Some days, it gets old. When publishers use online resources to gather your submissions, but then can’t be bothered to offer the same courtesy in order to let you know you didn’t make it. When rejection letters are so generic and yet positive as to be, quite frankly, depressing beyond belief. The long periods when you sit around, ignorant and clueless, no idea if your work has been chosen, or even if it’s been read. Then, to add insult to injury, some famous writer turns up in your Social media mentions before preaching from their position of wealth and success, telling you to never give up.
Yes, you will continue to fail, but not nearly as much as you think.
There’s a lot of virtual fatigue around these parts of late: whether you’ve had enough of the news coverage, political turmoil, the naysayers almost joyfully predicting the Apocalypse has already arrived… none of this is any help at all when the future, at least for you, is tied to a bunch of people who don’t seem to care one iota about what you’ve done, until suddenly they decide they can make money from it.
That’s the key to breaking the control such things have on creativity; this is not about what you’re writing to make money. Of course it would help, and we all need to be careful of the promises made to ourselves and others when such lofty claims are thrown about. In the end, writing has to be about deriving pleasure from the action. You need to find the means by which development takes place, allowing creativity to move forward. Without this, there is stagnation, and ultimately depression.
The key, of course, is to keep trying. The mark of the best writers is the undiminished enthusiasm for all forms of their craft, regardless of their situation. In my mind, the famous writers sitting on social media, telling others how to succeed are doing it wrong. There, I said it. There are rules, sure, and there are processes certainly, but the best way isn’t what somebody else tells you to do. It’s the way you feel happiest. Learning is incredibly subjective, and if you’re struggling with difficulty in that department, it can feel like an uphill slog.
It’s become an industry out here of coaches, supporters, service industries you can’t live without: programmes for editing and grammar, insistence you need to have never published online, that virtual books are somehow less important than their paper counterparts… and the list goes on. In the end, your individual version of success will vary. Other people will only consider you successful when you earn money from your writing. Personal satisfaction, growth and evolution become completely irrelevant.
Those people are wrong, too.
In the end, you do feel everything, like it or not. Good and bad, capable or otherwise. As you continue to fail, success can seem a lifetime away, if all you define progress upon is the validation of others. This is my (by now daily) reminder that they don’t matter. I do. This is my journey and not theirs, and although their intervention affects progress, it will never be the best reward. That comes every time someone thanks me for a post, or enjoys a poem. This is the stuff that cannot be bought.
This is the true satisfaction derived from the written word.