Traditional versus self-publishing has been a hot topic for quite some time now, with authors divided vehemently between the two. I have clients who are self-published and wouldn’t have it any other way. I also have clients who went the traditional route via agent to publisher and would never dream of doing it different.
When we think about our writing career and the publishing industry today we tend to focus on all the differences, and which way is better. We can become obsessed with which way is the “right way” for us.
The truth is that it’s hard for all of us.
Sometimes that gets lost in the shuffle.
Whether you’re self-published, officially represented, or not published at all yet, writing is damn hard work. Building a writing career is even harder.
Writers deal with self-doubt, frustration, disappointment, rejection, fatigue, stress, and burnout.
In fact, an average writer can be hit with all of that in just one week.
But we also experience thrilling highs—euphoria, satisfied accomplishment, hope, anticipation, excitement and pure joy.
Being a writer today is pretty much like riding a rollercoaster all day long, and then at night the park shuts down and the employees forget to let you off the ride.
All of you know the fluttery jump in the stomach when you find out if your manuscript has a future. You also know those agonizingly long periods of waiting in between jumps. You know what it’s like to practice your pitch, hone your pitch, and then make your pitch over and over until you never want to hear it again.
You know what’s it like to spend a few months on a novel only to discover that it’s dead in the water. And what it’s like to fall in love overnight with a brand new character. You understand how it feels to hear voices no one else can hear, and see scenes unfold inside your head. And how incredibly hard that is to explain to someone who is not a writer.
No matter what we write, or how we choose to publish our work, we are the same.
Every single writer out there has a tough row to hoe. It’s hard for all of us, and it’s usually the most challenging thing we’ve ever done in our whole lives.
The only way to get through it is to stick together.
Writers need other writers. We need supportive friends and mentors, creative confidantes, and a strong writing community. Any form of jealousy, unhealthy competition, and petty squabbling among us has got to go.
For years we’ve been at the mercy of big publishers and now many of us are the mercy of Amazon. Most of us have to devote massive amounts of energy toward breaking out of being anonymous. We’ve got to help each other out.
We’ve got to connect with our fellow writers, promote our fellow writers, and maybe most importantly, read our fellow writers.
Do what you can each day for the writers you know and love. Give a writer friend a pat on the back. Find time in your busy schedule to read another writer’s work, and make sure you talk about it to others. Look into the writing groups in your local area to see if one might be a fit for you.
Writers can find strength in numbers. But it has to start with each individual writer first. Reach out to a fellow writer today and start making the difference.
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