Nobody respects writers, yet everybody wants to be one. This disturbing thought occurred to me a while ago and is proving to be a very, very stubborn one. No matter how hard I try, I just can’t banish it.
Add to that the relentless bombardment of articles from respected voices in the publishing industry, articles that commiserate our career choice and tell us that we’d be better off buying a lottery ticket – we’d have a better chance of winning, that is, than making a living as a writer.
Even if you’re stubborn enough to ignore all the above and keep working, keep slaving over that book because you believe in that story, you believe in yourself, even then the road ahead is not easy. Don’t write this genre, that one sells better. Not that long, shorter, and not stand-alone novels, but a series. Don’t rush, but don’t take too long. Formats, covers, promo work – all is skill and it all needs to be learned from scratch. As if researching and writing a serious book is not hard enough… There are no signposts, just a knot of roads, some neat and tidy-looking, some hardly walked, and you only have one lifetime to get this right.
So, tell me, fellow writers. Why do we do this? Pride? Stubbornness? Masochism? To teach a lesson? To have a voice? Prove someone wrong? Or maybe because it’s in the blood?
You might want to share your motivation, or you may not. I don’t much care about your reason, either, I know my own. But there is something else I know. I know there is no right or wrong way, no best and worst, no should or shouldn’t. Any obstacles are, really, merely insubstantial, paltry bumps in this road we’ve chosen. In this new dawn of writing freedom, the rules have been tipped upside-down, the waters muddied and somewhat rough, but we can swim. We can barrel right through them. Because the only way that matters is our way. Our story. Our work. Our sweat and tears. Our reason.
So burn those maps. Burn the heaps of advice. The pieces of card that prove you’ve sat and listened to someone else’s theory for years and years, the seminar attendance notes, the videos and presentations. Stop wasting precious time and money on someone else’s idea of ‘how to’. They are destructive and distracting. They pull at the threads of your concentration and stop you from focusing on your one true goal: SUCCESS.
You have yourself. Rely on yourself. Do things your way. Set your own standards. Before you know it, you’ll get there, you’ll achieve your goal. Don’t look at someone else and don’t compare yourself to others. One size indeed does not fit all. Not now, not ever.
Success? If, in fact, it is your goal, then shouldn’t it be your own recipe?