Since I mentioned starting to write a novel, I’ve had mixed response from people I know. Most have been supportive, as I knew they would.
A few, though, have been a little skeptical. No one’s said it, of course. But there’s a certain look in the eye, a certain…pause…before saying anything, that gives it away.
I can see why.
Writing a novel seems to be one of those things that people say they’d like to do someday. I’d say a majority of people feel, at one time or another, that they could write a book. Most people say it, but most never do it.
Which brings me to the skeptics in my life. Because I’ve announced my intentions of “one day” making a living at writing, I can see how that might be mistaken for the same wistfulness that plagues so many wannabe novelists. Most people who have “one day”s sit back and wait for it to happen. “One day” I’ll run in that marathon. “One day” I’ll ask that guy out. They don’t make any concrete move toward their goals.
I say “one day” because there are so many variables. I can’t make someone like my work. I can’t make them buy it. And if no one buys it, it will never pay the bills. That’s life. I say “one day” because there’s no way for me to set an exact timeline for when I’ll be able to make writing my only job.
All I can do is fulfill my side of the contract. I can only control my output. I have to write, every day, no matter what, if there’s any hope of making it. I have to get better with every story, because it’s my job not to disappoint the reader. I have to bust my ass to make this novel the best I can. And the novel after that. And the one after that. Then I have to get my stuff out there, get people to see it, and hope like hell they like it.
Whether or not my “one day” ever comes rests squarely on my shoulders, and if I don’t work for it it never will.
(This post was inspired by someone who demanded I recruit followers for their writing instead of doing any work themselves. It doesn’t work like that. Sorry, Bro.)