I know a lot of writers. I've met writers of every race, gender, creed, and color. I know romance writers, erotica writers, mystery, suspense, horror, and comedic writers. Most of them, like myself, are yet to experience that "meteoric rise" to the top, and most are okay with that, for now. Most have families and full-time jobs, squeeze in a few minutes to write a day and work really hard to hone their craft. Many of the writers and artists I know are very talented, more so than me. Life presents some unique challenges once you set upon this path of writing. We all dream of making enough money and "doing it for a living". Few ever reach that peak.
It is a life of high highs, and low lows, soul-crushing rejections, and reaffirming acceptances. I know that for most of my short stories I have a hearty .4 percent acceptance rate. It's not for the thin-skinned or faint of heart. Every day I hear authors talk about getting a full request for their manuscript, only to then get rejected. Once, someone on Twitter even suggested that writers not share their successes because it's so hard on those who get rejection after rejection.
Can you believe that? Writing is such an endeavor that some people can't even bare to see others succeed. Naturally, very few agreed because for us unknown writers, the successes are so few and far between that we want to shout it from the rooftops when one comes our way. Which brings me back to my original question. Why do it?
I know I am not alone when I say this, but it isn't just what we do. It's who we are. Whether we sell one book or a million, we have a tale inside us that wants out. My head is so full of ideas that I could write eight hours a day for the next five years and not purge the ideas that I have now, much less the new ones. We are brave souls who accept the challenge to- in an ever-changing business- create something that publishers think a lot of people will like and buy. For publishers, it comes to sales. They have to stay in business. But for writers, it comes down to the story. The true challenge is finding a place where those two things can intersect and live harmoniously.
I have had some success, more than many, less than many. I have five books out now, two of them traditionally published. I am producing one due out soon, then I will have two more traditionally published books by this time next year. I've also had 15 short stories published in journals. All of that is simply validation. It reminds me that I'm not a talentless hack, and encourages me, but even that isn't why I do this.
When someone comes up to me and says that they loved one of my books, or I get a nice review, I know that I've done something special. I have created something that someone enjoyed and that's pretty cool. When a complete stranger says that they loved your book and can't wait for the next one, you know you're doing what you should be doing. Writers, all writers, simply want to create and share their work and have people enjoy it. That's why we suffer the slings and arrows of the industry, for your enjoyment. That's why we do it, for you. And if occasionally we're recognized and get a meal comped, well, that's pretty cool too.