Part of being a writer is learning to endure the roller coaster of emotions that comes with the creative and critiquing process. There are days when I feel really confident about my story ideas and my writing in general. Then there are days where I feel like crap and I doubt my abilities. Sometimes I wonder if I can even be considered to be a "real writer" at all because I feel like such a phony.
But for every bad day and negative critique, there are good ones. Tonight marked one of those times where I was like, "Damn, I'm a writer!"
I was out celebrating a friend's birthday in the city and everyone got to chatting about my novel. There were many questions about how I managed to get it up on Kindle, if it's difficult to self publish, etc. Then, one of my close friends -- who's usually pretty low-key and very honest -- told me, "I finished the book and I really loved it. I don't usually read YA, but I really got into it." She went on to tell me in detail what she enjoyed about the book and then added, "There's this guy in my church who's written several popular YA books -- and I think that yours is as a good as his."
At this point, I was already very flattered, but out of curiosity, I asked for the author's name.
Her: "Oh, he's this old friend of mine, Ned Vizzini."
Me: "STFU! WHAT?????!!!!
I wasn't sure which to be more shocked about: that she knows Ned Vizzini (apparently they grew up in the same Brooklyn neighborhood and their moms are close), that in the 15 or so years that she and I've known each other, she never before mentioned that she's pals with another YA author or that she compared me to Ned-freakin-Vizzini!
You have to understand, I've been a fan of Mr. Vizzini's for a long time. If you haven't read any of his books, which include BE MORE CHILL and IT'S KIND OF A FUNNY STORY, check them out right now. He was also a writer for MTV's TEEN WOLF and FUNNY STORY was turned into a movie a few years ago. In other words, he's pretty effing talented. For her to compare me to him is basically her saying that I'm like one of the best in my field. I don't even think she realized what a big deal he is in the YA world; he just happens to be a YA writer whom she knows.
For the record, I'd never compare myself to Mr. Vizzini -- or Megan McCafferty or Judy Blume, or any of my other YA author idols. These writers' books have endured for years whereas I'm still a work in progress. It's hard for me to see myself as being in their league when I read my own work and recall how I had to rewrite a particular section six or seven times to get it right. I'm sure that these authors have all dealt with that themselves, but they've more than proven themselves in the industry. I haven't ... yet.
Still, if a good friend decides to tell me that I remind her of one of my favorite authors, I'm not going to argue. I'll take it!!!
Please read and review my novel REVENGE OF A BAND GEEK GONE BAD.