There's a line in an old AC/DC song that goes: It's a long way to the top if you wanna rock and roll. I've thought about that line a lot recently. In the novel I just finished, a down and out musician gives up on his dream and seeks a "real job". Of course, things don't work out well for him, but it has nothing to do with music, but I digress. My point is that it is a long way to the middle. For most of us writers plugging away on our computers, the top may be unattainable. It's just the nature of the business and the world we live in. It takes an army of people who want to be paid a lot of money to push an unknown writer to such heights.
I am depending on good writing, hard work, and maybe a little bit of luck. The genre I write in isn't for everyone. I don't write beach reads, romance books with shirtless guys on the cover, or trendy topics. There are writers who do and I applaud them for doing what they want and enjoy. That's awesome to me, and I wish them all the best of luck. All writing takes determination, skill, and hard work.
For all of us, it's an uphill climb and most of us are helping each other whenever we can. Writers who see other writers as competition are a breed apart. Most of us understand how hard it is and are willing to lend a hand. It's been said that a successful writer is just a regular writer who didn't give up. That is the key. I've known more than a few who've thrown in the towel or accepted that they'll never climb very far. It's sad, but it's their decision to make.
I, however, plan to fight and claw to the bitter end, sure that one of these days I will make it to the NY Times Bestseller List. If I don't, I'll know that I gave it my best shot. This past weekend I drove 4 hours, did a 3-hour book signing, and drove 4 hours home. It was a long day, but I'm glad I did it. Those people who bought my book are new readers in a new market. The seeds have been planted. That's all I can do.
For me this is a labor of love. I have stories to tell and tell them I must. Hopefully people will enjoy them and tell their friends. It's more than what i do, it's who I am. I am a writer, so I write. I'm nowhere near the top, but if I look behind me, I see that I'm a long way from the bottom. That's encouraging. The thing I tell writers who talk about giving up is to take a break, but don't quit. It can be more difficult for some than others, but the reward is the same for all of us. When someone reads your work and enjoys it, leaves a good review, and buys something else you wrote, it gives you a boost a little further up that hill.
AC/DC proclaimed that it's a long way to the top if you wanna rock and roll, but it's a long way to the top no matter what you do. You might as well enjoy the scenery on the way up.