Scott Lynch, one of my favorite fantasy authors as of late, said something truly funny about his writing career, which I never forgot. In the bio on his website, Scott Lynch says:
“I had just about every job you usually see in this sort of author bio– dishwasher, busboy, waiter, web designer, office manager, prep cook, and freelance writer.”
And isn’t that so true? When the public sees an author, you might be inclined to believe that an author is all they’ve ever been, and that becoming smashingly successful is their Manifest Destiny. But for the most part they’re not, and it wasn’t; they just didn’t quit.
Understanding this, it’s important to know that becoming a titan almost never happens overnight. You would be just as likely to exclaim, “well, I ran my first/second/fourteenth marathon and I didn’t beat that professional runner who does this, literally, for a freakin’ living, so I guess I’m not a runner.”
In a society that so values monetary success, understand that the immediate lack thereof is not a sign of failure, nor is it a symptom of bad writing or flawed ideas, though that’s an easy go-to excuse. It might mean you need to do web design, or bus tables, or waitress, or cut vegetables very, very quickly, but it does not mean you have to stop writing. Just look at Scott Lynch. “Real” authors have held other jobs for years, and “real” authors will continue to take these other jobs, because they have to eat, too.
So, hold on to those “other” jobs (Maslow would really recommend it), but don’t ever convince yourself that you’re not a writer. Yes, I’m a barista and a tutor, but these jobs do not preclude me from being an author.
And on that note, I would like to say I have officially signed my first-ever book contract, an editor is working on my manuscript, and Avengarde will be on sale soon-ish! Now go write!
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Don’t steal my words. They’re mine. Zachary Barnes 2016©