Authors: Please Be The Guardian of Your Stories
Long before social media insinuated itself into our lives and everyone became a critic to instantaneously broadcast opinions across the globe with the mere click of a button, I can remember believing (even as a child) that no one can tell a story better than the author who creates the characters. These characters live because an author chose to give them life. Later, I realized that these characters also rebel against the author at some point in their lives. Characters are rebellious in nature: The words we want them to speak, the actions that we desire for them to take, are sometimes for naught: they march to the beat of their own intentions.
Writing is an immensely frustrating, yet immensely satisfying journey, often within the same breath. Sounds like life, doesn’t it?
I do worry, though, that this age of social media will have a chilling effect on creativity. I recently had this discussion with a favorite author of mine who noted that “the writer’s job isn’t to make everyone happy or everything pretty. The job is telling stories.” Her words resonated with me. She is an author who is guided by her heart. She is the guardian of her stories.
I’ve also heard over the years that authors can be insecure. We want people to love our characters and books as much as we do. After all, our work is an extension of ourselves. Yet, I would argue that constructive and intelligent criticism of writing is a good thing while a diatribe can freeze creativity quicker than an Arctic blast.
I hate to see authors kill their stories for fear of reader condemnation. What saddens me when this happens is for authors to succumb to this kind of blackmail (yes, I’ll go out on a limb and call it blackmail because that is what it seems like to me). Rather than protect their creation, an author might wrestle with destroying a piece of themselves.
Authors: Please Be The Guardian of Your Stories. Believe in your characters. Believe in their ability to tell you what they need. Believe in the creative process. Even believe in the frustrations of creating your stories because the overall satisfaction is immeasurable.