On the third Wednesday of every month, Barbara Wallace will lay out strategies for surviving the ups and downs of a writing career. Today, she introduces the course.
Ever been to Hershey Park? In addition to being a chocolate-lover’s heaven, Hershey features one of the largest collections of roller coasters in the country. There’s one that goes from zero to seventy two mph, one that boasts a 97 degree vertical drop, and my favorite (she says with sarcasm)– one that gives the illusion that you’re about to fall off the edge. Then, of course, there’s the good old fashion wooden coaster. You know, the rickety sounding one that always feels like it’s about to fall down under you even though it’s brand new?
Being a writer is a lot like combining all of them.
In fact, during my writing career, I can safely say that I’ve had enough ups and downs to build six or seven roller coasters. There were highs, lows, and more loop-de-loops than you could imagine. And like that old fashioned wooden coaster, I never stopped thinking the whole shebang would collapse out from under me. I’m going to wager a guess that you all, while perhaps not riding as long, have navigated similar rides. Everyone who enters this crazy industry does. It can’t be helped.
If we were at a writer’s conference right now, I would ask you to look to the people sitting on either side of you. Instead, since we’re all cozily tucked in front of our computers, I’m going to ask you to think back to the conferences you’ve attended over the years. How many aspiring writers did you meet? How many are still writing? More importantly, do you think they’ll still be writing a year from now? Five years from now?
Writers today have a buffet of choices before them. Self-publishing, traditional publishing, hybrid publishing. But having these choices doesn’t make surviving in our industry any easier. A good number of those faces you’ve seen at conference lunch tables won’t be sitting there five or ten years from now. Life issues will pull some away; others will simply lose interest. But a great may will leave because they simply got tired of riding the damn roller coaster.
What I hope to do over the next twelve months is to help your ride on the roller coaster a little bit easier. Over the next year we’ll talk about such topics as:
- Finding Support
- Professional Jealousy
- Self Doubt
- Feeling overwhelmed
However, since this is an interactive column, I’d like to address issues that matter to you all as well. Therefore, I’ll start by asking those of you struggling with a manuscript right now: What is the biggest obstacle standing in your way of enjoying your writing roller coaster ride?
Barbara Wallace knows the writing roller coaster well. Her career began in the days before self-publishing and took almost 15 years to get going. She currently writes for both Harlequin Romance and Entangled Publishing. Her latest book, THE MAN BEHIND THE MASK, is available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble as well as through Harlequin's and Mills & Boon's online sites. To read an excerpt, click here.