Don’t get discouraged…
Writing can be a blessing and a curse. If you’ve been at this a while, you know what I mean. Sometimes things go very well. Creativity is sparkling, words are flowing, the keys of the keyboard tap out a furious staccato. The finished work is brilliant – some of the best stuff you’ve ever written. You edit carefully, then send it out into the world, on your blog, into a self-published book on Amazon, or in a query to an agent. You wait for the response.
You get a few likes on your blog, maybe a couple lukewarm comments. Your book languishes, sales are weak, nonexistent even. The agents are silent, or worse, dismissive… “Thank you but your work isn’t a good fit for me. Good luck in your journey…”
If you are expecting the usual litany of “think positive”clichés, sorry! You know how I hate that crap! Nevertheless, how do you keep from going under in the floodwaters of writing and publishing?
Remember why you started writing in the first place. Even if your goal is to make a living at this endeavor, your most basic reason for writing has to be because you love it. You have a song to sing, a story to tell, a cause to champion, and so forth. We all want to be appreciated, have readers enjoy what we write. But it is a rare thing to achieve overnight success.
Our world has trained us to expect instant gratification. If we can’t have “it” right now, something is wrong. Writers need to have vision – a long view. Ok, here’s a cliche but an appropriate one: it’s a marathon, not a sprint. A marathon requires setting a pace, having time goals for the splits of the race, refueling at appropriate opportunities… You know what I’m saying? Yes, some faster runners will blow by you. But here’s the cool thing about marathon running: most runners race to achieve a personal best. That’s why thousands of slow runners sign up to participate in marathons. The goal is completion, not winning. So to carry the metaphor back to writing, success can’t be tied to sales, reviews, likes and comments. Success is tied to your personal best. And like a runner who keeps training, you only get better the more you run.
Don’t let your desire for validation derail your dreams. Whatever you write, for whomever you write, on whatever medium you write, remember that you love to write. And that alone makes it worth it.