Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Why should it be EASY when it can be HARD?

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.


Vijaya said...

Who cares about statistics when it's the journey that counts? I don't get all the doom and gloom that some people share. I loved what Ms. Wise said. Thank you, Mirka.

Mirka Breen said...

Exactly my point. Go on an adventure. This is not a treasure hunt for actual gold, but for mining the treasures you carry within.

MirkaK said...

Maybe Ms. Author didn't want any competition and thus discouraged Ms. Newbie. Some people think they can predict what's going to happen in your life. Impossible! Years ago, I lived on Maui. A woman kept telling me I had to move to L.A. or N.Y. if I wanted to make it as a writer. I thought, "You move to L.A. I'm not leaving." I did go to NY, but only for a trip, where I met with editors and wound up with magazine assignments, which I then worked on when I got back to Maui. No one can tell you what will work for you. You decide what you want to do and move ahead, however it unfolds.

Kelly Hashway said...

The journey is very rewarding despite the outcome. You have to be in it for the journey.

Johnell said...

Oh my, well said. If you never start, no statistic will matter.

Mirka Breen said...

Yes, like the rest of life it's not so much the planned or hoped-for, but surprising milestones along the way.

Evelyn said...

Well said. It takes hard work and persistence, but the joy can be in the trying.

Anonymous said...

Very true! Good for people to know all the challenges that may be ahead, but the only way they'll really know is to try writing for themselves.