You want to be a writer. You want it a lot. There's a whole other life that keeps your attention most hours of the day but in those spare moments and snatched hours, you write.
You want to be published but you're not sure how the publishing biz works. You've heard writing conferences are a good place to learn. You've heard people talk about them on line. You've heard agents and editors complain about them.
You hear about a conference in New York. One with lots of agents. You save your money. You find someone to watch the kids. You cook up enough dinners to freeze for while you're gone, even though everyone will eat at MickeyD's anyway. You make your reservations. Maybe you've never been to New York before. Maybe you've never travelled on your own before. Maybe you've never invested this much time and money in something that's just for you.
And you come. To a conference where you don't know a single soul. You bring some of your pages. You bring all your hopes. You pray you won't get lost, or mugged or have to ride on the subway.
That's the first part of brave. It's bravery that's never mentioned and seldom rewarded. That neglect doesn't diminish the scope or value of the bravery in the slightest. What you did remains an act of singular courage.
Then you come to the conference. You sit in a circle with ten other people and three agents. Someone reads your pages out loud. It might be the first time anyone else has seen your work. It might be the first time you've heard your work read aloud. You sit and listen to your words.
Then the agents tell you what's wrong with it. They don't like anything. All they do is pick at things. Yours, everyone else's. How does a single book ever get sold if they don't like anything.
But you take notes. And you listen. Mostly in shocked silence, but you listen.
And here's where the second part of bravery comes in.
You don't collapse into tears.
You don't give up.
You go home and you look at those notes and you remember that you want to write, and you want to be published and no one, not even a snotty New York agent dressed in black is going to stand in your way.
You start in again.
You are one of the bravest people I've ever seen. Even if no one else ever knows it, you do. And don't forget for even one minute that I know it too.
Now get back to work.