I’ve always had this sort of fantasy about what having a career in writing would be like. I could have a little home office and spend chunks of my day writing and polishing, creating something worth mentioning. Then I would send it off to the Mysterious Business People. Consumers would then buy this book which, in my mind, sprung fully-formed in the bookstore back-stock, and the Mysterious Business People would send me money.
Lather, Rinse, Repeat.
So now I’m freshly twenty-two — oh yeah, my birthday was the 10th — and I had a moment of, “This is it. Now is when I have to put up or shut up.” Which, realistically, means that I can get started on 6 – 10 years of rejection and “make it”* when I’m somewhere in my thirties. This is the beginning of me trying to reconcile with myself that my fantasy of a career will never be as easy as I imagine it.
I think the big thing that disillusions me about being a writer is that amount of work it really takes to “make it.” The more reading I do the more I realize that this is going to be just as grueling a job as any other, sometimes more so because it will be so personal. Getting published will not be the end of the road — finishing another novel won’t be the end of it. I’ll have to promote myself. I’ll have to cope with change, I’ll have to work the Mysterious Business end of things — I will have to learn how to do that. And I’m uncomfortably aware that I could write a hundred books without ever really “making it.”
I don’t mean this post to be morose — it’s certainly a shitty comeback — but I’m having this unfortunate moment of realism, and I need to vent it. I need to be able to look back and tell myself that I wasn’t unprepared for failure, and that I knew it wouldn’t be easy. But I hope that it’ll be rewarding, but I’m sure that it’ll be worth it if I can “succeed.”
Whatever that “success” may be.
* I’m working on defining exactly what “making it” means to me. Quotes until it’s something more than an arbitrary goal.