Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Luck… Or How Much Does That Suck?

When we started talking about talent/aptitude/flow, Kelly mentioned another factor key to becoming a published author: luck.

I think this aspect is the hardest one to deal with. There are times when you get those particular rejection letters that are especially hurtful, in my opinion. Those are the ones that say: “I loved your story. You’re an undiscovered genius. However, I recently published a story about vampire junkie cowboy elves, and can’t use yours at this time. Good luck elsewhere!” The first time you get this kind of rejection, you’re elated. You’re sure success is just right around the corner. But, as the months wear on and all you hear is “Loved it, but we’re overstocked/just can’t use this/had to pass…” you start considering giving it all up and taking up a respectable career like plumbing. Or maybe even, like I did, you find yourself in a very weird place – you have an agent for your first novel (which isn’t selling yet), you’ve sold a few pieces to very minor semi-pro markets, but you can’t seem to break in to the “big league.”

That was probably the most difficult time in my career. I considered giving up several times. (Especially since at this time I’d also gotten myself a large network of writer friends, some of whom were succeeding faster than I was.) The heartache of nearly being good enough (and the jealousy of my colleagues’ success) was enough to crush my soul.

I don’t have any good advice or wisdom to pass on. Except that I got through it. And luck really is part of our chosen path. You do need to have some of it, it seems.

Especially since, once you’re published by that big New York publisher your woes aren’t over...

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