It’s very easy to assume that successful writers (both traditionally published and self-published) have always been successful, that they’ve never had to work hard to pitch their work to a publisher or to an audience because their work is so sparkly and amazing it will always get a good response.
I’ve been guilty of thinking this too, and the inevitable question of ‘why can’t that just happen to me?’ looms in my mind along with a particularly large case of self-doubt.
But that’s the thing, it never does ‘just happen’.
Okay, there are one or two cases of ‘right place, right time’ but they are very few. Most successful authors have had to work hard at their craft, to keep going even when it seemed like they never had a hope of getting their work seen.
There are well known authors who have had their share of uncertainty about the quality of their work and whether writing really was something that they should pursue. Yet they stepped up to their fears, and went ahead to put their work out their anyway. They had the courage to take feedback, whether positive or negative, and though they may have ‘failed’ many times before they found a method or a style that really worked for them and their readers, they learnt from those mistakes and used them as stepping stones for their next creative endeavour.
I take great inspiration from those who have really struggled but persisted through and never gave up (and in this, I’m not just referring to other authors, but creative people in general such as game designers, graphic artists, film makers etc). Their struggle proves the passion that they feel for their art, and I’ve come to the conclusion that if you are truly passionate about your art, then you should do it.
Do it because it makes you happy, because you can’t function properly without it, because no one has done it before or because everyone has done it but not your way.
Create the stories that you want to read, and keep going, even if the idea is so outrageous that you’re sure no-one will like it. You may just be surprised.