(well, I hope it's proper. I feel like I'm getting rusty at this whole blogging thing--but THAT is a topic for another day).
I've recently heard a number of people all say the same thing, and I'm betting it's something that some of you might be feeling as well. And it's something that makes me so sad to hear--even though I understand why they might feel it--because it's simply NOT true, and I hate to see anyone get down on themselves when what they're going through is totally normal. So I thought it was high time I clear the cobwebs and dust bunnies off this blog and step into cheerleader mode.
This is probably the point where I should tell you what it is we're even talking about (again, going back to the whole rusty-at-blogging thing...)
So basically, I've had a ton of friends say something along the lines of....
"I feel like a fraud."
And I realize that needs a little context, so let me explain. The people telling me this are all fellow writers. They're active in the blogosphere and writing forums and various social media outlets. They go to writer's conferences and trade shows and author signings. Most importantly, they read, read, read and write, write, write and revise, revise, revise. And they've been doing all of this for years.
Basically, they're checking off every box on the Things You Should Do If You're Trying To Get Published list. And yet, for whatever reason, they haven't sold a book yet. Maybe they're also still looking for an agent.
And because of that--and because they're so active in the writing community--they feel like a fraud. Like there's some ticking clock determining how long they're allowed to be "aspiring" before they must cross over to "published", and any second someone is going to realize they still don't have a book deal and show them to the door.
I remember feeling the same way when I was struggling to get published. I worked with my agent for more than a year before selling a book, and I used to dread the inevitable moment when a fellow writer would ask me, "What do you write?" because then I'd have to tell them I'm not published yet and they'd of course immediately be disappointed in me and not want to talk to me anymore because I was a big old fraud.
But here's the thing: I wasn't a fraud.
I was just on my journey to publication--and every single writer's journey is different.
And I know you've probably heard that a billion times before, and that it's not all that comforting when your journey has you knee deep in the muck and mire of rejections, meanwhile tons of people you know are skipping past you to Published Authorville. I know it's frustrating and heartbreaking and how easy it is to worry that you're just not good enough and it's never going to happen and maybe you should just give up. And I remember projecting those feelings on everyone else and assuming they were all thinking: go away little wannabe, you're not one of us.
But here's the other thing: No one thinks you're a fraud.
Those of us who are published remember very clearly how hard it is to get published (we all have our own war stories, trust me). And honestly, every day this business is getting tougher and tougher to break into, so those of you working at it right now have it even worse than we did. We also know how much timing and luck can play into getting an agent or a book deal, and that whether you have one is NOT a reflection of your talent. All it means is that you're still on your journey, and we are here to cheer you on as you get there.
I know that doesn't change anything, or make the discouraging part of the publishing journey any easier. But please, PLEASE don't tell yourself that you're a fraud. You are NOT a fraud. The only differences between a published author and an aspiring writer are time and perseverance. Be patient, don't give up, and you WILL get there.
And in the meantime: CUPCAKES!