Friday, January 24, 2014

In it for the long haul....

Let me just say this. Being a writer is hard. In fact, it's down right torture sometimes.

Truth. It IS inconceivable that people actually choose this path. But we select few are a special breed.

A few days ago my wife sent me a link to this post on Chuck Wendig's incredible blog "Terribleminds" (now if you haven't been on this blog before, go do so now.) It was a guest post by author Kameron Hurley who talks about the struggles of becoming a writer, and actually just maintaining that career path. It's far from the fun and games some people might think it is.

Here's the link, so do yourself a favor and read this before reading mine and you'll understand why I had to write this post.

LINK --> On Persistence, And The Long Con Of Being A Successful Writer

As you guessed, this is going to be a little bit of a serious blog post. SHOCKING! I know, right? Coming from me, there really isn't much seriousness. I'm one of the biggest goof balls I know ( I think Brooks and I are tied actually..because we're that CRAAAAAAZYYYY).

Occasionally, it seems when I talk to my fellow writers I encounter moments of "Maybe I should just give up.", or "Is this right for me?" Trust me, folks. I think like this sometimes too. We all do. Even those who don't ADMIT that they've had these thoughts, have them. It's just the way things are in this crazy writing world of ours.

So I wanted to take this cold, blustery, Friday morning in the end of January to try to boost everyone's morale and let you know that if you're in the long haul with me, then by God we are going to take this writing world by storm.

Thanks, Westley. I couldn't have said it better myself, especially since it's true. Especially in the writing world you need to expect, and in fact anticipate a lot of downfalls.

From manuscripts being locked away in a drawer for all eternity, to the seemingly endless rejection e-mails during our dreaded query process, and the all so common stress of writers block and wanting to tear up your MS. These events will happen. And they will bring us down.

The sad part about it, is that our friends and family typically don't understand why we are down and out all the time. They don't understand the process and it's grueling nature. They think, "oh, you just wrote a book? So just get a publisher or something. Or publish it yourself." If ONLY it were that easy.

It took me ages to explain to my wife and my family the process I've been going through. They originally thought it's 1...2...3....BOOM I'm an AUTHOR! No, sorry. I wish it was that easy but I have years ahead of me still.

Being an author is a love / hate relationship. There are days when we absolutely love the words we've put on the page and think to ourselves, this is it. I HAVE A WINNER. Then there are days where we don't even want to THINK about touching our manuscript, since it's absolute garbage.

But I also think it's these feelings that make writing more rewarding than most other "hobbies." For me anyway, that's what I think it is. Just like my artwork. It's a means of expressing and entertaining myself, and if I'm lucky enough, I get to entertain other people with my work. It's a hobby for me. I love doing it, and not because I want to make millions off it (wouldn't hurt? LoL).

So, I'll say this too. If you're writing for the money, you need to change your mindset. You need to write because you love it. Because it's your passion. And if you're thinking of giving up just because it's too hard to get into the industry, or because you're not making the big bucks, then maybe it's not for you. You need to be able to sit down, and write for hours on end without even the thought of being the next J.K. Rowling popping into your head.

You need to write because you want people to hear your story. You want to share your thoughts and ideas with the world. And you don't care if you make a dime from it. You need to love all of it. Even the bad.

Well, that was rude. Anyway, I want to end this little rant with a little story. The reason why I love to write, and this just happened to me recently. I had just sent off my newest MG MS called "Lucas Peregrinus and the Escape from Manuki Island" to a couple of my most esteemed beta readers. I wasn't expecting much, especially since I know the MS is still in it's early stages. But I love the book, and I love the idea, and I was really hoping they would feel the same.

Less than a week later, I receive an e-mail back from one of my betas. She had given the manuscript to her 13 y/o son who apparently devoured the book in no time flat. The first thing that came out of his mouth was, "I can't wait for the next one!"

She had told me that he wasn't too patient when it came to reading books, and easily shoots most of them down. But with my MS he actually had to stop reading since it gotten so late and his dad forced him to turn off the lights. I asked for his feedback, and the amount of things he had to say about my MS that were positive made my week. In fact, it made my year. I'm not going to lie when I say this, but someone must have been cutting onions nearby.

It's moments like that, that make me so glad to be a writer. Someone, in my target audience, loved my work. A work, that I KNOW isn't even close to being perfect. But there I had it. Proof that I was doing something write. Proof that writing was the way to go for me.

So, I tell you this fellow writers. If you love writing...if you REALLY love writing, you will not let the little things such as rejections, or harsh critiques get to you. Because you'll know, deep down, that this is what you want to do. And you want the world to see what you're made of, one word at a time.