Some weeks ago, at a meeting of writers, I overheard an experienced published writer (I’ll call her Ms. Author) explain the journey to a young hopeful just embarking on the path to publication. (I’ll call her Ms. Newbie.)
“The first thing is to finish writing the book,” Ms. Author said. “But you know, statistically speaking most people who start writing a novel never finish a single one.”
“And then what’s my next step?” Ms. Newbie asked.
“The next step is to find a legitimate literary agent,” Ms. Author said. “But you know, statistically speaking, most writers never get a legitimate agent.”
“And once I get a legitimate, non-fee charging agent, what do I do next?” Ms. Newbie asked, unperturbed.
“The next step is for your agent to sell the book. But you know, statistically speaking most agents don’t sell most books they represent.”
“So if my agent does sell the book, what’s next?”
“Next the book must be a commercial success if you want to sell another. But you know, statistically speaking...”
By this point, Ms. Newbie’s eyes were twice their original size and her mouth was agape.
“It’s hopeless,” she mumbled.
Listening, I had to say something. But another writer (I’ll call her Ms. Wise) chimed in and saved me from a reflexive mumbling attempt at reassurance.
“All true, statistically speaking, “Ms. Wise said. “ Just like life, it’s hard and none of us is getting out of this thing alive. However, it’s a magnificent journey that few wish they’d never started.”
Yes, write your story.