Someone on my Facebook page commented the other day that I should wait until I was like Stephen King before I could break the barriers in writing and publishing; that I should wait until I’m better established before I could set the bar in both arenas.
In writer terms, that figure is not only an eternity for us writers, but it also makes me the master of own craft as well. There’s pretty much nothing that I cannot do with my books these days.
I’ve already done things that have pretty much violated the rules of the road when it comes to writing and publishing:
1) I’ve written larger and larger novels that have surpassed 100,000 words easy. (Where the current word count is between 60,000-80,000 words.)
2) I’ve written sequels that no first-time writer should be writing. (In the world of publishing, this is a no-no.)
3) I write books that are outside the mainstream’s jurisdiction and comfort zones. (Technically, I’m supposed to go with the flow here, not against it.)
So do I really need to wait another 20 years or more before that small circle of people are satisfied that I can hold my own against everyone in the industry? Or do I need to get written permission from the Grand Master of Horror himself to write and publish my own work as I see fit?
Because you know, I don’t think Stephen King would give a shit what I’m doing with my books. And to be blunt, I don’t think anyone else in the current establishment would care either. I don’t run my work past people in order to get their approval whenever I’m breaking in new ground, or new avenues of writing and personal exploration with my novels.
I just do it.
After two and a half decades of writing and learning the ropes on my own, I think I’m entitled to breaking the rules as I see fit–now. Not five years down the road when I’m published, not in ten years, or in fifteen.
I’m not a first-year amateur who has delusions of grandeur of getting that big fat contract with the mainstream and a seven-figure advance to boot.
I’m someone who has spent a great deal of time and effort getting my work just the way I like it. I have toiled long and hard to get where I am today. And as I’ve been telling people over and over, writing and publishing is all about patience. Nothing happens overnight.
You don’t need to be another Stephen King in order to write well or carry a tune within the constructs of your own world. You just need time and patience to iron things out. Once you’ve crossed that bridge, you’re no longer the same writer or person when you first started.
But something entirely different.