Most of us here are creatives. That makes us united in the fact that we create, the fact that we make things, sometimes out of nothing at all. Some of us are wordsmiths who write at all hours of the day, others are artists who paint or draw to reveal the way we see the world, or other worlds entirely. But we all have that in common: we create.
We have one other thing in common, too. We all want people to see our work. Some of us are afraid to do it, others of us are all too eager to send our work to publishers, to agents, to art distributors, to see what the world really thinks of our work.
It's like raising a child. We sometimes spend years teaching this thing, this creation, how to be beautiful. And then we send it out into the world, hoping that it will stand up on its own two feet. Sometimes we succeed, rewarded with compliments and smiles, and other times we fail. Those times tend to knock us down, in more ways than one. And I wish that were not the case.
I'm a creative, too. Sure, I'm an editor by trade, but I was a writer before I became an editor. That's how it works. If you don't know how to write, you'll have no idea how to edit. So I had to be a writer, a creator. And I had to suffer those same losses. I had to send my work out there, only to be rejected. I had to experience it, had to know whether or not my creations would stand up to the world. Some of them didn't. It was crushing, difficult to handle, hard to understand. But one thing became apparent the longer I did this: I couldn't stop. To stop would've been to admit defeat, to say that the world had gotten the better of me. But I'm a creative. I've always been at least partially defined by that word. How could I be a creative if I ceased to create? How could I be a creative if I wouldn't show the world what I had created?
So I keep going. And yes, it's hard. No one ever said life was going to be easy. Things happen that we don't like, in the world around us, in our very lives, and we have to learn to live with them.
But I want to encourage you, as I so often do, not to stop. Don't let the world and its disappointments knock you down. Don't let surrounding circumstances tell you what you are, what you should be. You are who you are, in the depths of your heart. That's how it works. The world cannot define you, because you're already defined.
If you call yourself a creative, if you long and love to create, then please, don't stop. Don't be discouraged by publishers who don't want to work with you, agents who don't find you worthwhile, distributors who say your work isn't good enough. Keep going. Keep sending your work out. Keep trying. Keep creating.
I'm not even going to insult your intelligence by mentioning that you're reading this on a publisher's blog. You already know that, and if you're here, then I hope you're here for a reason. I hope that you trust me. I am an editor, I know what makes good writing, but you know what? I also know what makes a good writer, and in reading a manuscript, I know when I can work with an author, teach them how to write better and grow into a bestseller. I know that, because that's what I do. I create, yes, but I also help others to create.
So as someone whose life tends to be centered around creating, around writing, editing, teaching, take this:
Never stop. No matter what. Even if an editor tells you you're not good enough, if another artist says your work is pure crap. Don't stop. Keep going. Keep growing.
You're amazing. You're a creative. And no matter what it is that you create, there is someone out there who will find it beautiful.