My Superpower is a regular guest column on the Skiffy and Fanty blog where authors and creators tell us about one weird skill, neat trick, highly specialized cybernetic upgrade, or other superpower they have, and how it helped (or hindered!) their creative process as they built their project. Today we welcome A Demon in Silver author R.S. Ford.
I’ve had to give this a lot of thought. What superpower could possibly aid in my writing? Most of the time, as most writers, I feel crushed under the colossal weight of a super-impediment rather than a superpower. At various points all writers will take on the role of Imposter Syndrome Boy, Captain Excuses or Procrastinato Woman. Life is full of things that hinder our creative flow. That stop those words spilling onto the page. That’s why there’s one superpower that we all share as writers. One we couldn’t be successful without.
Now I’m not talking about stubbornness, although that’s something else I’m occasionally accused of; I’m talking about the stout refusal to admit defeat in the face of all the things that are stacked against writers in these modern times. It’s what makes you put those words on the page while you’re waiting for the muse, because let’s face it; sometimes the muse never comes. The best way to find it is to sit down at the keyboard whether you’re in the mood or not. To thrash out those bad words until the good words start to flow. To hack out that awful first draft, crying into your mug of tea, wondering how the hell you got a book deal in the first place.
Here’s the best known secret in publishing: writing is bloody hard! Especially in this era of social media, on-demand TV and computer games. Distractions are everywhere. It’s never been a better time to be alive as far as home entertainment goes. Everyone lauds the old masters for their prolific output, but Shakespeare and Dickens never had to create a magnum opus when the entire series of Sons of Anarchy was sitting on their hard drive. All they had was the odd bit of badger baiting, a public execution for entertainment!
I jest of course.
But even when you’ve crawled your way past the distractions and climbed the mountain to the summit of your first draft, even after you’ve polished it to the point of a mirror sheen, even after your beta readers have told you it’s the best thing they’ve ever read… you will still face rejection. Agents will politely turn you down if you’re lucky – most of the time you won’t even get a rejection letter. Publishers will tell you why they don’t like your novel, how it’s too much this and not enough that. All your efforts will be stretched out and disembowelled before your eyes. You’ll wonder why you even bothered.
Then, when eventually you do overcome all these setbacks and find that elusive book deal, you’re going to get a stinky review. In fact, if you’re particularly successful you’ll get a lot of them. Your book is essentially printed marmite. Some people will love it, others hate it, and the temptation, if you’re anything like me, will be to believe the haters more than the lovers.
With all this stacked against you, it’s a wonder any novels are written at all. But every writer who has climbed the ladder to even a modicum of success has done so because they refused to give in. Persistence is the key to greatness.
When all is said and done, the only thing that really stands against you, is you! It’s never been a better time to be a writer. There are no barriers to entry that can’t be overcome by your own hard work and effort. Even rejection is not the end, proven by the self-publishing revolution that’s blossomed over the past few years.
So if you want it enough, you’ll get it. The only superpower you need is your effort. So stay focused, be brave.
To see more from R.S. Ford, follow him on Twitter @Rich4ord or visit https://richard4ord.wordpress.com/