If you’re an author, you know that there’s a lot of things we have to deal with that fall outside of our craft. One of those things is our hidden enemy: bitterness.
Yesterday, I was replying to Will Hindmarch on Twitter about the topic. If you don’t know Will, he worked for White Wolf as the developer for Vampire: the Requiem. In fact, it was his design of Scenes of Frenzy that served as the template for my newly-released Scenes of the Embrace.
Besides being a talented developer, he’s also an author, a graphic designer and one of the owners of GamePlayWright. Will and I worked together on The Bones which is pictured at left; his style of editing taught me an important lesson. Track your research thoroughly whenever possible, just in case a need for citation comes up, even if it’s for a specific word. Otherwise, you’ll be scratching your head. A lot.
Anyway, now you know who Will Hindmarch is. So back to the quote at hand. Here’s what I said to him.
A writer’s worst enemy is being consumed from bitterness not by what we haven’t done, but what someone else has.
Can’t tell you how many times I’ve run into this. The first experience I had with interacting with other authors online was on a message board. Can’t remember the author’s name, but I do remember his piss poor attitude. At the time, he published a series of books over twenty years ago. Hadn’t published anything since. He was so negative and pervasive in his attitude toward other people, telling them they would never be successful. The guy had more experience than we did, yet he was focused on telling us what we didn’t have and why we’d never make, because he never did.
Mind you, I’ve learned there will always be someone more experienced than you and more successful than you are. The reverse is also true. I’ve had people tell me I’m not a real author because I haven’t been published by one of the big guys; I’ve also had authors say they wish they had my background.
So what do you do when you feel bitterness seeping into your bones? You write more, dammit. No seriously. You drop what you’re doing and you work your ass off. You’re never going to get anywhere unless you put your fingers on your keyboard and write another story. Then you submit it. Then you work on the next one. And so on.
That’s it, people. ‘Cause there is no hand of publishing that will magically reach out of the sky and deem you worthy. If one story isn’t successful, you gotta suck it up and work on another one. In this business, success is relative and it’s not a guarantee. Am I saying that to sound negative? Nope. That’s the reality of publishing.
If you’re still stuck, read The Cult of Done Manifesto and then…
Get your butt back to work!!!