When You Think You’ll Never Make It
The truth about your writing is that it’s not brilliant. But it’s also not terrible. It’s not worthless. It’s not the best thing ever written. It’s not proof that you should give up. It’s just what you can do right now. It’s a reflection of you, complete with strengths and weaknesses. Thinking about things in terms of black and white, and “never” or “always” statements isn’t very helpful. Don’t tell yourself you’ll “never make it.” Equally, don’t tell yourself that “this is going to make me a millionaire.” Your writing is in progress, like you are. As a writer, you are on a journey. Each manuscript is a way station. It’s not a permanent destination.
When you’re feeling discouraged, here are some things to think about:
1. Many wonderful books are rejected over and over again.
2. You can only get better if you make mistakes and learn from them.
3. Sometimes putting things away for a while is a good idea to get perspective.
4. The sun will come out tomorrow—meaning, get started on the next book. It will be better, I promise.
5. If you believe in a book, keep sending it out. You may be one rejection away from an acceptance.
6. Remember that every genius has detractors. Some people hate Shakespeare. Lots of people hate Jane Austen, my literary hero.
7. No author is perfect. Every author does certain things well, and certain things are left undone or are terrible. Some critics value certain things over others, thus resulting in judgment of certain authors as “the best.”
8. You can give up on something temporarily and go back to it later with a more mature perspective. It may turn out to be workable, with new skills. It may not.
9. When you have people around you who are also brilliant, it is great because it inspires you. It an also be intimidating. Maybe you need to spend some time with regular people?
10. Eat some food, take a nap, and try again.
11. There are things that are more important than writing.
12. There is nothing more important than writing.