Create: The Water’s Fine!

Today’s contributor is mother, voice actor & writer/podcaster Starla Huchton, telling us about how she found her (podcasting) voice, & the courage to use it…

Creating is something that comes naturally to all human beings. Whether it’s creating a painting, a line of computer code, or another human being, people make things daily. So why balk at sharing our creations with the world?

The answer is a little different for everyone, I think, but mostly it boils down to two reasons: fear and lack of opportunity.

Even the most confident among us harbors a secret fear that the thing they’ve created will be rejected or ignored entirely. Take Neil Gaiman, for example. In his pep talk for National Novel Writing Month 2007 he says:

The last novel I wrote (it was ANANSI BOYS, in case you were wondering) when I got three-quarters of the way through I called my agent.  I told her how stupid I felt writing something no one would ever want to read, how thin the characters were, how pointless the plot. I strongly suggested that I was ready to abandon this book and write something else instead, or perhaps I could abandon the book and take up a new life as a landscape gardener, bank-robber, short-order cook or marine biologist.

Doubt plagues us all.

Content creators find a way to get past that somehow, though we all suffer recurring bouts of insecurity from time to time. Once you’ve overcome that initial hurdle, what comes next?

For me, it came in the form of a new friend. When I finished The Dreamer’s Thread in 2008, I knew I wanted to share it with others. I was mulling over typical agent and publisher submissions, trying to decide how best to proceed (and what a daunting challenge that is when you first start looking at it!), when I mentioned my novel to this new friend, Jamie Jordan. He asked to read it and I obliged him. After less than a week, he called me up saying “I have an idea for you”.

His idea: a serialized audiobook podcast.

“A what now?” I asked.

He pointed me to Mur Lafferty’s “Playing For Keeps” (he produced the audio version), and I consumed it ravenously. That was it for me. I stumbled into a world of audio fiction from which I still have not emerged. Jamie’s idea became mine as well, and The Dreamer’s Thread snowballed into a full cast production.

As special as that first foray into podcasting was (and will probably always remain so for me), what I received in return for that free content is far more valuable to me than something I can place a monetary value on. Thanks to the TDT podcast, I now count published authors, editors, and many other reading world folks among my friends.

Their input (and also their own work), has taught me more than the act of writing could ever do on its own. These fine folks bolstered my confidence to create more and share more and make that content even better than the last batch. Opportunities I never imagined have opened up to me as a result of the act of sharing. These friends have faith that I will grow and improve as an author, so I’ve done my best to stay open to their advice and implement it as much as possible. All creators should strive to surpass their previous creation in their future endeavors. Only when we stop trying do we fail.

When we’ve created and shared, and all is said and done, we won’t lie awake at night wondering “but what if…”. Even when we don’t achieve great heights in what we attempt, the experience we walk away with enriches us and makes us better people. That’s really what matters in the end.

Starla is readying her second novel for release. She has authored other stories, including one soon to be released for The Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences. Learn more about Starla and her work at TheDreamer’sThreadNovel.

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