Monday, April 12, 2010

Just Alex

Continuing the A-Z Challenge from Arlee at Tossing it Out - today is J.

I follow some great writers on Blogger who offer both advice and support. I read posts by reviewers who offer deep, eloquent assessments of books. I watch established authors participate in events, win awards, and offer incredible words of wisdom. I absorb all marketing tips offered online and elsewhere in preparation for my own book release.

And in doing so, I foresee only one problem.

I'm just Alex.

There's so many incredible science fiction authors with experience, expertise, and solid platforms, and I realize now how short I fall of that mark. I can't show you a pile of awards. I don't write for a magazine or newsletter. My resume lacks a bit when it comes to writing. I do have several things going for me, but for the most part, I'm just Alex.

Does anyone else harbor such feelings of inadequacy? Does anyone else look at authors who've spent years writing for magazines, winning awards for their short stories, and producing critically-acclaimed books, and think to yourself "I'm in way over my head"?

39 comments:

Summer said...

Sure do. But you're already a big step ahead of me!

ggray said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ggray said...

Yes - all the time. Even though I've been writing for 29 years, (mostly on newspapers and magazine articles) and own a small press, I still always feel as if for every step forward I take 20 back. Even now that my press is quiet for a while, I can hardly keep up with my own writing and extensive rewrites (I'm a sloppy first draft writer - my writers' group will tell you), I can't seem to keep up with the new way of publishing which requires so much in the way of social networking and marketing.
So, I don't think the feeling ever goes away. It may in brief moments, when something good happens with your writing: a short story is published, a novel is accepted. But when we all sit down at the computer, we are just us. Simple us with our outcast imaginations. And I think it's for the best. When we lose our humility, we lose our touchstone to a new idea. If we get too cocky, we'll trust what worked before and not step out on the edge of the cliff like a fool with an original story to veer from the success formula. So Alex - like Alice in Wonderland, stay just Alex, but be the best Alex you can be - full of Alex "muchness."

WELCOME TO MY WORLD OF POETRY: said...

When I read of authors of books such as sci fi and mystries I feel I only write poetry,.....and there are better poets around than I am, so I suppose "Im Just Yvonne,"

Take care,
Yvonne,

DEZMOND said...

Ah, dear Alex, everyone has to start from somewhere. You shouldn't feel inadequate, just because your CV isn't comparable to the CVs of other writers. If you have talent, and if your book is good, who cares what you did or didn't do before it. These are your first steps, you will need a lot of strength and endurance to deal with the upcoming days, with the success or failures, but you always have your dreams and the belief in your writing gift as the engine which will keep you moving forward.

I live in a country where talent and education aren't really valued, and I still have to fight in my profession today with more than 10 books behind me, just like I had to a few years ago when I was a total beginner. You just have to fight for yourself, believe in yourself, and try to use this short life as best as you can. And you always have the love and support of us, your beloved friends :))

Will Burke said...

Oh, absolutely! I feel like I'm staring up a mountain! As far as promo goes, I usually find new authors through friend recomendations (live & online) and the bargain section, so don't feel bad to see your books there!

Falen said...

sure sure. But having a bit of a platform before we query can only help, right?

KarenG said...

Excellent post, Alex. And why did I write for decades without being published until recently? Because of these very feelings of inadequacy. Finally I got over myself and moved past it. Tomorrow I have a presentation & signing and all the inadequacies are returning (they always do, they never go completely away, just change venues).

Liza said...

We are all "just" someone. But each someone is its own, individual, stellar self, different from any other. And yes there are prolific authors who have published 17 books and are in every magazine and newsletter. Yet, there is also the writer who wrote one very right thing. Don't compare. Do YOUR best. That's all that is required.

Shannon said...

Always Alex, but I am the only me with my unique gifts and thoughts that go into my writing...same with everyone else. You have something no one else has and it is all Alex J. Cavanaugh baby! Great post buddy!

Talli Roland said...

We want to read about Alex! It's being you that makes you different - your tone, what you write about, how you look at things... keep it up!

Michele Emrath said...

Yes. yes. yes...But that is also what you have going for you. No one else is Just Alex. Just you.

Look at all the followers you've amassed in this short time. Your blog is one of my daily (if possible) stops b/c of your interesting take, love of Science Fiction, and accomplishment as a soon-to-be published author.

So just capitalize on the traits you do have--what makes you Alex! And we're all here to help promote your books as well. So don't think you are alone!

Michele
SouthernCityMysteries

Hagelrat said...

an awful lot of us feel like we are getting away with something, or worse, not quite getting away with it. Push it aside and carry on. :)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

GGray, I'd say you've come a long way. That's quite a list of accomplishments.
And I'll try to keep my 'muchness.'

Just Yvonne is pretty cool, though.

Thanks, Dez. And that must be a sad battle you fight there in your country.

Karen, you'll do awesome tomorrow!

Liza, Shannon, , and Michele, I'll try to be the best Alex possible!

Thanks, everyone.

Raquel Byrnes said...

Hey now, you're ahead of the game already. You said you take advice, absorb marketing tips, and plan for a release...you're in the mindset that it WILL happen. Someone once told me that publication isn't a selection process, its a survival process. Hang in there. Tenacity has its merits!

Beth said...

Ummmm ... Just Alex? I like you JUST the way you are! :)

Palindrome said...

yes, yes and yes. Especially when you read about some authors who "claim" to never have writer's block or a problem getting through a novel. I mean, there's something to be said for experience but come on, never?! That's why I love to hear about struggling authors published and non. It makes me feel better and not alone in the writing struggle.

Jamie Gibbs said...

Yup, I feel the same every damn day :P I think that the 'just alex' thing works though, it means you're a guy with a passion for sci-fi, and that makes what you do a hobby and not a job. That makes it more fun and more entertaining for us readers :D

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Raquel, I will do my best to survive.

Thank you, Beth!

Palin, you are not alone.

And thanks, Jamie! Yeah, I don't forsee this first book paying my rent or anything. It's just my passion.

Julie Dao said...

Oh yeah, definitely. But you know what? Instead of sitting back and lamenting your lack of awards and fancy publications and such, you are doing something about it - you're blogging, showcasing your writing, and building a readership. Those established authors had to start somewhere too. I think "just Alex" is very talented and you shouldn't think of him as a problem - he's going places!

Southpaw said...

I think because I still just writing and only thinking about that, I don’t worry about anything else. I’m in the “this is so darn fun phase.” When I get to my rewrite and see exactly what it is, I have written it may be a different story.

I follow the blogs you’ve mentioned by also a lot of unpublished authors, which is like have a bunch of buddies in the same boat with me. :)

Helen Ginger said...

I do sometimes feel that way. Sometimes it's when I have to do some technical like a change to my computer. Sometimes it's in my writing and I wonder if I'm up to doing it.

Helen
Straight From Hel

The Old Silly said...

Stop it. Right now. You are what you think you are. "We are what we think. With our thoughts we make the world," said The Buddha. You vastly underestimate yourself and do yourself an injustice by limiting your sense of vast, potential magnitude within you as "just Alex."

You can write. I know good writing when I see it, and you have the skill. Now BELIEVE, write, and publish.

Galen Kindley--Author said...

Oh, yeah. You asked, "Does anyone else harbor such feelings of inadequacy?" You are looking at Mr. Inadequacy himself. I invented the characteristic.

Best, Galen.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Thanks, Julie, I am trying to go somewhere.

Southpaw, we're all in this together.

Helen, I read your blog - you have nothing to worry about when it comes to writing.

Marvin, consider it stopped. I believe!

Galen - now you stop!

Thanks, everyone. I wasn't trying to whine. It was more of a "Oh crap!" kinda feeling.

B. Miller said...

Yesssss.... I know exactly what you mean. Sometimes I look at my list of publications and think "wtf are you doing dispensing advice on writing and talking about how much you love being a writer with such a pitiful credit list?!" the thing to remember is you'll get there someday. Just keep trying!

Jen said...

I try not to think about what others are accomplishing otherwise it could trample me without me knowing... so it's best to pretend that I'm in the clouds by myself jumping around!!

Thanks Alex for the awesome post!

Carol Fleisher said...

You are a great writer Alex. You have nothing to be worried about. Try not to think about what others are doing

Watery Tart said...

Well Just Alex, this reminds me a little of Just Harry, and I think we all KNOW what great things HE went on to do.

Some of us who don't know anything just encourage everyone to get naked, and hope nobody notices we are just muddling our way through...

Stephen Tremp said...

I did at one time. But after three years of writing and promoting and a recent re-edit, I've gained enough confidence that I have a pretty darn good book. But it took time. And a lot of sacrifice. Some $$$ too.

Stephen Tremp

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Miller, I enjoy what you say about writing on your blog!

Thanks Jen and Carol - I'll just wear my blinders from now on.

Watery Tart, that is a great thought!
Not too sure about the naked thing though...

Trudy said...

I find that seeing what else is out there keeps me striving to make my writing better. Yes, of course it's discouraging at times, but remember that you are unique and have something to offer that nobody else does! Not to mention the fact that we are a pretty eclectic people...what someone thinks is brilliant may be seen as utter crap to somebody else! Just keep on keepin' on Alex, and you're far ahead of me in the game!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Stephen, seems this book has been somewhere in the process forever. Fortunately, didn't cost me $$, just time.

Thanks, Trudy. I only know how to be Alex.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Alex, anyone who says they feel 100% confident is lying anyway! Trust me, six books later, I still wonder. But I don't compare anymore.
You can do it little camper!

Creative Chronicler said...

I think we all have those feelings and doubts Alex. I have to tell you I am anxiously waiting to read your book. I don't even really know what it's about but I know two of my favorite females are behind you. When it comes to literature they would'nt be if you weren't good. I've heard it's a must read.

Glynis said...

Alex, we will drive this buggy together. We will push our WIP's up hill to the point of no return.

See you are not alone. If you feel you are over your head, and still carry on, you ARE Alex the writer. If you give up, you are just Alex again.
Not that there is anything wrong with being just Alex, but I think you have the drive and support to get your book out there.

Did that make any sense at all? LOL

Keep pushing Alex!!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I'm the little camper who could, Diane!

CC, thanks! Now that really makes me feel better.

Glynis, that does make sense. And since it is past the point of no return, guess it's time to hang on for the ride.

Maurice Mitchell said...

Your honesty is staggeringly refreshing. No wonder your blog is so popular. :)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Thanks, Maurice! Actually, I have no idea why I'm so popular.