I don’t know many other professions as swollen with dashed hopes and rejection as that of a writer. Even those who seem to make it may only be a flash in the pan. The rest of us struggle to get published, then have sales, then sell another book, and on and on.
Yet writers, they don’t give up. Success stories are often after years of despair. Overnight success brought on by decades of hard work. Stephen King recounts the story of his wife fishing the “Carrie” manuscript out of his trash in his bible for writers, “On Writing.” In the face of failure, writers press on.
To be fair, many press on for more failure and despair. The advent of electronic publishing houses and more accessible self publishing options make publication more possible than ever, but success is measured on a writer’s own barometer. A writer may feel successful just getting work out there, but others may measure their success in other, unforeseen ways. Published authors can despair over sales, reviews, or wring their hands about selling a second book. The barometer of success constantly changes.
Many never see any success at all. They query with no bites or hold back in fear of failure. Yet, a few brave souls continue to write the stories gelling in their heads, in spite of the impossible odds. They write multiple books that take up space in their heads and on their hard drives, hoping one day those stories will be embraced by loving readers. It is no small thing to write a book. Some estimate it takes 6 to 18 months to polish a novel. In my experience, it often takes years. That is a long time to work on a project that could have no reward.
But writers do it, and they keep doing it, and I am glad they do. All that work, and self examination, and experimentation, and failure, and criticism and thinking all the time about the story and how to make it better add to the lesson on the craft of storytelling. The perseverance to not only complete a manuscript, but make it sing is a mighty effort. We all like to believe that hard work will lead to achieving a goal, a success. It may, it may not, or it may lead the writer to adjust the barometer.
Never give up.