This is the week of my birthday, and it's a tradition of mine to try to give a little on my personal new year. So, Dear Readers, I'd like to give you a piece of writing advice I find invaluable. Okay, now, you might be hoping this is the secret to writing a bestselling novel. I. Wish.
Seriously, though, this piece of advice has helped me through some tough times:
Enjoy the journey.
Okay, I know it sounds like one of those affirmations that belongs in a calendar or on a gym wall or on an Alex and Ani bracelet, but here's the thing:
In the business of writing, there's ALWAYS something to freak out about. ALWAYS.
First, you freak out because you're not published. So you work real hard; you get published. Then you freak out because, What if my reviews aren't good? Then you get some good reviews, and your freak-out becomes, Oh God, now I have to do this again in Book Two. Then you do it again in Book Two, and you're freaking out about your reviews again. Then you send some stuff to agents. You freak out because, What if they don't request my material, but OH MY GOD, WHAT IF THEY DO????
You get the picture.
The only way to stop the vicious cycle of freaking out about your writing career all the damn time is to ENJOY THE JOURNEY.
Stop and look around, poke your head up from the Hobbit-hole of your freak-out. Smell the flowers. Congratulate yourself on your successes--even the small ones. Heck, ESPECIALLY the small ones. Write something for the joy of it. Ask for help if it's appropriate. Help others when you can. Lift up other authors. Share links to and reviews of one another's books. Be part of the writing community. Stay positive. Breathe. Keep writing. Breathe. Keep submitting your stuff. Thank people who take their time for you.
Enjoy every part of it. Be an active part of your journey. Make it happen rather than just letting it happen.
I've found that enjoying the journey, being an active participant in it, controlling what I can control and letting go of the things I can't, and above all, being grateful have made all the misfortunes, bad reviews, and rejections sting a whole lot less.
I hope it works for you, too. All the best in your writing!