There's an old adage that says, "The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step." While that is certainly true, the first step is sometimes one of the easiest. There's fanfare, people encouraging you, maybe the local newspaper is on hand to celebrate with you. There's excitement. You're pumped. Yeah! Let's do this!
And then you start walking. And walking. And walking. The fanfare dies down. The throngs of people no longer line the road. The ticker tape has fallen and blown into the ditch. And it's just you, walking. In front of you is 990 miles of rough road, potholes, hills and valleys, maybe even roadblocks. This is when most people quit. When the echoes of the cheers have died and it's just you, it's not easy to keep walking.
Later on, as you draw near the completion, when you've proven you can actually do it, people will take notice. They return to cheer you on. It gets easier. You've made it or almost made it. People will talk about knowing you when you started this journey.
As writers, we face the same challenges. The beginning is often met with accolades and encouragement. Once you make it big, there's no shortage of fans. But that middle part, that's the toughest part. Sometimes those parts you walk alone, gritting it out. Successful writers are the ones who don't quit. They're the ones who live and grow and survive that middle part between the fanfare of the beginning and the accolades of the end.
Sometimes, I think that's where I find myself nowadays. I'm off to a good start. I've proven that I can actually write a book. I've achieved a modicum of success in having three books accepted for traditional publication. I do a few podcasts here and there, an interview now and then. I'm in the middle: the proving grounds. It's time to put up or shut up.
Fortunately, I'm stubborn. I'm not going to give up, but it's not always easy. What sustains me is the kind words from all of you. The reviews you leave, The likes and shares on posts. Those are the things that push writers through the long nights of doubt, the grueling hours of edits, the pain of rejections. Feedback from readers is the lifeblood of a writer. Without it, none of us would make it.
As I write this, I have two novels and another novella in varying degrees of edits and/or submission, and a new novel underway. Now, I may never rise to the ranks of some of the giants in this industry, but I will be there when this ride is over having given it my best shot. In the end, we all learn that it was the journey that was important anyway, and I am enjoying every step of the way, even the hard parts.