Writing Bootcamp: Victoria Schwab says, 'Be Brave!'

Friday, October 7, 2011

Writing Bootcamp is a blog series in which I invite fabulous authors to share with you (yes, you! assuming you are an inquisitive writer) their best bits of writerly advice. Today Victoria Schwab, author of The Near Witch, tells you (yes! you again) to be brave...


When aspiring authors used to ask me for advice, I would smile and say, “Be a great reader,” or “Be a sponge,” or something kind, encouraging, but to be honest a bit common.

My advice has changed.

If someone asks me how to be a better WRITER, then I still answer with the above. But if someone asks me how to be a PUBLISHED AUTHOR, then I say this.

Be brave.

Putting yourself and your work out there to be judged is a terrifying thing, to be sure. But this is a very hard industry, one built on critique and rejection, and in order to get through, you have to be brave. Your want of publication has to be greater than your fear of rejection. If you find yourself paralyzed by the mere notion of critique, then you do not want it badly enough. YET. You are not ready. YET. And that’s okay.

In publishing, rejection exists not only as a way of culling potential books, but as a test, to see if the author is ready for the next step. Because rejection, critique, judgment...they exist at every step. They are an integral part of this industry.


If you want this, if you really, really, really want this in that way that physically hurts, that way that keeps you up at night, holds your mind hostage and your fingers always writing, then you will be brave enough to share your work, brave enough to take feedback, brave enough to get better. Do not be hindered by fear. Let it drive you. Let your want carry you through.

I’m not saying you aren’t allowed to be afraid, not saying you’re weak or unready if you feel that fear (we ALL feel it). I’m only saying that you must look at fear and want and see which is bigger. Do not let fear win that contest.

Be brave.


Victoria Schwab is the author of The Near Witch (which you can find out more about on Goodreads). Check out her website (it is very cool) and ever fabulous blog (I really like this post). More about her here.
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