How I Feel After Researching Publications, As Told Through a Metaphor

So this morning I was, once again, trying to research what it’s going to take to publish my novel successfully, and what I need to do for it. And, once again, I really only felt disheartened after that research.

For those of you who are in the same position, or have been in this position before, I’m sure you’ll understand my sentiment:

Some days, it feels like writing a novel is like your car skidding out of control. You feel like it’s probably going to end badly, but you try to get the car back under your control anyway. And honestly, even knowing how fatal a crash might be, you don’t even think of bailing out of the side.

For those of you who haven’t reached this point in your novel-writing yet, allow me to elaborate. Some people write books as a side project that they do when they have spare time in their busy lives. Me? I’ve always wanted to be an author. I’ve been trying to write stories since I was old enough to read them. And yet, I don’t understand the publication process. It’s complicated, and I’ve never been through it before. Some days, it can feel like everything would be so much easier if there was just one simple solution, but of course there isn’t. Not if I want to be truly successful. (I suppose, continuing on with the metaphor, slamming on the brakes would be a good comparison. And, of course, from what I understand, that simple solution is something you don’t want to do when you’re skidding out of control.)

It’s disheartening to realize that there are a large number of books out there, and the small number of people who actually have time to pause their busy lives long enough to read one or two of them. And if I don’t have people who can read my novels, what’s the point?

I’ll tell you what the point is. There’s this pesky little critter called “Hope”. And it’s only pesky when it’s unhelpful, when there’s no reason to be hopeful. So I’m trying very hard to continue doing my research, however much I dislike it, so that I have a plan to accompany my hope. After all, hope itself will not be enough to get me where I want to go.

So if it’s so complicated and difficult, and so hard to catch a break in the present-day author’s market, why bother? Why not just step away and do something where I’m more likely to make some real money? The answer is simple. Writing is my life. Continuing the car crash metaphor, I’ve been so intent on making writing my career that to bail out could end just as catastrophically as not bailing out. And, at least if I stay, there’s a chance that I’ll be able to bring the car to heel.

I’ve been applauded on several occasions for being so certain about what I want to do with my life, and I took the compliment even knowing that sometimes that certainty could be a curse. I have no back-up plans worth mentioning, except perhaps using my writing skills as an editor or what-have-you. I don’t know what I’ll do, financially, if my writing career crashes and burns. But I do know that I’m going to keep writing, because that’s just what I do and that’s just who I am.

If that’s not enough to encourage myself to keep doing the research, I don’t know what is.


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