Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Faith: the foundation of writing



You must have faith.

That's the conclusion I've come to after all these years of writing. The cornerstone of becoming a writer and continuing on in this odd field is faith. By that I don't mean religious faith, but a personal faith. You must believe in your story. Believe that, with enough work, the words will take the proper shape and become a perfect (or as perfect as possible) story. Believe that each word, each sentence, each paragraph is getting you closer to your goals.  Believe that what you will create will be worth it in the end (that worth can be defined as making money or your actual happiness with your story).

This "literate" faith is what carried me through having my first six novels rejected by publishers. I certainly had my doubting moments (or even months) but after ten years of trying my first book was published. It was important to believe in what I was doing. I still need faith now--the act of beginning a novel is an act of absolute faith (perhaps even more so since I don't use outlines). The road does get rocky at times, either I can't solve a problem or a character goes off in a direction I don't expect, but I believe the answer will come. And so far it always has.

So have faith. The rest will fall into place after that.

10 comments:

Ghost Girl (aka, Mary Ann) said...

Thank you for this reminder. It gets hard, sometimes, to see your own talent as talent. I've been fighting with those insecurities lately too, but then I re-read some of my writing with fresh eyes and realize that it's all there. It just needs some time, the right eyes on it, and a willingness to keep growing as a writer.

Arthur Slade said...

Oh, finding those fresh eyes is so important. Always nice when there's a space to let things alone for awhile and come back to them.

Eve said...

My faith is being sorely tested. Just for once I'd like to be done with a story. Instead I'm revising the beginning chapters of The Luckless Winner once again. This time to pickup the pace, screw up the drama, and make sure my 15 year old protagonist doesn't sound like he's twelve.

It's all good though. I swear I'm getting better at this.

Arthur Slade said...

It is all good. Or will be, once you're done...

Susan Kaye Quinn said...

So, so true. It's so helpful to me to see accomplished writers talk about their journey, so thank you for that! When the doubts creep in, I look back to see how far I've come already, and know that I still have yet far to go. And that making good fiction along the way is the reward, not just the goal. :)

Arthur Slade said...

Exactly, Susan. Making good fiction is the goal.

Err, and a billion dollars, too, of course...

Natalie Hyde said...

What a great message. It's so easy to doubt, isn't it? I excel at doubting about every aspect of this crazy business. But doubting leads to nothing being accomplished and having faith is always the beginning of something wonderful.

Arthur Slade said...

You're right, Natalie. Doubt leads to nothing being accomplished!

Linda Aksomitis said...

Can I have permission to read this at the CANSCAIP conference in September--that is unless you're going to join us and can read it yourself! http://canscaip-sk-horizons.blogspot.com/

Arthur Slade said...

Read away, Linda! I so wish I could be there, but I'll be teaching in Banff that same weekend! Grrr...