Friday, September 07, 2012

Why Couldn't You Write "50 Shades of Grey?"

How many times have you heard that from your non-writing spouse, significant other, mother, sister, uncle, brother, father, child, dog, cat, goldfish, etc.?

It makes you grit your teeth, doesn't it?  The fiction world is peppered with phenomenal bestsellers that leave the bulk of us scratching our heads.  I'm sure there are a lot of agents who watched the meteoric rise of Stephanie Meyer's "Twilight" series who still don't understand it (I know I don't).  But these books really are the exception.  Its fate, luck, karma, what have you.

But it is hard for the rest of us.  We ask ourselves how come our book didn't do the same.  And it gets harder the closer you get.  Its a difficult, brutal business where too often you can see the brass ring but it is snatched out of your way before you can grab it.

The important thing is to not internalize these comments and make them our own expectations.  We fight enough internal demons as it is without absorbing external ones that have no basis in reality.

We need to remind ourselves of what we are good at in our writing.  We have to be proud of what we write and feel comfortable in our genre.  We also have to be realistic about the niche our books have in the world. I would love to be able to write the kind of books Nora Roberts writes.  Problem is, I don't like reading them so how could I write them?  I look at the books I do like and very few of those authors have the kind of success a J.K. Rowling or Meyer.

We also need to stamp down the jealousy bug.  Envy of another's success is a poison to our own writing.  We have enough negative energy surrounding us from the toils of writing without bringing more onto ourselves.  Its easier said than done.  We all want to be appreciated for our hard work and it seems so unfair when it happens to someone else.  But we haven't walked in their writing shoes and we do not know the trials they've faced in their road to publication.  I'm sure they would have similar tales from the trenches as you.

Its important to find your own measures of success.  Be warned, the non-writers in your life are not going to understand.  The support you find from other authors will help keep it in perspective.  Writing is an individual endeavor and the successes are personal for the most part.  But it doesn't mean you can't hope for the wild success of other authors, just don't make it your expectation but rather a daydream.  If it happens CHEERS!  if it doesn't BRAVO!  If you've accomplished the writing goals you've set for yourself, you have reached the pinnacle.

1 comment:

Melissa Amateis said...

If I happen to ever write a popular book (very doubtful), I still don't think I'd want the success that comes along with it. I wouldn't even want to get on the Internet because people would be talking about it AND me - and I'm sure it wouldn't all be positive. You have to have a thick skin to be popular, IMO, and I'd rather have a nice, quiet life, making a modest income from writing what I love.