If you want to be a writer, write. You may have to get a day job to keep body and soul together (I cheated, and got a writing job, or lots of them, to feed me and pay the rent). If you aren’t going to be a writer, then go and be something else. It’s not a god-given calling. There’s nothing holy or magic about it. It’s a craft that mostly involves a lot of work, most of it spent sitting making stuff up and writing it down, and trying to make what you have made up and written down somehow better. …
It does help, to be a writer, to have the sort of crazed ego that doesn’t allow for failure. The best reaction to a rejection slip is a sort of wild-eyed madness, an evil grin, and sitting yourself in front of the keyboard muttering “Okay, you bastards. Try rejecting this!” and then writing something so unbelievably brilliant that all other writers will disembowel themselves with their pens upon reading it, because there’s nothing left to write. Because the rejection slips will arrive. And, if the books are published, then you can pretty much guarantee that bad reviews will be as well. And you’ll need to learn how to shrug and keep going. Or you stop, and get a real job.” —Neil Gaiman: On Writing (via fortuneandglory)
I keep hearing and reading this sentiment. Everyone I know in person who’s gotten into Sherlock fandom at all has expressed some variation of it. I lurked for months because I felt the same way.
(I still do. Every time I post something to this fandom, I physically duck and cover for a second after hitting the Publish button just in case, I dunno, my computer explodes from the sheer amount of rejection that volleys back at me.)
Anyway, I read the “not good enough for this fandom” sentiment again this morning, and it reminded me of something that happened at WisCon last year. WisCon, for those who haven’t heard of it, is a Midwest feminist sci-fi convention. It’s a very critique-y con, where a typical panel goes, “Here’s a thing we love! Let’s pick apart where it succeeds and fails as a feminist text and learn from it as writers! Squee!” It’s a fantastic convention. But if you don’t have a PhD in space operas, it can be really intimidating sometimes.
Last year at WisCon, I attended a panel about Imposter Syndrome. The first half of the panel was panelists sharing their own thoughts and experiences about it, but for the second half, they said, “Please come up to the mic and share an experience where you felt inadequate. People listening, if you’ve ever felt that way, too, raise your hands.”