Back of every creation, supporting it like an arch, is faith. Enthusiasm is nothing. It comes and goes, but if one believes, then miracles occur.
-- Henry Miller
Since I began my journey down the path of Indie publishing, one thing I can say for sure is that enthusiasm isn't in short supply. Sometimes there is a bit too much enthusiasm, I fear, and it's often mixed with a healthy dose of delusional naiveté. Sadly, that is the vast majority of self-published authors, and the Lulus of the world make a small fortune from them.
On the flip side of that are the serious writers. For art or otherwise, we are talking about the authors who have faith. Not blind faith in their own work, but faith in the word, in the art form, in the mindset, in the process, and in the path to publication, be that the Traditional route or the Indie route. And let me tell you something here: They know, without a doubt, that enthusiasm and delusion only go so far. It doesn't take long for reality to settle in -- the reality that the real writing is in the revision and editing part of the process, that the first draft isn't total genius, that an editor isn't going to "fix" everything, and that no one is going to sell the book for them. As crushing as it all seems, the reality of the matter is that writing is writing, as difficult and frustrating as it might be, but publishing is a whole convoluted mess unto itself and more hard friggin' work than any humble self-respecting writer deserves to endure. Doesn't matter if you are working the query process or tackling all the technical aspects of DIY Indie Publishing. Enthusiasm won't get you there, only faith will. Faith gives you the stamina to trudge on through revision after revision after revision -- rejection or ridicule, come what may. Faith gives you the self-awareness to know what you don't know. Faith gives you the power to see the flaws in your own writing and the desire to make it better. It gives you the will to persist and the constitution to stomach a bit of blood letting along the way. Traditional or Indie author, doesn't matter. We share the same deep-seated desire: to see our work in print and to have our work read. The paths might be different, but the struggle and the pain are the same, and those who persevere have one thing in common. Yup, you got it: Faith.
And for some reason, it just makes the writing better, and I should know: I was a victim of delusional enthusiasm in the beginning, but then I found my faith and with it, my voice. I stopped listening to the static and started listening to my own creative spirit. Once I shut my pie hole and started really listening, to the praise and to the criticism, I began to have faith in the word and the poetry I discovered within. Will I ever be as good as Proust? Probably not, but I have the faith to keep trying, and that is what makes me happy, as a writer and as an artist.
Others’ mileage will vary.
On a reader note: I do believe that readers can tell the difference between the two. When a writer has faith, well, the words and the stories just seem more honest to me, and the genre is irrelevant.
Cheryl Anne Gardner
The Art this week is Newton by William Blake circa 1795