If you're writing because you want to be rich, then put your hands down and step away from the keyboard.
That's right: Writing is not your one track to fame, wealth and all your dreams come true.
Can you become a famous writer? Sure!
Can you become wealthy? Sure!
Can all your writing dreams come true? Sure!
Can you turn psycho in this business? Absolutely!
The good news is that there's a way to avoid a malady many writers have suffered (some call it greed, others the pits, others ambition but I like the term psycho). Nevertheless, I don't know that there's a specific name for it, but I do believe this malady can strike a writer at any time. Some symptoms involve checking your Amazon rank every five minutes, stressing yourself to write so you can pay your bills, and feeling like a failure when your manuscript is rejected.
So how do we avoid this unnamed sickness that takes away our motivation and makes writing a chore rather than a pleasure? The most effective antidote I've discovered is....
That's right: Don't count your royalties, count your blessings!
I've had a lot of wonderful things happen to me on this writing journey. Much like the Israelites created a verbal and written chronicle of all God had delivered them from, the miracles He performed and the ways He provided, I've got my own little writer's timeline happening.
If I start to feel worried or depressed about my progress as a writer, I try to remember the highlights of my writing journey thus far.
2003: My literature professor told me my essay was beautiful. She gushed on my writing. I immediately went home and started my first book, high on the idea of writing a story. (That book was never finished, by the way, but I did manage to pound out 47,000 words in the span of two years)
2005: I took a creative writing course with the same professor. At the same time, my newspaper editor suggested I write a book because he thought I wrote well and I'd make more money doing that than writing articles for the paper (not sure that's true, but it did inspire me to start writing toward publication.) This was when I started my first manuscript, which ended up being my first book to sell in 2011.
2006: I met a wonderful group of writers who taught me how to critique and hone my craft. I'm friends with them to this day, though we only critiqued each other for about a year. They are all published as well, now. Never give up!
2007: I joined a critique group to which I still belong. They were instrumental in shaping my writing! I was also a finalist in the Gotcha! contest that year. It was the only contest I've ever finalled in until I entered ACFW's Genesis contest years later. And I submitted a lot! I still have the score sheets and if I ever feel the writing doldrums sneaking up on me, I totally take those papers out!
2008: I got my very own laptop! Now I can write on the couch, in my bed, at Starbucks...Sometimes Starbucks is necessary to the creative process. Just sayin'.
2009: A few agent requests on a manuscript! I keep writing on my lovely laptop.
2010: An editor wants a full! Maybe this time won't be a rejection.
2010: It is a rejection but with a request for edits. I was dizzy with excitement. I probably bought lots of chocolate that day.
2011: Love Inspired Historical wants to buy my book!! I get an advance!! I am delirious with joy (and perhaps a bit of a chocolate high).
2012: Love on the Range releases. But the biggest blessing of that year was not the fact that a huge dream of mine had come true. Nope, the blessing that year was seeing the amazing amount of support and love and money put toward me and my story. The blogging community I had been a part of, FB friends, school mates and family were there for me in a way I'll never forget.
2013: I'm a guest on Seekerville, one of the first places where I cut my writer's teeth. I'm honored to be here, so honored I brought Godiva. Cyber-Godiva. But there's a ton and you can choose whatever you'd like. I also sold a second book to LIH this year and dipped my toes in the self-publishing waters with my contemporary romances.
This is just a list of blessings related to my writing journey. I don't know that I could count the multitude of blessings in other areas.
Royalties are fun. They're sometimes needed. But they're not the sum of our writing talent nor the proof of our calling. While I believe that it is healthy for a writer to aim for success, in whatever way that author defines success, if at any time you start to feel the onset of a suspicious and debilitating sickness most writers suffer through, pull out your list of blessings.
I guarantee a full recovery!
Tell me about your blessings. :-) Does any particular time or year stand out for you?
Today I brought a lovely $25 Barnes & Noble gift card for one lucky commenter.
Jessica Nelson believes romance happens every day, and thinks the greatest, most intense romance comes from a God who woos people to himself with passionate tenderness. When Jessica is not chasing her three beautiful, wild little boys around the living room, she can be found staring into space as she plots her next story. Or she might be daydreaming about a raspberry mocha from Starbucks. Or thinking about what kind of chocolate she should have for dinner that night. She could be thinking of any number of things, really. One thing is for certain, she is blessed with a wonderful family and a lovely life.