We had an interesting discussion during critique group recently. It was spurred on by Miley Cyrus’ song, The Climb. The idea is clear. If people don’t enjoy the journey, then getting to the top of the hill can be a big disappointment.
In critique group the connotation was about getting published. I tried to advocate the need to keep trying, because getting published is what writing is all about. The publishing business is so competitive, and the odds are so much against us, that writers can’t afford to take their eyes off the mark.
Therefore the goal is to get published, then promote and sell your book. Build your brand and get published again.
Now, before you misunderstand, let me say I get it. It’s like waiting for Christmas and being disappointed when the big event finally comes. Rather than enjoy the season we sometimes anticipate the event to the exclusion of other activities. Therefore, I think enjoying the journey is great advice. After all, if you aren’t where you are, you ain’t nowhere.
So, not that she isn’t right, I just think it’s easy for Miley Cyrus to give that advice, her brand is known all over, but for those who struggle to get where she is, stopping to smell the roses could be fatal. They could get passed by. Why not take the roses with you on your journey?
The truth is, we all have responsibilities. We all need to enjoy our life. It’s the only one we get. There are many authors (especially in the LDS market) who suffer major disappointment after the release of their first book.
With that being said, it’s still easier for a published author to get published again. Now, you’ll undoubtedly point out that everyone has to submit and be rejected, and you would be right. However, with all things considered, publishers do give preference to an established author with a proven sales record. The rest of us have to work harder and keep our eyes on the goal, even if the realization is not what we expected. If you take your eyes off your goal, you might never reach it.
As you know, I used to go backpacking in the mountains. It was great to get back to nature and find new vistas, but I discovered a propensity toward taking my eyes off the goal. Often, when I stopped to rest in a beautiful place, I’d get so caught up in the views, the greater goal was forgotten. I’d set up camp and go back home in the morning. Finally, I learned to take pictures along the way, and keep my goal in sight.
My advice to all aspiring Authors is, keep your eye on the prize. Yes, enjoying the journey is very important, but it’s hard to reach a goal if you don’t know where it is. Live a good, rich life and be prepared for setbacks, because they will come even after publication. Deal with it and move on. Enjoy the journey, but don’t get sidetracked, and never, never, give up.
Good luck with your writing—see you next week.