Tuesday, October 18, 2011

A Writer, Doomed To Fail?

Odd how a seemingly singular thought coalesces in several places at roughly the same time, and how the conclusions of that singular thought can be subtly different. I wrote yesterday about making business a priority when writing and the same day, The Vandal , a blog run by Derek Haines also discussed the business side of writing.

Okay. I admit, the above is hardly earth shattering as I imagine thousands of blogs were discussing the same topic yesterday. It is hardly obscure. I suppose what struck me was the tone of the blog posts and how the two posts seemed responses to each other, though written in two places separated by time.

I proposed an aggressive approach to writing, making it a serious business venture. Derek cited a source that claimed that 80% of authors will sell less than 100 copies and only about 3,000 authors would sell more than 100 copies per week. Derek's point? It will be increasingly difficult to sell and make a living as an author, independent or otherwise. The overall feeling after reading Derek's blog, especially coupled with some of the comments, was that failure was inevitable.

Perhaps the odds are poor. Hell, let's say the number are spot on and optimistic even. What assures an independent writer of failure?

Going into the process with defeat on their mind. I hate the oft stated advice to write because you love to write. The sentiment behind that statement is that a writer should be happy to write because there is no future in writing. It isn't a career choice but feel free to dabble.

Writing is not a hobby, folks. If it is your passion, why relegate it to second-class status? If writing is truly a passion, doesn't it make sense to try to assure that you will be able to engage in that activity more? In order to write more, to have that time, is to make it a career, or at least make every conceivable effort to make writing a full-time activity.

If the odds scare you, then how strong, I wonder, is your supposed passion? Fail? Sure. That is a possibility and most of us will never be full-time writers, but to start with failure, to be defeated in the starting gate?

I can't accept that. There are writers who take writing jobs they don't care about just to get paid, to finance the writing they really want to do. Is this ideal? No. But if I could split my time with 75% of my time writing simply for a paycheck and 25% for the joy, I would do that gladly. I would accept a 90-10 split.

And you know what? I'm going to do everything I can to get where I want to go, no matter the odds. I'll accept failure if I've tried to succeed. Those are the odds I understand.


Anonymous said...

Perfectly said, Michael. The best way to assure failure is not to try.

MT Nickerson said...

Writing, then waiting for the magical fairies of good fortune to bestow riches, that is a recipe for failure. There has to be more than writing for independents.

Thanks for the comment, John.

Wendy aka Quillfeather said...

Or, as Homer Simpson once said, 'Trying is the first step to failure'. Haha!

However, as I constantly remind myself, rejection letters and the like, are badges of determination.

Good luck and keep at it :)

MT Nickerson said...

Usually Homer is sage and wise, but I must disagree with this particular advice... :)

Someone must have said, "rejection is just an opportunity for acceptance at a later time." I'm too lazy find out who, but that quote seems wise, almost as wise as Homer Simpson.

Thanks for the comment and the follow Wendy (AKA Quillfeather). Look forward to hearing more from you.