They say you need to have tough skin to be a writer. What they should really tell you is that you need armour – strong stuff – all over you, not just on your skin, but on your heart as well.
It’s a hard business. But you know that. So why do we do it?
Honestly, I don’t know.
I used to write purely for the joy of it. The thrill of creating people and worlds and things that no one else could was better than anything. It let me escape. It made me think there was more to the world than anyone knew, and if I just kept writing, someone else might get a glimpse of what was beyond as well. Super dramatic stuff.
I really thought I had hit the jackpot when I was signed with my agent.
Finally, I thought, at the ripe old age of eighteen, my dreams are going to come true.
And in a way, they did. Pretty soon after, I got a deal with a small press in America. Published while still a teenager – the ultimate goal. Or so I believed. But life had a shitty lesson in store for me, when the ‘dream’ deal with the publisher began turning into dust before my eyes. Communication was slow, the promised five free copies never came, the final draft was riddled with typos, the cover was weirdly skewed. I kept hope though. And as friends and family began buying and reading, that hope grew.
It would soon, however, be shattered.
The publisher was shutting down. My rights were returned. My baby was out of print after only being IN print for a month.
That’s fine though, I told myself, now twenty years old and obviously running out of time to keep my dream alive, we’ll just find a new publisher, a bigger one, and everything will work out!
I revamped the whole story – editing and editing like I was trying to find a gem in a piece of coal until it was the same stone, only shinier. Something worthy of being called a diamond.
Turns out once something has been published once, it becomes a lot less desirable.
So goodbye first baby, hello second child.
According to anyone who read it, my second book was better. It had more action, more world-building, more of everything. I even started believing it myself.
But now there was a new dilemma in my road to success – the market. Aka what’s hot and what’s not, and my work? Not hot.
Who the hell even decides that anyway? I don’t know. All I do know is that I have two books forged from my blood, sweat, and self-doubt, that may not ever be published, and a third work in progress that is suffering from this spiral of doubt and fear that keeps winding around my creativity.
But this isn’t why I started writing. When I was ten, handwriting my first ever ‘novel’ (of 500 words), was I contemplating how many sales it was going to have? Or what the competition in the current market was?
No. I did it because it made me happy.
That brings me to now.
Twenty-One, practically ancient, and re-learning how to fall in love with my passion again.