Kris and Dean continue to provide lots of good advice and information for authors.
From Kristine Kathryn Rusch:
Writers disappear because they get discouraged.
It’s really easy to discourage a writer. Writers are a fascinating mix of insecurity and ego. The ego comes in believing that they have something to say, something that the world needs or wants to hear. The insecurity comes from everything else.
From parents who want their child to do something “practical,” to teachers who take it upon themselves to dismiss the less “talented” among their students, to the editors/agents/publishers who reject with forms, the entire world (it seems) exists to tell writers they shouldn’t follow their dreams and they should get a “real” job.
It’s taken me decades to say to people, “Hey, my job is real. It’s just unusual.”
There’s also an attitude, particularly among professional writers, that writers who can be discouraged should be discouraged. My reaction to that sentence, which I first heard from one of the professional writers teaching during my year as a student at the Clarion Writers Workshop, was a reader’s reaction. Why should voices be silenced? What if those voices have interesting things to say or great stories to tell? Just because a writer isn’t “tough” by another writer’s definition doesn’t mean she’s not worthy of the profession itself.
Still, those instructors have one valid point: writing is hard. Not on the rocket-science/brain-surgery side of hard or on the twelve-hours-of nonstop-manual-labor side of hard, but on the invent-your-own-path-and-survive kind of hard. It takes a tough person to handle the continual ups and downs of the profession.
. . . .
What can discourage a writer?
I think the most common thing is the constant negativity inbred into the profession. Writers get told from the beginning that their dream is impractical, or they’re not good enough, or they should be writing “art,” or they should make money first or…or…or…
Then the writer achieves a goal—she sells her first short story to a major market or her first article gets published. Usually those endeavors sink without a mention, and the writer must repeat the success somehow.
Or the first book comes out and mingled among the good reviews are negative ones. Writers train themselves to hear the negative only—how else will I improve? they think—and don’t realize that the negative reviewers might be responding to taste.
. . . .
Writers who get discouraged never understand what success they’ve already had. They don’t know that most people who call themselves writers never finish a novel or market a short story. They don’t know that the first sale is a triumph, whether that sale is to a major magazine or a sale to an unknown reader through an e-reading device.
They don’t understand that ten positive reviews of their first novel mean so much more than any negative review.
And they don’t understand the journey. A writing career isn’t a destination. It’s not one sale or twenty. It’s about a lifetime of sales, about writing more books, stories, poems, and articles than you can remember in any one sitting.
. . . .
Indie writers get discouraged when they realize how much work this profession actually is. More than one book? More than one cover? What about ten books that don’t sell well? What about twenty?
Those writers have to look to their skill level, their book package, and their expectations. Some writers will strike it rich by publishing their own books, but most writers won’t.
Like traditional writers, indie writers need to be in this profession for the love of writing, and when something—or someone—steals that love away from the writer, the writer has to do whatever it takes to recover the love. Sometimes that’s writing something that’s just for the writer; sometimes it’s avoiding writers workshops or reading reviews; sometimes it’s several years of therapy.
More writers quit because they get discouraged than for any other reason. And often, it’s not a conscious decision; they gradually stop and don’t notice for years. The readers notice, though. To them, the writer has disappeared.
Link to the rest at Kristine Kathryn Rusch