Tuesday, September 22, 2009

This Week: In Diana's Head

diana's head This Week: Fortitude (from

  • Main Entry: for·ti·tude
  • Function: noun
  • Etymology: Middle English, from Latin fortitudin-, fortitudo, from fortis

1 : strength of mind that enables a person to encounter danger or bear pain or adversity with courage


Bet you wouldn't think this would pertain writing today, would you? Well, in all honesty it does. Fortitude is something you either have and it grows, or it develops as you progress through your career. I can tell you this much, if you don't have any fortitude to deal with the ups and downs of this industry, find something else to do. It's that simple.

The highs and lows of writing are not like your nine-to-five style of job. Never will be. There will always be someone willing to tear you down. A reader, a reviewer, a fellow writer, a publisher, an editor, an agent. Whether directly or indirectly, it's the nature of the beast. This is one of the most competitive creative industries that I know of. Not competitive in the sense that you have to win a race, win a vote, bring in the largest haul. No, none of that.

When it comes to writing, you are putting your entire being on the line in the form of words. The same way songwriters create incredibily heart wrenching lyrics, writers create worlds of disbelief that we convince you ARE real. And this is where it gets dangerous. For as many people who want that world, who want the escape of any story, there are just as many who thrive on destroying it. They will find any hole available, that to you and likely two dozen other readers was either obvious enough to catch, or implied enough to make sense. There will always be that one person who thinks they are so smart for finding that error, when in truth, the fact was just delivered in a conceptual manner that they found foriegn so they didn't understand it. I'm not saying that this happens often or that readers are stupid. I AM saying that this will happen. And as the creator of any story, we have to accept that criticism.

Remember: You can NOT write for every person out there, for every reader you want to enamore with your wit. Write what feels right to you first. Write what you love, write what YOU would read, and love what you do. There will be days when you're the only one who does.


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