The moment you buy any of my books and read it, that’s when that book becomes yours. And only yours. And you can take from it anything you want. You can love it, you can hate it, you can love me or hate me, but at that point I no longer care.
I find that’s the only way to actually “survive” as an artist. At least, without wanting to shoot yourself in the head every time someone tells you they hate your work. And it’s the only way to actually get past that paralyzing fear of rejection, that stupid voice inside your head telling you, over and over again, that your book is not good enough yet, that you need to work on it a little bit more… and so you spend so much time editing the same fifty thousand words that they stop feeling yours anymore.
So, yeah, you have to let go.
I write a book, I release it, and then I never read it again, while being perfectly aware that it’s not perfect. But I’m also aware that it’s never going to be perfect, and it’s never going to please everyone.
Some of you might take it the wrong way and think that this means you get to release lousy first drafts, just because you don’t care what others might think about your stories. No. You get to release a novel and don’t cry yourself to sleep every time someone writes a one star review about your book.
The process of writing… you can’t afford to be careless about that. No one gets to be that way.
To be honest with you, it’s best to be a bit arrogant as an artist. To believe you’re doing the world a favor. To let them hate you. Otherwise, every bad review you get, every harsh comment or e-mail, will just make you want to give up.
But until you release that story or painting or whatever, until you get it out there, for the world to love or destroy, it’s your story, and it’s only yours, to do with it as you please.