A couple of months ago someone shared a link to a blog post about how to survive being an author.
Of course, once I saw the title I clicked on it, expecting either a really good article with some tips or perhaps some light-hearted funny antidotes on how to survive this crazy career.
So which one did I get?
Instead I, along with anyone self publishing their novels who read the blog, got this author’s pity because I was a “self-published” author and she was with a publisher and how all us self-published people just have it so much harder and, this was her ONE tip on how to survive being an author, we should all get writer friends.
Yep. That’s it.
Writer friends. That’s how all us poor, pitiful, unsuccessful self-published people survive. You know, because we don’t have the ever helpful, do everything for you publisher like she does.
There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed ~ Hemingway
I’ll be the first to tell you that I have a good publisher. Sure, there have been problems and issues with the company, but that’s to be expected. No one is perfect just like no company is perfect. However, if I were to brag that having a publisher was better like this blogger, well, then I wouldn’t have done my last three novels myself, would I? Hint. Hint.
But back to my point. For the sake of actually writing a piece and giving advice that the other blogger lacked, here are some actual tips on how to stay sane in the writer world. Warning—these tips are for authors who are traditionally published and those who are self-published, or should I say the “unloved red-headed stepchildren.”
The mind of a writer can be a truly terrifying thing: isolated, neurotic, caffeine-addled, crippled by procrastination and consumed by feelings of panic, self-loathing and soul-crushing inadequacy. And that’s on a good day ~ Robert Deniro
So how does one survive this crazy career we call author?
Of course, this blogger had it correct in saying we needed writer friends because, yes, we do. We need them. They understand what you’re going through. They help you when other family and friends don’t seem to care or don’t know how to care.
Non-writers don’t understand how hard it is to get reviews, and then how it is to face the bad ones. Non-writers also don’t understand the importance of sharing and spreading the word. Now, this isn’t meant to bash them, this is just simple fact, and it’s perfectly okay for them not to know these things. But writer friends do.
They get you and let’s face it, sometimes we writers can be somewhat of odd ducks.
Sure, we are amazing people that can turn blank computer screens into hundreds and hundreds of pages of pure entertainment just from the deepest parts of our minds. But we can also talk to our selves in public when we are thinking about plot points. We can jump for joy in the middle of a grocery store because we thought of a plot twist in that exact moment as we reached for the coffee grounds. And we can not only act out our scenes while in our homes or cars, but we talk to and about our character as though they are real people.
To a non-writer, that could seem . . . perhaps a tad comparable to those pictures of the “Walmart people”, and it’s because of this we need our own people.
With that said, though, our own people aren’t all we need, which is where the original blogger fell short.
So what is the second thing we need? Well, we also need a thick skin.
Between having your writing ripped apart by bad reviews, feeling the sting of unsupportive family and friends, dealing with the green-eyed monster in competitiveness with other authors, and the highs when opening big royalty checks or low, low, lows when it comes to the lack of sales or interest, authors face a range of emotions that simply cannot be explained with mere words.
We take the good with the bad. We take the moments where we are on cloud nine with the moments we want to throw our computer across the room and quit. We take the praise from an amazing review with the tears and gutted feelings of a bad one.
And to do this, we’ve got to be able to handle it all without quitting or walking away. Sure, that’s the easy thing to do, but then wouldn’t you be walking away from your passion?