Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Be Brave

Okay, so I attended ALA last week (photo recap coming soon!), and I got to attend the Printz Reception. As part of that, I heard the four honor winners, and the Printz winner, speak.


Lucy Christopher not only has a wicked accent, but she said some beautiful things. Her novel, STOLEN, won a Printz Honor Award.

During her speech, she said two words that I needed to hear: "Be brave."

She was talking about her books, and how the MC's needed to be brave to survive their stories. She talked about herself as an author, and how she had to be brave during the writing.

I am such a huge baby, but it sort of made me cry. (The poor S&S people I spent the weekend with wonder if I need Prozac. Seriously.)

Braveness is something we need as authors. It is a hard world out there. A tough business, as I'm sure you've heard. There is so much noise, coming from every direction.

An author needs to be brave.

They need to don that bravery during drafting. It's okay to think outside the box, and try something you've never done before. You might be surprised at the results.

Authors need to be brave during critique sessions. Really listening takes courage.

Authors need to be brave during revisions. Don't be afraid to cut anything in your MS. They're just words, and if you're that attached to them, copy and paste to a new document. But be brave enough during revisions to truly make your book the best it can be.

Authors need to be brave during submitting. There are so many things that are out of your control at this point. Write the best book you can. Have faith that it'll get into the hands of the right agent/editor at the right time.

For me, when Lucy Christopher said "Be brave," I heard "Get writing something, you lazy hump." And so I am. I am being brave.

I am writing.

How's your bravery? What are you doing that requires you to be brave?

37 comments:

Natalie Aguirre said...

Awesome that you're writing. It's so true there are many phases of a writer's life where you must be brave.

Em-Musing said...

I pitched at RWA Nationals last week in NYC. After getting three good responses the first day (and requests) I could have been content...but I went back the next day pitched another three. (again, all good responses and one request).

Miranda Hardy said...

Bravery is an admirable trait. It comes and goes with me. I'll be brave one minute, and weak the next. You're right, authors need this trait. It's important to be brave, as well as patient.

Charmaine Clancy said...

I'll be brave - after all, it's not like critics are like hairy spiders *shudders*. Wait, they're not are they?????

Jen Daiker said...

If you would have told me to be Brave or asked how I was doing last year I would have said great. Reason being was because I was naive and didn't realize I still had a ton to learn.

This year I feel more confident and ready to dive in. Bravery is going to come in the form of querying come September. I'm nervous. My first round was a huge awakening. I'm hoping the second round is a pleasant one.

John Waverly said...

Here, here! When I think of bravery I think of physical bravery--the kind needed by soldiers or to stand up for what's right. It's often easy to overlook the bravery it takes to fight internal battles, to do something new, or to risk a piece of ourselves. Those take a different kind of guts, but guts nonetheless.

Christine Rains said...

Fabulous post! Writing itself is bliss for me. I need to be brave when I'm getting up in front of people. I make myself do critiques with my writing group and at conventions. I get sick with nerves, but after it's all over, I don't regret a second of it.

Tara (The Bodacious Pen) said...

Going after this dream was the first step of bravery. Finishing three novels and knowing they were okay, but not good enough was the second. Now I'm on the third step. I've finished a novel that I don't cringe at other people reading. I need to find other people to read it to make it good. This scares the bejeesus out of me, but I think of it as an obsctacle to overcome, just as I've overcome the other steps to becoming a published writer.

Jonathon Arntson said...

Thank you, Elana. I needed to hear that. Be brave. Okay...got it.

Leigh Ann said...

Thank you so much for sharing this. I just pushed "send" on my MS, to 2 crit partners and a friend at a small publisher. I thought that was the bravest writing thing I'd ever done, but then reading the first feedback....wow. I had to talk myself into opening the email.

Caroline Starr Rose said...

Every second of this career requires bravery, I think. I'm learning from those farther along how to keep moving and stay grateful and grounded.

Miriam Forster said...

Sometimes it feels like just living requires a tremendous amount of bravery.

Alistair Maclean wrote "We are all brave men and we are all afraid, and what the world calls a brave man, he too is brave and afraid like the all rest of us. Only he is brave for five minutes longer."

I repeat that to myself a lot. :)

Miriam Forster said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Patti said...

Being a writer means putting yourself out there, which is something I've never been good at. I feel like sometimes I need to be brave just to write a blog post.

Deana said...

Gah, what don't I have to be brave about. I am a whimp who loves to write:) Your post and Lucy's words give me immense courage!

Tere Kirkland said...

Sometimes I think stubbornness and bravery are the only things keeping me going. ;)

Donna K. Weaver said...

Love the inspiration. Who would have thought when beginning this journey just how true those words are.

Matthew MacNish said...

Hmm. I'm not sure bravery is the problem for me, sometimes I'm probably too brave, too open, too forward. I certainly know I go overboard when I write. Too much description, too much dialogue, too much harsh reality. Mostly I just go on for too long, but I'm working on it.

Otherwise this is a great point, and a great post, thanks Elana!

Amber Argyle, author said...

Good for you!

I'm not writing though. Mostly because I dont' have time!

Angie said...

Great post, Elana. Writing has always taken a great deal of courage for me. I posted about it on my blog. Linked to this post too!

Carrie said...

This is such a good post. Being a writer does require a lot of bravery. I'm in the revision part of bravery so cutting and reworking things.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I did the brave thing two weeks ago and now I'm stoked beyond words!

Misha said...

Thanks for the reminder! We all have to remember how every stage of writing has to requires bravery and that we actually have to step up against our fears if we want to succeed.

:-)

Bethany Elizabeth said...

I'm in the midst of querying and writing a first draft that's drastically different from my first novel, so this post is really good for me. It does take a lot of courage, but if everyone here can do it, so can I! :)

Dianne K. Salerni said...

Oh so true! I need bravery every time I open an email from my agent, every time I go to a book signing/conference/workshop where I will have to speak publicly.

I *really* needed to be brave to get up on stage at a steampunk ball in a corset and read out loud from my book to 200 people who weren't listening.

I have to be brave when I open up a Word document and try to start a new project. ;)

BTW, planning on opening Possession on my Kindle for the first time and getting started on it today!

Vicki Rocho said...

My daughter just checked Stolen out from the library and has been telling me I should read it.

Angela Ackerman said...

Great message!

Angela @ The Bookshelf Muse

Krispy said...

Thanks for the inspiration today! :)

kathrynjankowski said...

Great post, and, hey don't apologize for being sensitive, okay?

I'm braving the query process for my MG fantasy.

Liza said...

Someone told me to be brave with my garden once...seems easier than to be brave with the writing. But I marched myself to the library today and got 1035 words down. Brave enough for today...I guess.

Peggy Eddleman said...

The hardest time for me to be brave (as far as writing is concerned) is when I'm drafting! I'm unsure. I hold back. I'm not brave. I've been thinking a lot lately how I need to be more brave. Thanks for... you know... giving me that extra kick that I really needed.

Jessie Humphries said...

Elana u are the epitome of being brave!

Ishta Mercurio said...

Thanks for this post. I'm sending out some picture book manuscripts right now, which is brave for me. I'm so aware with every stamp I put on an envelope that a manuscript usually only gets one shot with an editor, and I'm so afraid of using up that chance with bad timing or a too-early submission. Submitting is the hardest thing i do. Thanks for the reminder to feel the fear and to it anyway.

LynNerd said...

Great advice. Such a vulnerable profession, it requires tons of bravery. Takes guts to be brave. Maybe some Prozac would help. Good stuff.

ali said...

I love that you are writing again! Yay for Lucy and kicking your sorry butt back into gear!

TirzahLaughs said...

Brave doesn't mean you feel no fear only that fear doesn't stop you from doing what you need to do.

Carol Riggs said...

Good for you, for being brave! Go, you! I just finished being brave by cutting some of my fave parts (yes, it DOES help to save those scenes in another document LOL), and soon I'll be going on sub--which is a diff kind of bravery! Uncharted territory, oh boy. :)

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