By Rachel Linden
As an author I am choosing to be every day brave.
What does that mean, you ask? In essence, it means choosing courage in the face of challenge. Believing that on the other side of fear is something better. It means embracing bravery as a mantra, a habit, a way of life, embracing it every single day.
We authors need tremendous courage, grit and determination in order to succeed, to write the books we hold in our hearts, and to forge a career path for ourselves. Here are 3 important ways we can choose to be every day brave.
1. Take risks
Five years ago, I took a giant, nerve-wracking step toward my lifelong dream of being a published novelist and sent query letters to a dozen renowned literary agents in the US, asking them to consider representing my debut novel. I said a prayer, squared my shoulders, and waited for their replies. I received eleven rejections, which I was expecting, but one beautiful response was a yes!
Since that first yes, I have experienced a few dozen marvelous open doors, acts of grace, and sheer miracles on the road to my dream career as a published author, but I have also faced many more rejections, disappointments and challenges. With each setback I have a choice. Will I buckle in the face of struggle and opposition? Or will I choose to risk rejection and disappointment for the promise and potential of success? Every day I choose to pursue the yes! What about you? What would taking a risk look like for you? Is anything holding you back?
2. Let someone see your work
It’s lovely to craft a story in privacy, nurturing it, pruning and shaping it. However, at some point, we have to let another pair of eyes (or two or three) see the words we’ve been so painstakingly written. It can feel so vulnerable to allow others to see the work of our hearts. They might have criticism. They might not like it! We have to do it anyway. Constructive criticism is a powerful tool to help improve our craft.
My husband is my most trusted critic. He reads every story first and then I send it to 3 or 4 trusted literary friends. These ladies are my beta readers, and their encouragement and criticism helps strengthen every book I write. Who are your beta readers? Who can help you craft a better story?
3. Make connections
Writing is often a solitary task, which is why it is vital that we writers seek out a community of peers and mentors to support us! We can’t write our best work in a vacuum. We need empathy, commiseration, ideas and input from others. Writing groups or a writing mentor, online writers’ forums, and local or national writing conferences are all great ways to connect with other writers. It can be hard work to build relationships and foster a strong community, but it is essential for success as a writer! Ask yourself, who is in your writing community? What connections do you need to strengthen?
So there you go. Three practical and important ways we authors can be every day brave. What does every day brave mean to you? How are you choosing to be every day brave today?
Rachel Linden is a novelist and international aid worker whose adventures living and traveling in fifty countries around the world provide excellent grist for her stories. She holds an MA in Intercultural Studies from Wheaton College and a BA in Literature from Huntington University. Linden also studied creative writing at Oxford University during college. Currently, Rachel lives in beautiful Seattle, WA with her husband and two young children. She enjoys creating stories about hope and courage with a hint of romance and a touch of whimsy. Her first book, Ascension of Larks, released in 2017. Becoming the Talbot Sisters (May 2018) is her second release. Find Rachel Linden online at www.rachellinden.com, on Facebook (authorrachellinden) and on Instagram (rachellinden_writer).