Apparently John Green feels like a fraud all the time
. Now, am I the only one who had a bit of a
WTF flip-out? Because seriously, this list
came out last week: John made $26 million this year, topping his first time appearance last year
, when the poor guy only made $9 million.
There are many kinds of fears we face as
writers. Fear of failure, fear of running dry, fear of having only one book,
and also fear of success. Personally, fear of success hasn’t been a problem for
me and I’ll be honest, it’s a fear I am willing to confront. Especially with an
odd $26 million in my back pocket.
But can you imagine the kind of pressure John Green is under? I wanted to stop writing after I read the book, because it was just that good.
Imagine how JK Rowling felt writing the
last book of the Harry Potter series. And then she wrote The Casual Vacancy, which
wasn’t as well received as she had hoped, so she resorted to a pseudonym for
her next book.
Do you want to be George RR Martin
now? With people clamouring to know who is going to die next? Once again, I
admit I’ll be willing to give it a go, but he must be bashing his head on a
desk somewhere. He even tweeted
in 2014: EVERY TIME I GET ASKED WHEN WILL THE NEXT BOOK BE
FINISHED, I KILL A STARK. So please stop asking him. We are running out of
I listen to aspiring
writers worrying about their writing every week. Fear is a
constant. As soon as you conquer the one, the next one lines up.
And what do I tell the students? Shut-up
and write! The only thing you can do to overcome these
fears is to have something on the page. John says: 'The only way through it for me is to take pleasure in the process of writing, or to find value in it. Even when I suck. Even when there’s no
way anything I’m writing will ever see the light of day. The act of trying to
write for an audience must feel valuable in and of itself, or else I am
John Green has written five books, JK
Rowling even more, and they keep writing. If you stop, or don’t start, the fear
will overwhelm you. Blank pages are scary. John also says: 'I still don’t feel like I know how to write a
novel, and at this point I doubt I ever will.' (We have
for that, John.)
But, if you need help, ask for it. Go on a course or
join a reputable, supportive writers’ group. It helps if you don’t feel so
alone. Face whatever it is that is stopping you and karate-chop it out of the
way. Don't use lack of time as an
excuse. Real writers
make time, because there will never be enough time or the prefect time.