I think it’s important to try and separate your desire to do something creative and your desire to make a living at it. Not everyone who writes can become a professional writer. It isn’t even about talent and skill so much as it is about numbers and luck. There are so many people out there who are trying to get published, but the reality is that there’s only so much space for books in the world. Even if you make the decision to self-publish, that does not address the issue of finding readers who have time enough to read your particular work. People who read quickly and devour numerous books each year still have to make choices about what they’re going to read, and sometimes it’s just the luck of the draw whether they’ve heard of your book and it interests them enough to add to the stack.
This sounds discouraging, I realize, and I don’t mean it to be. If you want to write professionally, I urge you to go for it. Learn your craft and work hard, write a lot and read a lot, and educate yourself as best you can about the publishing process, whatever route you take. But… try not to let that interfere with the joy you feel as a writer. Writing should be your love, definitely, if you want to make a career of it. You won’t succeed if you’re anything less than obsessed about your writing. But don’t allow any frustrations with the business to overshadow the fun parts of the creative process.
You have to need to write. It’s said fairly often, but bears repeating. Writers write. They think about it all the time and scribble on whatever is at hand. Their characters invade their dreams. They love the creation process, the planning, the research, the agonizing over the perfect words. Writing is their best friend, their spouse, their secret bit on the side. Writing consumes writers. And you can be a writer without ever seeing your book in a bookstore.
Never mind how talented you are, or how long you’ve been writing, or how innovative your ideas. If you love writing, you should write. No one can say where your efforts will take you, but that uncertainty should never keep you from doing what you love.
This video by rosiefromthepast illustrates my point perfectly. It’s pretty short, and a perfect jolt of inspiration and encouragement. Give it a watch, and then go write something. Have a great week!