Attitude—Either It Will Make You or It Will Break You

laptopcup-pubdom**Disclaimer: If you’re easily offended by irreverent humor or blunt ways of speaking, proceed with caution.**

A writer’s frame of mind has much bearing on the degree of success he or she has. I’m not speaking of divas with lots of arrogant swagger. I’m talking about what you want for your career. How you view what you’re doing and writing. What your outlook is on the entire publishing to promotion process (heh, how’s that for an alliteration? Pah, pah, pah…P!)

Sorry, I had a nervous tick.

Anyway, how DO you perceive your career? Or, for that matter, if you’re an aspiring writer, what do you see for yourself in a year’s time? Five? Ten years down the road?

Seems like a no-brainer, doesn’t it? Well, if you’ve been in this business for a while, most of you will quickly tell newbies to develop a thick—ahem, bulletproof!—skin. I’m not trying to discourage anyone, but I am honest. Publishing is easy to get into, but success, whether monetary or fan based, is incredibly difficult and time-consuming. If you’re a seasoned writer, you’re well aware of this and probably commiserate with one another while cussing under your breath.

Or sobbing on your keyboard.

Or eyeing the liquor cabinet.

Or breaking said keyboard (yeah, you’re not fooling me. I know you have thirty-nine of them in the closet under the stairs).

Or calling your best friend and complaining until you know their eyes are glazing over.

Or…well, you get the idea. An aspiring writer should never enter this business with stars in his eyes. If he does, he’s setting himself up for a big fall. Ever watch America’s Got Talent, American Idol or perhaps the X-Factor? Do you sympathize with those people who walk off stage then burst into tears or, at the very least, they wear a someone-ran-over-my-dog expression? It’s the same for anyone in any sort of entertainment field—publishing included. Also, with the Internet so accessible, all the e-publishers that pop up in cyberspace like morning howdie-dos, and the ease of self-publishing, the competition has gone from simply fierce to “Hey, look out for that speeding train! Uh…does someone have a mop?”

Okay, maybe I’ve painted a really grim scene. Seriously, though, instant success stories are rare. Most of the authors out there who rake in money have spent years building a fan base and establishing a solid, lengthy backlist. They’ve pounded the pavement, waving their books at stores and rubbing elbows with anyone who will even spit in their direction. If you’re new to publishing, don’t expect money to shower down on you the instant your e-book goes on sale. Once your work is placed out there for the masses, brace yourself for impact. New authors are confronted with things they don’t expect, shaking their confidence and sending them on a journey to raid every store in the city for tubs of Ben and Jerry’s.

I’m being a smart aleck, of course, but my point is that one shouldn’t expect instant stardom. Just write.

Write because you must.

Write because it makes you happy to pound out words, turning them into plots and richly detailed characters.

Write because it’s fun.

Write to leave something behind for your kids or grandchildren (except for erotic content, which you might wanna will to the girls at the office).

Write because it relieves daily stress (and to keep you from whacking your partner over the head with his laptop when he asks you for the nineteenth time when supper will be done).

Write because you have something to say.

And, write because you want to be a well-known author someday.

But on this last one, remember that success takes time.

Maintain a good attitude. Sure, we all have our off days. You might receive a rejection that ticks you off so much you go outside and flip off your crabby next-door neighbor just for the heck of it. If so, shake it off, chill for a while, then get back in that desk chair and submit that story or article to another publication. Like any other job, there will be ups and downs on a daily basis.

When someone insults your work, don’t smash the computer screen. Those touch screens are expensive. Instead, realize that everyone has an opinion and most of them stink, so let it roll, baby, let it roll. Like water off a duck’s back, it means nothing in the end except that you got a little wet.

Never take something to heart. If you do, cry or vent, but do NOT spend more than half an hour worrying about it. Life is too short and the point of writing is that you love it. Don’t stress over something that will mean nothing in the end. If you let every little thing about writing and publishing bother you, why are you writing at all? Think about it.


Please pass along the link to the AWH blog.

Avoid Writer’s Hell: Publishing Flame RepellantsAWH

Great for writers at any stage in their careers and for students too. R-Rated and PG-13 versions in both print and e-book. Take a moment and check it out.

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