I’ve been wondering lately what makes me believe I can write something that other people will bother to spend money on and then spend their time reading. I mean, time is a precious thing; we all have only a limited amount of it to spend here on earth. So what makes me think folks out there will buy and read a 300 plus page book I’ve written? Is it audacity? Arrogance? Or is it just plain optimism? I like to think it’s optimism and not audacity or arrogance, that’s much more positive and sounds a lot nicer. There’s a lot to be said for optimism. Take Star Wars for instance. At one point while George Lucas was in the middle of filming, Fox execs got word (which trickled up from various crew members) that Lucas didn’t know what he was doing and his film was going to be terrible. Some of this stemmed from Lucas filming his actors on a sound stage fighting with sticks with nothing around them except green curtains. Of course Lucas knew what the finished product would look like (which the world now knows was the spectacular light sabre battle between Ben Kenobi and Darth Vader). But this was the 70s and at that time none of those crew members had any frame of reference by which to guess what Lucas was doing, and they certainly weren’t visionaries with imagination like Lucas so they had no faculty to foresee how it would eventually look on screen. So the production was shut down and a photo was taken of Lucas sitting in a gutter with his head in his hands. Imagine if the production had stayed shut down. We wouldn’t have Star Wars! (Yes, I can’t contemplate that either). But Lucas and his optimism managed to convince execs to let him continue and the rest, as the saying goes, is history. So when I see how many books are already out there in the world, and I start to doubt my writing talent and think I’ve got no chance and no hope and ought to just sit in the gutter with my head in my hands for the rest of my life, I tap into my bottomless well of optimism and remind myself that even if no one ever reads my books or thinks they’re any good (or maybe even great), I should at least still allow them to be the judge of whether I have any talent or not. And the only way to do that is write the darned books and actually finish them and then boldly sling them out into the world. They may not become Star Wars but why let self-doubt and fear deprive me of the possibility? And at the very least, I enjoy writing them. I get to hang out with great characters and go on cool adventures. And that beats sitting in any old gutter!
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