Imagine if you left Miami Florida and drove to Los Angeles California, but you never stopped along the way to appreciate the scenery. There are so many things you'd miss. For instance, you'd miss stopping by here and seeing me. We'd cook you a nice supper, and offer you a warm bed to sleep in. We'd probably send you off with some sandwiches and snacks as well. Who wouldn't enjoy that?
This journey I'm on to be a writer is a similar journey. It's long and arduous, and it ain't going to happen overnight. Sometimes, at least for me, it is easy to fixate on the goal and forget the journey. So deep is my craving to be an accomplished writer that I often miss the scenery. I put my blinders on and plow ever forward.
I've done several book signing events this year, and I have met some great people. Most are other writers on a similar journey. I've had successes and failures. Two books were traditionally published, with two more on the way down the road. I've had events where I sold lots of books. I've gotten good reviews and met people who loved the concept of my books as I pitched them for sale. Those are the flat, straight miles that make the journey easier. Those are the days you make good time.
I've also had plenty of hills to climb and hit plenty of potholes too. I've had around a hundred rejections from journals, publishers, and agents this year alone. I've watched other authors get agents and big deals with prominent publishers. I've seen Indy authors posting sales numbers that are through the roof. Those add extra baggage to the trunk and make the journey harder. Those are the days that feel like you're stuck behind a truck doing the speed limit. Those aren't fun days.
The other day, however, a first-time author reached out to me for some advice. I did the best I could to steer them in the right direction, but I think they helped me more than I helped them. They made me realize that, while I still have a long way to go, I'm also a long way from where I started. That conversation made me realize that many authors never reach the stage of having a novel accepted for traditional publication. Many good authors fall by the wayside, stranded alongside the road, for a myriad of reasons despite all the hard work and determination they put into their craft. It's a tough business.
This isn't an easy road to travel, but I'm still on it. From now on though, I plan to be more cognizant of the scenery. There is a certain poignancy to public libraries and small-town bookstores that can be easily missed if you don't watch for it. There is a charm to a personal blog that the big shots don't get anymore. They may have millions in sales and get on talk shows, but I've got a lot of company on my journey, and for that I am thankful.
I do still hope to make it big someday, but mostly I hope that at the end of this journey I can sit back and remember the little things that made it worth the trip.