One year ago, I’d only just completed The Hidden. One year ago, I only knew one author. One year ago, that one author told me she loved my book. I seriously can’t believe how far I’ve come since then. Really, in this sloooooow business of writing, you can only hold on to the little wins and celebrate them as you go, because the big wins (agent contract/publishing contract) are few and far between.
I suggest you reflect upon your little and big wins to put into perspective just how far you’ve come and what you’ve achieved.
In just one year, I got accepted into a prestigious writing course out of a lot of people (big win), I created a website focusing on writing (little win), I’ve now interviewed heaps of authors from all over the world, bestselling, debuts, authors with many books under their belt, and built relationships with most of them (big wins). I have found an agent (big win) and written half of the sequel to The Hidden (little win). I’ve almost completed another stand alone novel (big win). I’ve joined a writers group with some amazing authors and been invited into it (big win). It’s all happened fairly quickly, too.
What’s so funny is how we struggle to celebrate the wins that happen before we reach the goal of securing a publisher. Most writers are so hell-bent on focusing on the deal with the publisher, signing THAT contract and being able to say you’re now a real-life writer, that we fail to recognise the awesome things that happen along the way: the relationships we build, the people we meet, the information we learn, the knowledge we gain through writing courses and writing friends. The feedback and rejections that add to our writing. Writing and rewriting and starting something fresh and new. Each of these little wins are stepping stones to our goals and sometimes the journey there is just as vital, if not MORE vital than just submitting a book and finding a home for it a week later.
This isn’t like any other job. Most jobs out there require a degree, studying, exams and a certificate which means now you can go and get the job you’ve studied for. But like any creative work, whether it be art, music or writing, creatives want control over the future of our work and unfortunately the only time we have control over our work is when we’re producing it. The other business of attracting agents, publishers and sales is all down to timing, taste, opinion, and a great relationships with the people championing your book. You see, you really cannot tell if an agent or publisher is going to like your book, let alone love it. And you really cannot tell whether a reader will either. Like all creative work, selling yourself or your product is all down to subjective opinion. It means it’s out of your hands.
Still, I don’t think we need to believe that we have achieved success once we’ve signed a contract. I’ve started feeling successful every time I connect with another writer, get feedback from a rejection that propels me further into my work, rewrite a shitty scene that now shines, complete the first draft of a manuscript.
It’s a sloooow journey to “the finish line”. But like all things in life, enjoy and celebrate the journey while you’re travelling. Relax. Have patience. Celebrate each win. And let go.
I hope this lifts your spirits.