People sit down and try to write a novel for a lot reasons. For some it is a compulsion that they’ve had since childhood, others just to see if they can. For a lot of people there is a misguided perception that it’s easy. Because I’m telling you, it’s not. Not easy to write a good novel, anyway. It’s hard work.
Writers are dreamers with stars in their eyes. I think for a lot of us, when we sit down to write our first novel dream about selling it, getting an agent, getting a huge advance, throwing away the day job and living off being a writer. Not to mention getting on the New York Times Bestseller list.
It happens in a whirlwind for a few writers, but for a lot it doesn’t. And that’s hard for a writer to swallow when they first find out.
The reason I am saying all this is because I came across two fantastic blog posts that I want to share with you about the realities of being a writer. This is something you need to know if your are seriously thinking about perusing this.
First up I read this post from Chuck Wendig titled ‘It Takes The Time It Takes.’
He is referred to as an overnight success, but in reality he had been writing for 20 years.
He says “This sh*t takes time. It takes input. It takes other people. It takes self-evaluation. It takes knowing when a book is wrong and when to dust off your hands because it’s right. It’s about not worrying about getting to perfect because no such thing exists.
Your writing career will be long. Lots of peaks and valleys. Lots of digging in dirt, lots of learning “wax-on, wax-off,” not sure how waxing a f**king car will teach you goddamn karate. Lots of living to do, lots of reading to do. A world of thinking, what feels like literal tons of doubt pushing down on your neck and shoulders. And, obvious to some but not obvious to all:
It’ll take a lot of writing.
Every writer is her own creature, and every book a monster child different from the last.
A writing career isn’t a short game — it’s a long con.
You should always be writing, but never be hurrying.
It takes the time that it takes.”
And then Kameron Hurley wrote a guest posts on Chuck’s blog about her experience as a writer here.
She has the word Persistence pasted to her laptop, which has been there since she first started out. It’s a good reminder to have. Because if you want to do this, this is what you’ve got to have. Read the post and you’ll find out all the things she had to go through to get where she is, things that would have easily made others give up, but she was persistent.
Rejection will come hard and fast and feel never ending. And it will hurt, but it will make you stronger. I take rejection better than I did when I was first starting out, it still hurts, but the sting is less severe. I don’t let myself wallow in misery either, I get over it and keep writing. Because if I’m not writing I definitely won’t ever get an acceptance.
So if you’re a writer dreaming of big things and over night success and you are becoming impenitent and you just wish it would happen already! Don’t give up. If writing is what you want to do, the only thing you can do. Be persistent and be ready for the long hall.
It’s not going to be easy, but in the end it’s worth it. You might be destined for the New York Times bestseller list, you might not, don’t let go of your dreams, but be prepared. Write everyday, write for the joy of it, for the ache of it, write for your own sanity, because those who succeed are those who don’t give up.