I've been thinking about this post for a long time, trying to figure out how to say what I want to say. Because the thing is, this is exactly the kind of post I try not to write.
We're taught not to put anything negative online. Not to vent or complain or express fear or doubt. It could make us look bad. Make our books look bad. Maybe make us seem unprofessional or ungrateful for how far we've come, or what we have. And I agree with that. All of it.
But at the same time...when all you see is positivity and strength coming from all the other writers, it can make you feel like you're the only one struggling or doubting, or worrying. The only one stressed or frustrated. And it can make you wonder, what's wrong with me? Why is this harder for me than everyone else?
And the truth is: it isn't.
This business is hard--for everyone. I didn't know it until I made friends with writers, talked to them offline, one on one. Then the truth came out. And it made me feel so much better because I realized I wasn't alone. So I wanted to share what I learned with you guys, in case you haven't had the chance to get that kind of honesty.
Here's the reality: writers worry.
They worry they will never finish writing their book. That their critique partners will hate it. That an agent will never represent them.
When they have an agent, they worry that they chose the wrong one. Or that their agent will decide to drop them if they don't nail the revision, or sell right away. They worry their agent will hate their next project.
When they sell their book they worry that their editor won't like their revision when they turn it in. That they'll hate their cover art. That their publisher won't give them enough promotional support. That their book won't sell. That people will give it terrible reviews. That no one will show up for their signings. That they will miss the deadline for their next book. That they will never sell another book again.
And sometimes, those things happen. Writers change agents for one reason or another. Projects get shelved after months on sub without selling. Writers get notes from their agent or editor that they disagree with and think: what am I going to do? Sometimes they hate their cover art. Or they struggle with their next book--sometimes even missing a deadline or two. Or they turn in the draft and their editor hates it. Books fail to earn out. They get bad reviews.
It happens and it sucks. Writers cry and lose sleep and wonder why the heck they're going through all of this. They even consider giving up sometimes.
But here's the lesson: THEY DON'T GIVE UP.
They keep going. They turn to their friends (offline) and share their woes and lean on each other and keep going. Because yes, this is a tough business. But writers need to write. It's part of who we are. (One of the primary reasons why I'm convinced writers are all a tad masochistic :) ). It's HARD. But it's also what we love to do. And for every bad, stressful day there are wonderful days. And for every scary, negative experience there are wonderful experiences.
So don't worry that you're the only one to get discouraged or struggle--we're all right there with you! We might not talk about it on our blogs or Twitter (and you shouldn't either). But we are there with you. We know what you are feeling. We feel it too.
Don't give up. Don't think there's something wrong with you. This is all part of the journey. Just dust yourself off and keep going because you will get where you want to be. There will be good days to replace the bad.
And do yourself a favor: make some writer friends and get together sometimes. Commiserate and share and laugh (and maybe drink some alcohol if you're so inclined). You will feel SO much better. Remember the key: you are not alone. And you WILL get through this.
Need more proof? Let's see if I can drag it out of people in the comments. Let's be vaguely honest for once. Have any of you struggled on your journey toward (or through) publication? Raise your hand if you have!