Okay, first, get your minds out of the gutter over the title. I know you went there.
The first luncheon at RWA featured Nora Roberts as the keynote speaker. For those of you who aren't romance readers, she's basically the queen. She's written over 150 NY Times Bestsellers! I know, crazy, right? I can't even imagine.
Beyond being an entertaining speaker, she had a great message that I found really inspiring. She said she's heard people complain about how hard it is to get published "these days." That things were easier "back in the day." She scoffed at that. Try writing on a typewriter with carbon paper, try researching without the internet, try submitting to Harlequin when they said they only had room for one American writer. She said it's always been hard--that it's supposed to be. Here's the quote (stolen from this site because frankly I didn't take notes, I was busy eating my green chicken--yes, green. Don't ask.)
Writing is hard. It's supposed to be hard. The fact that it's hard is what makes it special, makes it worthwhile to keep going. Embrace the hard work. For doing so makes writers special.
That really impacted me. I think it's so easy to get frustrated in this business. The rejection can beat you down and make you feel like you're banging you head against the wall. And oftentimes, we're doing that head-beating without very much support around us. Sure, our loved ones cheer us on, but we all know that many of them still see our writing as a hobby, a quirk, a pipe dream that's not going to go anywhere. And that makes it tempting to give up.
But if I've learned anything by going to conferences and writers' groups and by reading blogs, it's that persistence and commitment to constant improvement are vital if you're going to succeed at this. It's rare that you run across a writer who says--oh yeah, I queried my first book and I never got rejected, agents fell over themselves to represent it and I went on to be a bestseller. Um, right.
No, the stories you hear are about people who kept going despite all the rejection and setbacks, who love writing so much that they are willing to "ride the hard." And even once authors get to that next step--an agent, a sale, etc., there's more hard and rejection beyond that. So each of us has to decide whether we're willing to ride the hard to get there.
And, Nora's last bit of advice--find friends in the writing community who get you and who will be there when things are great and, more importantly, when things are no so great because in Nora's words: "no one should have to face the hard alone."
So what do you think of Nora's advice? What do you do when you get to those head-beating moments? Do you have people in your life that you can face the hard with?