I recently attended the launch of a great new novel written by a friend and writing colleague. The event was such a slick event it might have been easy to forget the years of hard slog that went into producing the book that was being launched.
I was prompted to ponder how important attitude is when approaching a task as daunting as writing a novel. There are so many opportunities for a writer to feel negative about their undertaking – including when others are succeeding so demonstrably at something with which they are struggling. Writers who don’t learn to judge their own success, honestly and critically, by trusting their own instincts, invite the sort of pessimism that can ruin a project.
Good third party feedback, particularly from other writers, is important. But ultimately if, as a writer, you judge your writing by the goals you have set for yourself, then you will be able to honour your successes and recognise your failures on your own terms. Any writer who writes solely for the success that others might bestow is setting themselves up for disappointment.
Perhaps there was a time long ago when I might have felt a tinge of resentment at my friend’s launch. I’m pleased that such unproductive feelings are now far behind me and I was able to enjoy the event and celebrate a fantastic writing milestone without judging my own achievements against it.
Ilka Tampke’s first novel Skin is out now. Buy direct from her publisher, Text Publishing.
May your words pour onto the page,