I’m going to face those fears head-on today.
Writers: this is for you. Because we all need a solid pep talk on occasion, no?
Fear #1: I don’t have the talent. Are you comparing yourself to Stephen King and shrinking away from your own potential?
Here’s what the man himself has to say about that: “Talent is cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work.” —Stephen King.
The 30th President of the United States would agree. “Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not: nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not: the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.”—Calvin Coolidge
Talent is part of the equation, but doesn’t represent the whole picture.
Who says you're not worth it?”—Selena Gomez in the song “Who Says”). Sorry, I’ve been listening to an ungodly amount of Kidz Bop radio as of late.
Seriously, though. Who says you or your writing are not good enough?
You? A whole bunch of literary agents? Your parents? Your so-called friends? Publishers? The Queen of England?
The better question is: who cares? Keep at it. Some say that it takes 10,000 hours to master a skill. The only way you get better at writing is by writing, so don’t give up.
The Harry Potter books have sold more than 450 million copies worldwide, and J.K. Rowling was the first author to become a billionaire. As in BILLIONAIRE!
So, take it from J.K.: don’t sell yourself short. You have potential readers out there.
I repeat: this was Hawkins’ very first published book.
Refine your craft, edit ad nauseum, heed the advice of people with larger-than-usual craniums, and you just may hit that bestseller list.
“Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.”—Albert Schweitzer.
In essence: do what you love and love what you do, and good things will come to you. Continue down that path, don’t stagnate, and you’ll reap the joys of fulfilling your true purpose in life.
It is true that literary agents and publishers want to work with authors with careers ahead of them, rather than a single hit book.
If you’ve written and published a book, chances are, you can do it again. Chances are even greater that you will continue to improve with each piece of writing that you create.
Have a little faith in yourself!
“Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.”—Helen Keller.
I struggle with this myself. Sometimes, when I’m feeling persnickety, I marvel at the unfairness of the fact that even C list celebrities in the public eye are automatically considered for book deals based solely on who they are. Many have memoirs and tell-alls that are ghost-written or, at the very least, heavily edited.
I’ve (begrudgingly) come to accept this reality.
But the existence of celebrity non-writers with published books does NOT negate the need and demand for real writing from real, non-famous people.
Assume that there are people out there who want to read what you have to say.
What did Amanda do? She decided to self-publish one of the many novels that had seen rejection after rejection from traditional publishers over the years.
Her plan panned out. In short: Amanda more than funded her $300 super fan trip to the Jim Henson exhibit.
Amanda has made millions of dollars by self-publishing her work. Her persistence has paid off, big time.
“Sometimes I'd say: 'I'm done, I'm never going to write another book,' but then a couple of months later I'd have another idea and I'd start again. This time it was bound to work."—Amanda Hocking.
Some days, your writing may feel like this:
“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”
― Ernest Hemingway
Other days, it may feel more like this:
“You never have to change anything you got up in the middle of the night to write.”
― Saul Bellow
But always remember this:
“After nourishment, shelter and companionship, stories are the thing we need most in the world.”
― Philip Pullman
Writers, keep on writing!
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