel in your heart to be right, for you’ll be criticized anyway.”
I’m often asked if what I’m writing is true. Did that happen to me? To someone I know? You can see the sparkle in their eyes as they anticipate some juicy gossip, or the fear that I might be writing about them. Yes, I’m inspired by life around me, maybe something I overheard or saw in passing made me think beyond the actual event and off into the land of what ifs, but I’m not writing anything specific. My life is not that exciting and I’m not so callous as to out a friend in such a public manner. I’ll leave that kind of reporting to The National Enquirer. So relax and set aside that race to judgment.
I can’t be concerned with what others might be thinking about my writing. I can’t question whether or not they will approve of how I choose to tell my story. If I were to put that kind of scrutiny on myself I’d never get anything written.
Nor can I be concerned about what people might be thinking about me based on my characters, or the genre I choose to write. There are people who actually think romance novels are trashy, a waste of time and money. I’ve been told I should write something literary, something great, something that will last for the ages. . .not something that “smacks of money”. That’s right, someone actually accused me once of writing for money, said by doing so I was selling out! (This was in reference to my poetry.) My obvious reply to this person was yes, I write for money. Of course I hope it will be great and stand the test of time; but yes, I also write with the goal of getting paid.
If your writing is a means to a higher purpose and getting paid holds no importance to you, then that’s what you should do. I can only do what feels right to me, be true to my own heart. It’s why I was disappointed when my first submission of “Mary Bishop” was quickly rejected as not suited to their current needs. It’s also why I turned around and sent it right back out to someone else. I will do this over and over until I find that perfect fit, that publisher who is as excited about my book as I am. As for those who choose to criticize me, I choose to ignore them.