A common misconception among young budding artists is that their big paycheck is gonna be easy-peasy and arrive in the mail within the year, It doesn’t matter if they are painters, singers, actors, or writerse – the conception is always the same: I am going to make it big.
The harsh reality is a little bit less favorable. For many young artists, the trove of praising fans will never arrive, irregardless of their level of talent and hard work (and connections, always connections). Sure, it is possible for someone of mediocre talent, no connections, and minimal work to sell a few novels, but that shooting star is one in a billion. Unless you have some sort of fairy godmother, it’s going to break your back working for a glimpse of fame. But there’s only so much the fairy godmother can do.
The most terrifying part of being an artist is knowing that your future is entirely in the hands of a million strangers. From you agent to the publishing house, to the readers, the work of each individual will affect your chances of success. Remember the feeling when you walked into your first job interview and the interviewer was a head and a half taller than you with thick furrowed eyebrows and a grim frown? He looked down at you the way a person would look down at their misbehaving dog after he peed on the brand new mattress.
But you can’t tuck your tail between your legs and drag yourself away, no matter how much you want to. No matter how many people tell you that you’ll never get published, no matter how many people hate your books, you need to try. Even if it means revising for the next couple years, anything is better than giving up. What would have happened if Ulysses S. Grant surrendered to Robert E. Lee? If all of Europe surrendered to the Nazi Regime? You never know what a positive attitude and a little bit of faith will get you.
Defy the odds. Keep on writing.