I talk a lot about how hard this business can be on the ego. You have to build up a tough skin, face rejections, reviews, criticism from all sides. I like to point out scams, pitfalls, common mistakes to avoid, and I'm starting to think that the picture I'm painting here is looking a little too grim with not enough glitter.
Really, maybe its time to point out the sparkly bits? I mean, I consider writing the best job in the universe. Granted, when I say that I add the mental "for me" in there. I think you have to find your passion in this world, and once you have cling to it like a barnacle with a bad case of agoraphobia. Writing is my passion and I love it. I love everything about it, even the rougher bits. I get to stay home with my kids. I get to attend science fiction cons and call it work. I get to make up whatever I want and get paid for it. How great is that?
So, there's my sparkle, but even I have moments when it feels like the grim is getting to me. You know what I mean. The weeks when the no's come in in bunches and you find that one nasty review that you'd missed before and your sales come in so low they barely register. It's easy to get discouraged. It's easy to feel like this whole thing is not only impossible, but also too painful to really continue.
Not to worry! I'm going to whip up a list of things we can do to combat the drearies. We'll call it the Uplifting List and my secret recipe to forging ahead when the pathway might look too full of brambles to pass safely. Let's hope this works. I'm just making it up on the fly here.
UPLIFTING LIST (things to do to combat the author blues)
#1 read rejections received by famous authors, in particular those you are fond of or admire.
#2 keep something on hand that you've written that you are particularly proud of, something you KNOW is fantastic, and read it when you feel like you can't write for crap.
#3 surround yourself with other authors and make a pact to boost each other's egos at least once a month (or week, or as needed)
#4 Design a gorgeous cover for a book you haven't written yet. (you may love it so much it forces you to get that book done)
#5 Offer to do some critique/betas for newbie writers. (you will feel better by comparison and also be giving back/helping others. Remember your gentle feedback rules)
#6 Take a break and get a massage. While you're relaxed, work on your Pulitzer (or award of your choice) acceptance speech. Imagine what you'd wear to the awards.
#7 Read a really bad NY bestseller. You can do better than that and you know it.
#8 Visit the one person who always gives you glowing feedback. You know you can't trust Mom's opinion, but indulge in a little praise anyway.
#9 Encourage someone else who's spirits are flagging.
#10 Write a phony review of all your books as if they are perfectly brilliant. Show this to no one. Not even Mom, but read it to yourself and believe every single word.
Have fun guys. Keep those fingers moving and keep smiling!