I’ve got a lot of writer friends. A few have become successful enough to quit their day job and focus on writing. A lot more are still waiting for that ‘big break’ whether it’s a novel on the NYT Amazon Best Seller’s lists or a script sold to WBs or Spielberg.
A couple are at the point of, “It’s never going to happen, so why should I even bother anymore?” which is the reason for this post.
Man, I feel that! Seriously. I’ve been there. It’s not fun. You’re depressed. You’re angry. Your self-esteem for everything–never mind your writing skills– is practically nil. You’re down on your writing because if it was any good, surely someone would have bought it by now! It’s not a good place to be, that’s for sure.
I know you know this, but I’m going to say it anyhow. There’s a hundred reasons that your work might not have sold yet. Yet. Reading is subjective. You can send the same book or script to 10 different people and it will suck for some, change someone else’s life, and have some go, “Meh.” Your writing could be as awesome as JK Rowling, Mark Twain, or Shakespeare, but if the right person at the right time doesn’t read it, then you could be pounding the pavement (metaphorically speaking) forever.
This might sound obvious, but it bears stating… Nothing guarantees you’re going to succeed as a writer except you.
I’m not talking about the quality of your writing, though obviously you’ll go further the better you are at it. I’m talking about being your own best advocate. Whether that means you self-publish or send out query after query after query to agents and publishers is up to you. Only you know which route is best for you to take.
And success means different things to different people. Some think finishing a single novel in and of itself is success regardless of getting published. Even if no one else reads a single word of it. (And it is!) They finished the book that was inside them and that’s what counts. Others want to sell a certain number of copies per month or year so they can write instead of having a day job, but don’t care if they do more than that. Still others aim for bestseller lists no matter how long it takes.
Everything is valid. You need to decide what’s right for you.
If you believe you’re a writer, keep at it! Dig in those heels, put up your back, and get stubborn as hell. Write every moment you can. Because that’s the real success. Practicing your craft and getting better and better at it while exploring the worlds inside you. Nay, the universes inside you!
If you’re like me, then you’ll write no matter what happens on the publishing side. You write because you have to write. Because it’s your passion. It’s who you are and what you do.
Very long story short… it’ll happen. Keep the faith.