Sunday, March 15, 2015

Week 11 2015 Journal Challenge: Vulnerability

Vulnerability.

Brene Brown is the perfect person to read if you want to delve into the world of vulnerability.

This entry is just my version of my own personal/ creative vulnerability.

Being vulnerable means to allow yourself to be out there, for others to lift up, draw inspiration from and even tear down- or attempt to.

To be vulnerable, you have to put yourself in the public eye.  You have to put your work in the public eye.

Opening yourself up can be difficult.  Making the choice to put your work, your art, your ideas for everyone to see.  For me, it's my writing.

It started on a closed writers' site that is now defunct.  When I found the site, I joined right away.  It took a couple months to actually put any work on it, and then the ratings were low and the critiques for the low ratings were not there.  The low ratings were the first of any ratings I had ever gotten on my writing, and with no comments to help out, I had no idea how to improve.

It wasn't until, on a whim, I wrote The Rabbit Who Wished He Could Fly did I get decent feedback, along with a lot of positive ratings.  it was nice to finally read comments about what was good about the story, and what needed some work.

This gave me the confidence to find, and hire, an illustrator, the Amazing Jennifer Frith, to self-publish.  At no point did it cross my mind to even attempt to submit it to an agent or publisher.

Over the next couple months, I wrote a few more for the series (the second, The Lost Squirrel, will be out this Spring!) as well as self-publish two urban fantasy novellas.

Eventually, I decided to attempt to get into traditional publishing.  I found a children's book challenge site called 12x12.  On this site, you can post the first 250 words of a picture book manuscript.  I joined in January 2014, but it took a while to post in the site.  Once I did, the critiques came in.  They hurt.  They felt like they were criticizing me, as the stories were mine, and I loved them.  But they were helpful.

Another benefit of the 12x12 membership is being able to submit a PB MS to an agent once a month to attempt to get representation.  Again, this took a few months for me to attempt, but I finally did...and I've submitted each month since in an attempt to get an agent.

The rejections and critiques are still painful, but not criticisms of me (or you) and they are not nearly as painful as they were.  They are meant to be helpful, to improve my writing (your art).

A few months after my first 12x12 submission, I branched out on my own.  I researched agents and began to submit my work on my own.  And getting more rejections, as well as both positive and negative feedback which helps shape/reshape the MS submitted and future writings as well.

I've also joined a critique group, as well as running an on-line/e-mail critique group.  When I joined my first critique group, I felt I could not offer the quality critiques I was receiving, and I almost quit, but stuck with it.  With the groups, I've been much more eager to send work out to others for their thoughts and ideas.

Since joining critique groups, my writing has improved immensely.

This would not have happened without putting myself out there, without being vulnerable.

It's been more than just putting my picture book writing out there.

It's putting ME out there.

This journal challenge, reading my book at bookstores and libraries, speaking about self-publishing to other writers and talking to groups of kids about being a writer.

To be vulnerable means to hav courage.

To put yourself out there, the true you, striving to become something you truly love, takes courage.

To be vulnerable means to be strong.

You have to be willing to move past the harsh critiques ("Your story is hard to follow", "...it makes no sense") and continue to make the attempt.

If you're doing something you truly love, then put yourself out there, be vulnerable, and let your light shine on the world.

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