Navigating the Rocky Road of a Writer’s Life

Being a writer is wonderful and fulfilling, yet filled with ups and downs.

Along the Scenic Drive at Capitol Reef National Park, Utah courtesy of JR P

It is a gift to be able to share the crazy characters that take up residence in our heads and demand we tell their stories. It’s gratifying when a publisher decides that our story is worthy of being shared with the world. However, it is more rewarding when readers invest in our stories with their hard-earned dollars and their most precious resource–their time. Whether that books comes to the reader via traditional publishing or indie publishing, it is both an honor and a privilege to connect with readers through the characters we’ve created. The stories we’ve spun.

On the other hand, there are the realities that we didn’t imagine when first we dreamed of becoming published authors. First of all, there is the discipline and commitment required to keep ass-in-chair and get the damned book finished. So that it’s not just this shiny, wonderful idea in our heads or a half-written, mostly unreadable document on our laptops or under our beds. Then there is the rejection (and lots of it) from the gatekeepers of the publishing world.

There is the tough, yet rewarding work of taking a first draft to a finished product we can be truly proud of. One that delivers on the promise to every reader that we will give them our very best. There is the constant dedication to improving our craft–a must for every writer–and the never-ending but much-needed commitment to marketing our books, whether we’re with a publisher or on our own. Once our stories make their way into the world, there will be people who love them. But no matter how good the story might be, there will also be people who hate them. Some of whom are quite cruel about it, thanks to the anonymity of the internet.

Photo courtesy of Ferran Jordà.Being an author isn’t for the weak-hearted. For those of us who tend to be sensitive in nature, introverts, hesitant to put themselves out there or all of the above, there has to be a come-to-Jesus moment where we decide whether we’re going to put on our big girl panties, toughen up and play the game or pick up our ball and go home.

Navigating the rocky road that is a writer’s life can be fraught with “danger.” Blows to our egos and royalty checks that wouldn’t get us from here to downtown. But like the promise of breath-taking vistas along the climb on a mountain, the risks are worth the rewards. The satisfaction of getting our stories out there. Connecting with readers and heartfelt emails from people touched by our stories. Exceeding book sale expectations or hitting that list. Being offered a new contract with an advance that actually will pay the bills.

I’ve gotten a busted lip and a couple of skinned knee along this road, but I have no intention of going home. There are several more vistas I plan to see. I’m strapping on my gear and climbing higher.

I’m not ready to share yet, but I’ve got an exciting deal in the works that checks off one of my major writing goals.  I hope to tell you about it soon. In the meantime, I’m reminded of one of my favorite poems, “Mother to Son” by Langston Hughes. So I leave you with this great poem, read by the author himself.

Keep climbing!

Along the Scenic Drive at Capitol Reef National Park, Utah courtesy of JR P.

Contemplation photo courtesy of Ferran Jordà.


Navigating the Rocky Road of a Writer’s Life — 5 Comments

    • Thanks, Maggie. There is so much to learn in this business. One of the things that makes it so great is my fellow writers who’ve been so generous with their time and knowledge and encouraging at every turn.

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