If you’re not a writer, feel free to click on over to my 200 articles on everything from sects to sex.
But if you’re a writer, you’re going to resonate with Jodi Picoult’s honest and transparent article from Writers’ Digest, “Try, Try, Try Again.” Here are some excerpts:
. . . the only reason I turned to writing again was because I was a miserable failure at my other jobs.
For some reason, reporters often call me an overnight success. But if that’s true, it’s been a fifteen-year-long night. My career, like those of most writers, has been one of slow, incremental growth, a mixture of both success and failure. And here’s the thing that’s really remarkable: The failures you face as a writer are more important, because they are what make you work harder, do better and build up the rhinoceros-hide-thick skin you need to survive in the publishing world.
When at first you don’t succeed, you have two options: slink back into ignominy or come at it again with a vengeance.
Here’s what I remember about that time of my life [when my books weren’t selling]: wondering where I was going to get enough money to pay the mortgage. Thinking that I’d been delusional if I believed I could make a living as a writer. Picking up a job application at a nearby Home Depot.
One of the saddest truths in publishing is that good books aren’t always the ones that sell. You can do everything right and still not get a contract. More often, the writers who succeed are the ones who refuse to buckle under the failures that are heaped upon them; who reject the notion that they aren’t as mediocre as industry professional say they are.
They say that failure builds character. Well, it also hurts like hell. Writers are, by definition, riddled with self-doubt; running into brick walls every time your career seems to be on the upswing is enough to give anyone pause. Even at this point of my career, I’m well aware that an author is only as good as her last book–that at any moment, I might find myself flirting with failure again. I only hope that I have enough fight in me to rally toward success.
Yep! I can relate! And if you can, too, check out my page of writers’ resources for
some encouragment and inspiration. I also have a page of encouraging quips and quotes when your “rhinoceros hide” is wearing a bit thin.