I have been thinking a lot about what makes it so difficult for us to sit down and write. Why are we so willing to give in to our Inner Saboteur, even when we know that’s what we’re doing?
A lot of times it comes down to the thought “Why bother?”
Let’s face it, being a writer is hard. As soon as you tell family or friends you’re writing, they expect your short story or novel to appear in print within a month because that’s what happens on TV. They also expect you to be the next J.K. Rowling, raking in the billions.
They don’t understand, and they don’t see, the hours spent alone at the computer trying to figure out the perfect wording for the sentence, the hours agonizing over description, or dialogue. They don’t see the years of languishing in the slush pile. They don’t get that it can take years to land an agent, and longer still to get a book contract. They don’t see your $5 – $10,000 advance, 15% of which goes to your agent.
But we, as writers, know what it is to slog through rejection after rejection. We all face the changing publishing industry.
We love to share our ‘terrible rejection’ stories when we’re together. But we rarely celebrate successes. I suspect it is because we hear about someone getting the book contract or story sale and think “why couldn’t it be me?” or we think “Probably happened for them right away. Hack!”
The truth of it is, success comes in different ways for all of us. We all want that Sally Field winning the Oscar moment of “You really like me. You really like me!” We should be celebrating each other’s successes, and think “It can happen to me too.”
I have asked a number of authors who have experienced their own success, to tell their stories of perseverance, what they went through to get to that success. This doesn’t necessarily mean their stories end there. Some will go on to bigger and better things, others will not.
And that’s OK.
What is important is that they believed in themselves and their writing enough to push through the tough times, the slush, the wondering “Why Bother?”
Let their stories inspire you to do the same!