Coming down off the high of seeing my Kansas City Chiefs win the Superbowl, I got to thinking about patience and perseverance. Yes, this is partly a sports analogy. Patience and perseverance are two of the skills I think every writer needs to have, and needs to hone regularly.
I have been a Chiefs fan all my life, so was my mom, and grandma. I have literally been waiting my whole life for last night’s game. I had no idea if they were going to win or lose. No clue whether my night would end in jubilation or disappointment. Thankfully, it turned out to be the former.
Point is, I was patient. I could have shifted my attention to another team over the years. I could have cheered for the Patriots all these years, but it wouldn’t have been the same. I could have given up football, but I kind of like it when my Chiefs are playing. I was patient.
The last three games especially, have been rough for Chiefs fans. They started each of them down, sometimes down by a lot of points. But they came back. They never lost heart, they fought through some tough adversaries and managed to come out of it champions. They persevered.
I am not always very patient when it comes to my writing. I want to get my work out to readers as fast as I can. While I think we need patience, I also thing we need to be realistic. I submitted Embers to agents and publishers for a year. No bites, no interest. I needed to move on and I wasn’t ready to give up on my book. So, I took another route which also requires patience. Self-publishing means hard work, long hours, and a lot of disappointment. Shows where I don’t sell much, or none at all. Low Amazon sales, and trying to get my book in the hands of readers. I have to persevere.
When you go indie, you’re starting the game behind. No publisher to cover the costs of materials. No agent to arrange any deals. No advance, no marketing, and no book tour. You’re already 0-24 and have a long way to go to catch up. But be patient. Work hard, and eventually you’ll see the benefit.
I’m now going into my second full year as a published author. I almost broke even last year, and my goal this year is to make a profit, even if it’s a dollar. I know I can’t give up, can’t lose momentum. I have to work on my backlog of projects while pushing my current material or I’ll lose the game. I know I won’t get rich off this, but I want to be able to look at the work I’m doing and know that it has value beyond the vanity of telling my stories to as many people as possible.
So, if you’re out there frustrated, tired, scared, worried, or unsure if you can make it, be patient. Persevere. Hone those skills along with your writing tools. Never give up unless you’re really ready to be done. Think long and hard about whether this game is for you. If you write, you’re a writer. If you can’t go a day without thinking of a story or putting words down, you’re a writer. Be patient with yourself and persevere.