One day while I was stalking my way around Twitter, I came across an interesting Tweet by a writer called Joel Heffner. He tweeted, “Scaredy cats who are afraid of failure call themselves aspiring writers. Writers call themselves writers. Period.“
When I read the tweet, it set me thinking. When I first formed the club, it was for people who loved drawing and writing but were not lucky enough to be published yet. That’s how I defined aspiring. People who drew and wrote but were not published yet.
Mr Heffner’s tweet, however, put a whole new meaning to the word ‘aspiring’. If you’re already writing or drawing, why are you still ‘aspiring’? You’re a mangaka or a writer. Period.
‘Aspiring’ gives a person the excuse to be amateurish. The excuse to laze around without working on that art or story you know you should be working on. You attempt to explain away the fact that you just spent a couple hours on America’s Next Top Model or Project Runway without even drawing a line or penning a paragraph.
You tell youself that an ‘aspiring’ mangaka/writer doesn’t need to be as hardworking as those who have already ‘made it’. Being an aspiring mangaka/writer means you can get away with being lazy or claiming you have no time.
Now, this is not to say all ‘aspiring’ mangaka or writers are lazy or love to make excuses. We ALL have our moments when the beach beckons invitingly or something else is too attractive to be ignored. But what makes the published creator different from his ‘aspiring’ peers is the desire to take an aspiration, run with it and make it real.
Sure, we all aspire to write the Great Singapore novel or illustrate the biggest thing on the manga scene but honey, you’ve got to stop aspiring and get your ass out there. Show the world what you’ve got. Don’t sit on your work and agonize if you can make it better. If you’ve done your best, then it’s time to show someone out there and get some real feedback.
Join competitions, be it local or overseas. Don’t be afraid to try. You will fail, I can assure you that. But don’t let that be your sinking stone. Everyone’s got to fail sometime. You can’t expect to go out there with what you think is a masterpiece and expect everyone to pay homage to it instantly.
If you can’t find a publisher to take your work, then self-publish it! There are many reasons why publishers won’t or can’t take your work. It could be due to present market demands or the fact that they personally don’t think your work will be popular. There are many platforms out there that will allow you to publish your work in the digital format. Lack the funds to promote your book? You can do up a book trailer or take part in the AMWC Virtual Book Tour series. =)
Just think. JK Rowling’s books wouldn’t be the bestsellers they are today if not for the daughter of Bloomsbury’s chairman. It takes both luck and hard work to make your work known.
There are so many ways to do it. You just have to decide what’s best for you. So are you guilty of ‘over-aspiring’?