A lot of people tell me that I inspire them – sometime it’s my stories, more often it’s the fact that I’m publishing and making a living at it. Frequently, it’s some hard-won lesson I’ve learned that I’m sharing (via the blog or the Indie Author Survival Guide).
This is always extremely gratifying.
Today, I want to share some examples of people who inspire me – because I’m in constant awe of what my author-friends accomplish in their journeys.
Adam Heine – game designer, author, father of foster-children in Thailand – there are many ways that Adam inspires me, and we’ve been friends and critique partners for a long time, but his recent post (I am not a great writer) inspired me once again with how he faces, time and again, the forces of darkness that keep us from creating our works, and beats them back. He’s often bloodied in the process. This doesn’t stop him. He’s relentless. I’m glad I’m on his side, because I wouldn’t want to be someone he was trying to defeat. Because he would win. (Go buy his game Torment: Tides of Numenera – he’s the lead designer)
Sarra Cannon – an author-friend for many years, an indie published author before me, Sarra has consistently championed the idea of writing what you love and building a career from that. She was an early and fierce advocate for the independence of authors and their ability to create works worthy of publication without the blessing of some third party. Her passionate defense of writing for love has always resonated with me, but she recently responded to a report of an “overnight” indie author success (you know, the kind that can be dispiriting if your sales are flagging) with this:
“I think it’s important to always keep your eye on the long-term. Stop watching what people are doing short term. Just because someone is riding a hot genre or running a clever gimmick does not mean they will still have a career two or five years from now. What are you building? What do you want to build? What’s your personal goal? These are important thoughts. The game is changing so fast, it’s sometimes hard to see or imagine the long-term possibilities or ramifications of your actions.” – Sarra Cannon
If you think this sounds like something I would say… it’s because I get it from her! Sarra’s constancy of vision is like a lighthouse for me, guiding me through moments of doubt. (Go buy her books – she’s sold a ton of them, yet talks about how My Sales Numbers Do Not Determine My Worth. In short, she’s awesome.)
Michael Kelly – long-time author-friend in my local critique group, Michael writes and draws comics and is an as-yet-unpublished prose writer. I absolutely love his works and am literally begging each month for him to bring more. This last month, he stopped me and a couple other writers after group, and polled us about our creative processes. He was seeking to improve his process, and so he was gathering information and trying to find a way to take his writing to another level (in terms of production). We had a delightful group discussion about the fine details of getting words out on the page, but the mere fact that he was actively seeking to improve was tremendously inspiring to me. Our discussion included published and unpublished writers, new authors and veteran ones – and we all faced the same challenges every day: how to defeat our fears, how to manage our anxieties, and how to keep creating works to share with the world.
The battle is being fought every day against the forces that would keep us from creating. I’m proud to count these people as my fellow creative warriors.