Writers who are new to the game often believe they’re at a disadvantage. They don’t have years of experience. They don’t quite know what they’re doing yet. They don’t have the connections and contacts more seasoned writers might have. They don’t understand the publishing business.
While all these things might be true, there is one very important area in which new writers have a HUGE advantage. I was reminded of this last night while I played with my three-year-old son.
You are such a fraud.
As a writer, how many times have you heard your inner critic say that to you whenever someone compliments your work? What if your work comes up for an award or you get an awesome review from a total stranger?
How about the times you hear that phrase just because you dared to say out loud to someone that you—yes, YOU—are a writer?
For me, it has been thousands and THOUSANDS of times.
Every time I tell someone I write transgressive fiction the first question I get is, “What’s transgressive fiction?” If we’re talking in person, I explain it as best I can (usually not very well). But if we’re emailing I send them the definition cut and pasted from Wikipedia:
Transgressive fiction is a genre of literature which focuses on characters who feel confined by the norms and expectations of society and who break free of those confines in unusual or illicit ways.
Because they are rebelling against the basic norms of society, protagonists of transgressive fiction may seem mentally ill, anti-social, or nihilistic. The genre deals extensively with taboo subject matters such as drugs, sexual activity, violence, incest, pedophilia, and crime.
That definition is actually a very good one. It definitely covers all the bases. However, every time I send it to someone to explain the kind of fiction I write, I feel weird.
I just started writing a new novel a few weeks ago and I feel like a teenager again.
Yes, there is the euphoria and the excitement of magical new lands to discover, and the thrill of new horizons coming into view.
But when I say I feel like a teenager again, that’s not what I mean. Because, in addition to the euphoria, excitement, and thrill, I am also being clobbered by tidal waves of confusion, self-doubt, intense emotion, and fear, fear, fear.