JASON REYNOLDS

writin' and whatnot

Some amazing advice from a mentor

So, this post was originally going to be about NYC's Fashion's Night Out, and I was going to go into the absurdity of an evening wrought with teenagers and self-proclaimed fashionistas, who have yet to realize, that if it looks like a costume, it is one. What I mean is, style should look like something you would really wear. Not something you are wearing for Fashion's Night Out, if that makes any sense. Get dressed. Don't play dress up. But I'll go further into that another time. This post is about some dope advice I got from Joanna Cotler, my amazing editor at Harper Collins, and now, dear friend and mentor. I hung out with her over the weekend at my agent's barbecue. She asked how my new work was going. I did the whole "it's...going" thing, and she laughed and proceeded to drop a jewel on me.

She said that for the forty years she's been in the business, there has never been a writer who was absolutely certain of their work. She said that one time she was walking down the hall, and Shel Silverstein bumped into her all frazzled and distraught. He was old, legendary, and at this point in his career, he could do no wrong. I mean, dude had made his mark as a literary GIANT.

She asked Mr. Silverstein what was wrong. His response was that he just wasn't sure if what he was working on, was good.

REALLY? SHEL SILVERSTEIN? 

Then the advice came like a stack of bricks to the breadbasket. She said that it is only when you don't know what you are doing, that you do something great. The insecurity will always be there, and that the minute it goes away, your career will too.

There it is.