A fellow Second Wind author posted a bloggery today about Keeping the Faith as a writer despite lackluster sales. It’s a concern so many of us published writers have. The percentage of novelists who actually make a living at writing is ridiculously small, and to make matters worse, the top one percent of writers make more than all the rest of us combined.
When you consider how few writers ever make enough to quit their day job, (and this includes some writers who hit the bestselling list), the word “success” when it comes to writing needs to be redefined. Seems to me if writing brings you pleasure that makes you success. So does having your book chosen from thousands of submissions to be published. So does your willingness to write another book despite dismal sales figures. This puts you in a rarified group. Sure it would be nice to make money, but if we were really in it for the money, we wouldn’t be writers. We’d be lawyers or accountants or even sales clerks.
There are good things about writing not being a paying job: we don’t need to write to deadlines, don’t need to worry about wordcount, don’t need to fulfill anyone’s expectations except our own. And that is reason enough to write.
Someone once said that the best thing a writer can do when they’ve finished writing a book is to write another. I thought that was silly advice because if you can’t sell one book (or three), what’s the point of writing more? I now know the point is writing. A writer does not attain maturity as a writer until he or she has written 1,000,000 words. (I’m only halfway there.) So write. Your next book might be the one that captures people’s imaginations and catapults you into fame and fortune. Not writing another book guarantees you will never will reach that goal. It also keeps you from doing what you were meant to do.
One thing I know for a fact: sales do not make a writer a writer. Of course, sales are nice, but in the end, writing is what makes a writer a writer.
So, let’s all keep the faith. And write.