Don’t Think You Are, Know You Are
It’s not an easy business, this ‘writing thing’. Lonely it can be, and without your own personal cheerleaders bringing it on every day, you often feel like throwing in the towel. But you should know that authors of every diversity and skill level suffer this very same isolation and ennui early in their careers.
Those who endure, who fight through it to varying degrees and interpretations of success, have discovered the same few secrets to staying positive while struggling. Though learned through experience, you can discover and begin employing these same secrets and tips right now.
I’m sharing these with you now because I want you to succeed. Why suffer when there are methods for staying positive, ways to save yourself depression, stave off frustration, and endure till the glorious day you see that orange line spike in the Reports section of your Amazon Kindle Sales page, or when you open your email to find a literary agent has requested your work.
So here are 5 tips for staying positive while building your writing career:
- Start working on something new immediately after submitting query letters or publishing an eBook or starting an AMS ad campaign.
- Recognize that all writing is read subjectively. No work is universally loved, not Lord of the Rings, not Song of Ice and Fire, not even the Bible. There will always be haters. You don’t write for them.
- Love what you are doing. If you aren’t feeling that inner passion for your current work, perhaps it is not what you are meant to write. Move on to something that ignites the fires of writerly passion. For passion fosters skill and skill quality work.
- Study success stories, and know that even the greatest successes in our business took years to achieve their success. ‘Debut’ novels are rarely ever the first manuscript that ‘debut novelist’ wrote.
- Eat, drink, exercise and indulge in hobbies that have seemingly nothing to do with writing. Taking time for these gifts will (1) enhance your writing (2) make you appreciate your writing time and (3) keep body and mind functioning at peak levels.
Remember: For the real novelist, everything in life and everyone you meet offer potential inspiration, material, and insight for your burgeoning career.
Referring to the firs tip above: as revealed in the writing guide Take it to the Bank, when you submit your work or self-publish or start an ad campaign, you don’t want to just sit there twiddling your thumbs and hoping ‘this is the one that’ll kickstart my career’.
That’s a death card, a move likely to invite the depression monster, that hideous dark killer of hope and joy. So after submitting, immediately begin work on your next project of love. This will keep your mind active and make you feel as if you are moving forward—which you are.
That forward momentum is key to keeping positive mojo going in your career.
Make no mistake: There is a huge learning curve in writing. No shortcuts here. Don’t let the years of hard lonely work bog you down. It takes time to conquer this mountain and arrive at its summit. And we all have different summits, different ways of getting there, and only those who keep climbing (even in the cold desolate landscape) and who keep chipping away at the icy face of their mountain, ever reach the top.
Others did it. Others are doing it. There’s no reason you can’t do it too.
I know it seems sometimes like nothing works for you. But writers like Rowling felt the same way, living in poverty, lonely with life’s hard issues stomping her into the ground. She kept at it, hacking away at her mountain.
When that glorious day arrives for you and your work to step into the sun up there, it will all be worth it.