The thought that I’m insane and should pursue a career that doesn’t stomp on my pride or demolish my ego has crossed my mind a few times since giving up on the comforts of full-time corporate employment. As a writer you have hopes of fame and fortune to comfort you at times, but every once in a while doubt gnaws at your mind.
As a writer discouragement is a constant companion. You face rejections. My friend and mentor Jack Canfield had to go through 144 (!) rejections before he found a publishing home for Chicken Soup for the Soul. While writing your manuscript you spend time, money and energy with no guarantee of financial gain (and even after you’re published, you still face rejections and spend time, money and energy with no guarantee of financial gain). You endure looks of healthy disdain from people when you reveal you’re a writer.
If rejections make you want to bang your head against the wall, writing is painful and the thought of another damn story or topic swimming in your head makes you nauseous – Stop. Now. Especially if you’re constantly depressed and feel like you’re on the verge of madness. It isn’t worth your sanity and publishing isn’t an industry that is concerned with keeping you sane. If you’re one of those writers who simply can’t stop, there’s help. Here are five reasons to stay a writer:
You don’t have to submit your work.
There’s no obligation for a writer to share their work with editors and critics (Emily Dickinson is a fine example). You can write for the pleasure of it. If you do wish to publicize your work, you can self-publish. However, you don’t need to be published to be a writer. Validation is great, creation divine. Create, explore, indulge! Be free. Write.
When you die, there is a distinct possibility that your unpublished works will be discovered, you’ll be proclaimed a genius, your books will be translated into many languages both live and dead, turned into a film every few decades and inspire legions of writers who are obscure and writing anyway. If you don’t write, there will be nothing to discover.
Remember that teacher who bloodied your beloved essays with red marks? That scathing critique partner with ‘helpful advice?’ That insolent editor who didn’t even bother to send a form rejection, but scribbled ‘No thanks’ on your query? Well, write to show the bastards! Strong emotions are a great motivation to write. Write to prove them wrong.
We need stories.
Naturally, literary snobs would beg to differ, thinking literature is being polluted by uneducated neophytes who have the audacity to write because they have the ability to type their names. I couldn’t disagree more and encourage you to tell your stories in your voice. No copycats please. It doesn’t matter if your prose doesn’t ring like Jane Austen, echo like J. California Cooper, bellow like Mark Twain, sing like JK Rowling’s or linger like Anne Lamott’s. We need stories to survive. Help us.
As a writer, you get to determine your success.
Writing can afford you big and little successes. The poem that brought a smile to your friend’s face, the essay that saved the front page of the neighborhood newsletter, the short story that helped a lonely teenager through a hard time, the novel that opened someone’s mind to a new way of thinking.
Okay, so you may never hit the bestseller’s list, win a National Book Award or any award for that matter. Perhaps only the sky will know your gifts. You’re living a dream few people allow themselves to experience. They talk about writing–some very loudly–but few do it. The world bends to those who proclaim who they are without apology (okay it doesn’t actually bend, but it does bow a little).
Because you must.
That’s reason enough for me. I don’t have a style or voice that many know and my work isn’t breaking any sales records (yet…). There are times I want to throw up my hands and say, “Enough! I quit!” And the world sighs with relief, and I sigh feeling in control of my future. I stand up from my desk determined never to return. Then, while walking my dog, a little voice in my head plants a seed for another story, another chapter, another book…
Looking for some help along the way? Why not join my writing program “Write a Book in a Week”? Writing a book and becoming a bestseller are a lot easier when you apply the right system.www.writeabookinaweek.com
Wilko van de Kamp Author | Artist | Advisor
Hi, I’m Wilko van de Kamp, creator of Liberty Training Academy and author of the Freedom Project book series. For more than 15 years, I have helped people and their companies achieve their own results beyond their goals. I work with authors, coaches and experts to build their brand to become a #1 industry influencer and increase their impact on the communities they serve. We focus on every aspect of personal brand building through technology and storytelling, with a relentless focus on accelerating the achievement of their personal, professional and financial goals. And I would love to do the same for you! To get a conversation started, please text me directly at 587-417-2697.