Being an author has ups and downs. It’s a constant rollercoaster. When you submit manuscripts you get acceptances and rejections. The same when you apply to present at conventions. Or apply for grants. You can torment yourself by watching the book scan sales numbers. Or Amazon ranking. Or reviews at Goodreads (and elsewhere).

When good things happen, it’s wonderful. Getting a manuscript accepted is a great feeling.

When bad things happen, you just have to grit your teeth and go on.

But sometimes you have a long run of bad luck. It can get very discouraging when everything seems to get rejected or turned down. When that happens, you question what you’re even doing. Why keep trying? Why bother? Why not just do something else.

I got to see John Hodgman perform in Northampton a few years ago. This was around the time he was promoting Vacationland. One of the themes was the ineffable quality of celebrity. People kept asking him how he became a celebrity, as if there was some secret or recipe. He said he spent a lot of time trying to figure out why *this* thing had gone viral whereas all these other things he’d been doing before or after did not. Eventually, he decided there wasn’t any difference. It was just luck or happenstance. But, even though you couldn’t predict what might lead to success, it was clear that the only way to be sure to fail was to not keep doing your art. It could only happen if you were making stuff and putting it out there.

So, even when I’m down. Even when I feel like nothing is getting traction. Even when I feel like there’s no point. I just keep putting one foot in front of the other and soldiering on. And maybe — just maybe — one of the things I write will find an audience and lead to greater things. Maybe.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes:

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>