Fiction writers usually write because they want to write, have to write, or feel compelled to tell a story; however, without the power of positive thinking—the belief that someone, somewhere, somehow will want to read what they write—they would give up their attempts after a few years. It would be the sensible thing to do, but most writers are not very sensible about writing.
It’s becoming increasingly difficult to get fiction published and writers who do publish but don’t know how to market, or who don’t have an experienced traditional publisher, or who don’t have at least a bit of luck, aren’t found by the reading public, and so their books or stories or screenplays aren’t read by anyone other than family and friends.
This sad state of affairs translates into earning very little money for all their writing efforts, and most writers work in this kind of moneyless vacuum. Under such conditions, it’s hardly sensible to keep plugging away, and yet most writers do.
How Do Fiction Writers Survive?
There has to be a game plan for a fiction writer to survive. It’s good to have a daytime job, to be retired, to have a private income, to have a sympathetic, supportive spouse or family, or to have found a ‘patron of the arts.’ (Do such patrons even exist anymore? I think they’ve been replaced by government grants, which are almost as difficult to find as patrons.)
Sue Grafton, of the famous ABC murder mystery series, felt comfortable enough to quit her day job after reaching the letter ‘M,’ and her books—from ‘A’ to ‘L’—were all best sellers.
‘Good writers will always be discovered’ is a commonplace statement with which we are all familiar. But sometimes they are discovered after they are dead; or they aren’t discovered because their work has to be smuggled out of a country to be published and doesn’t make it; or the computer crashes, there was no copy, and the writer keels over with a heart attack when he realizes all is lost. I’m just saying….
The Power of Positive Thinking Keeps us Going
In spite of being thwarted at every turn, writers continue to write because they must. It’s the power of positive thinking that keeps them going: it will be read; it will be accepted; it will win the contest; it will lead to finding an agent (which is something like trying to find a publisher, a patron of the arts, or a government grant).
Writers read endless numbers of blogs and articles that tell them how to write, how to market, how to find an agent, how to write a query letter, how to submit a story, how to enter a contest, and how to use social media in order to garner followers, readers, buyers, agents, and publishers. They read blogs from many writers who do it all and report a very tepid response to their efforts, and writers who merrily assure everyone that it paid off for them.
We’re All Crazy
I have, at the moment, a murder mystery for adults under consideration at a traditional publishing house, another sports mystery for children being prepared for publishing at an Indie publishing house (I do the marketing for this one), a screenplay entered into a screenwriting contest, and I’m working on another book. I tweet and blog, and I’m on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Goodreads, LinkedIn, and Google+ and I have that righteous feeling of having left no stone unturned—like every other writer I know.
However, we can’t really tell what will work or won’t work or what will sell or won’t sell, and we manage to summon up the power of positive thinking when faced with these discouraging odds. It’s another way of saying that fiction writers are all crazy and, somehow, I guessed that right from the start. It’s good for a writer to be crazy.
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