Saturday, August 7, 2010

What Do You Care What Others Think About Your Story?

Here’s my answer to a reader who sounded a bit sad.

I'm so happy that you decided to write to me, and that my books actually inspired you to write a story. As for your question about whether you should be concerned about "nobody seeming to be interested in the stuff you write about" and should you care--the answer is . . . NO! I'd make that bigger, but I think you get the idea.

I once made a picture book for my niece who was worried about turning her short story into a contest. The book was called Who Cares? and in it, my niece Lauren called her Aunt Lisa (a published writer but a rather headstrong person) and said she was worried about what others would think of her story. Aunt Lisa replied shortly "Who cares?" Who cares what others think of your story or if it wins a contest, as long as you enjoy it? And the end of the picture book says "And did Lauren's story win the contest?" And on the last page . . . WHO CARES? That's really the end. You never find out. (As a one-time teacher--and of special ed to boot, I know what gets a discussion rolling. A cliffhanger that's never resolved. The book was meant for teachers to get kids talking about the subject.)

I've often thought of offering the words to the picture book (my art's atrocious) to be published, but never gotten around to it. Maybe I should try.

Tell your brain to stop worrying about what other people think, anyway! That’s what the genius scientist Richard Feynman thought, too. He actually wrote a book called What Do You Care What Other People Think?

Hope this helps someone.