In a (hopefully) not too distant future, when I’m being interviewed for a highly regarded literary magazine (if they still exist in that future) I will be asked how I knew, all those years ago, that I was perched on the precipice of a long and fruitful literary career. And my answer will be a firm and resounding, “I didn’t.”
Let’s start with a simple truth that you’ve hopefully already realized: writing is hard. If it weren’t, everyone would be doing it. (Though it sometimes seems as if everyone is.) Splaying your heart and soul for all to see is not for the faint of heart and requires a thick skin, an open mind, and heaps of discipline. It forces you to confront your weaknesses but it also allows you to revel in your strengths. Hold on to that thought because you’re going to need it to get you through what lies ahead; rest assured, you will be judged.
And it is that judging that brings me to my own goals. If you were paying attention in my inaugural blog post, you’ll know why I write. So the question remains, how do I wish to be published? This is a debate that rages on social media within the myriad writing communities. There are many pros and cons to both sides of the argument and I know that self-publishing is a viable solution for many aspiring novelists. But it’s a path I’m not quite ready to travel down.
For me, part of getting published is having your work championed by people who know the business inside out. Maybe it’s my fragile ego that needs that kind of approval, to be accepted by a relatively exclusive club in order to feel validated; I’m willing to own that weakness. But for better or worse, I’ve set my sights on the traditional publishing industry so I give them fair warning: I am coming for you.
At the same time, I wish you all luck with whichever path you choose. It’s clear we all come to this craft with different goals and different objectives. From the amateur hobbyist to the hopeful rising star to the seasoned veteran, I offer you my encouragement, my good wishes — and my sympathies; this is not an easy road we travel and we shouldn’t travel it alone.