Over the past few months I have spent a lot of time pondering my future as a writer. Although I published my first book this year and am slowly setting the stage for my future works, I can’t help but question every move I make. Confidence in yourself when you embark on your independent publishing journey can seem almost nonexistent. There is a lot already going against you in the self-publishing game, and finding a voice in an already ridiculously crowded market place is beyond overwhelming. As I slowly continue building, the main question that I have is this: “How do I remain true to my vision?”
When I started out I knew that I wanted to be independent. I also knew that I wanted to my works to be unfiltered, honest, and inspiring. However, in the recent months I have found myself more and more concerned about what other people have to say about my work and that has hindered me going forward. Most of the complaints are because of the language that is used in my writing and some have even directly questioned my faith. They ask, “If you want to inspire, why not write clean books, why write such a filthy book?” The comments and questions left me questioning my whole approach. Maybe I shouldn’t use harsh language. Maybe I shouldn’t talk about difficult topics. But after sitting down at my computer one day struggling to find the words, I realized that as I stripped my writing of its directness, its honesty, I was in turn eliminating its very essence, the part that made it interesting and unique.
If life has taught me anything it is this, if people don’t understand you they will try to make you into something that they do understand. This can be done by placing ridiculous demands and expectations on you or changing their perception of you all together. When this type of pressure is coming at you from all sides, your confidence shrivels and it is hard to stay true to your vision. It is hard stand your ground and fight for your creative freedoms, but it can be done. I would not say that it is easy to stand up for your vision because it would be much easier to conform, but we would never progress in life if we just followed the crowd. As creatives, it is important to go against the grain when it comes to our work. It is important for us to express ourselves and to keep our work authentic, uninfluenced by those that would have us suppress our originality and our truth to appease them.
As you continue to write and create great works remember that your voice is the most important part. There may be people out there that don’t appreciate the gifts that you have to share or wish that they were made more to their liking, but they aren’t your audience. Those people aren’t your readers. Your readers are the individuals out there that need to hear your voice. Whether it is loud, comforting, meek or direct, know that the message that you are trying to convey is necessary and good for those people and when they find you they will support you. Anybody can tell a story, but no one can tell it like you. Remember that going forward. Your voice is needed.