After a few detours, I’m comfortable on my writing path. In her recent blog post, Chris King called my decision to publish my first novel a “display of bravery”. I’ll accept that, but I’ll be honest enough to qualify it. It does, for each writer, take a degree of bravery to share your writing with others, to risk ridicule or indifference as well as praise and enthusiasm. But for me, a degree of impulsivity also contributed to the decision.
Where do you expect your writing path to lead you? Or more to the point, where do you really want that path to lead you? Someone may have asked me that before I published, I don’t remember, but I’m certain I never considered the question with the sincerity it deserved.
At various times throughout my life, I dreamed of being a rich and famous author—not that I was writing a book at those times. My dreams were sparked by reading good books and imagining that I could write like that. Eventually, I did write a novel and I believed it was good enough to publish. I dreamed of getting a top agent who would sell it to a major publisher who would pour massive resources into propelling it to the top of the bestseller lists. In other words, I would be rich and famous.
Of course, that didn’t happen. Neither is it likely to. Why? Judged on the quality of writing, I believe The Brevity of Roses could hold its own against any midlist novel. And I believe I have the talent to write a potential bestseller. What I’m missing is the personality to make that potential a reality. As stupid as it sounds, I never really considered that part while I dreamed of seeing my name at #1.
I’m not an expert on this personality, but I do believe I lack certain aspects of it. I don’t have what it takes to join writer’s groups and organizations, attend seminars and conferences, enter contests, submit my work at every opportunity, guest post on blogs, “work” Twitter and Facebook, etc., etc., etc. In other words, I lack the drive and self-assurance to do whatever it takes, in a positive way, to make connections and gain name recognition in the publishing world.
Though writing requires a good degree of seclusion, that doesn’t mean all writers are introverts. Certainly, not all writers are hermits like I am. Some of you are comfortable in a group of strangers—instead of praying that some non-life-threatening emergency will arise to rescue you. Some of you could stand in front of a large audience and speak coherently—instead of breaking into a sweat and quivering to a heap behind the podium. Some of you … well, let’s just say, some of you are the opposite of me.
So, consider your personality before choosing your career path. You might avoid the wasted time and effort trying to attain—or the shock and regret of attaining—an unsuitable goal. For sure, if you’re a writer like I am, you’ll save yourself the frustration, bitterness, and envy of seeing yourself as a “failure” before recognizing you actually have the kind of success that’s perfect for you.
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