A to Z Disclaimer:
Like all craftspeople, writers need to keep a bag of tricks handy. A set of tools for the job m (writing), if you will. Some of these traits or tools are obvious--like the need to have a hide as thick as a brick, for instance. Some are not. This month, I've been challenged to do a post every day of the week (excluding Sunday) that begins with a letter of the alphabet. I'm going to use this challenge to examine some of those necessary writing tools, both conventional and not. Hold on to your #2 pencil, here we go!
NOTE: I've added a page dedicated to my A to Z Writer's Toolbox posts. I figured I'd soon have a bunch of these things and it'll make it easier for you to browse any of the letters you might have missed. You can find a link to the page under the, "MORE STUFF" heading at the top of the right-hand column of this page.
D is for denial
When faced with great odds, great people routinely ignore them. Like a dog will seek out a sliver of sunlight on the floor to warm in, survivors and thrivers will find the slimmest bits of hope to cling to in times of trial. As unusual as it sounds, denial is the stuff of success and champions.
"Never tell me the odds!" ~ Han Solo, The Empire Strikes Back
Why Writers Need to Burry Their Heads in the Sand:
Writing has always been a game for dreamers and explorers. History has taught us that players in those types of games don't always succeed. The Spanish explorers never found that city of gold, and most of the people who moved to California for the "Gold Rush" were poorer for their efforts.
Perhaps the most vexing question facing all writers is: Will the hours you devote to mining for creative gold yield anything but eyestrain, sore fingers and a caffeine addiction?
If you write long enough, there'll be loads of people who will try to convince you that it's an ultimately fruitless activity. A hobby to be done between more serious pursuits. After all, who would devote weeks, months and maybe even years to something that could potentially earn them not a dime? Children and crazy people, that's who.
"Denial ain't just a river in Egypt." ~ Mark Twain
And those are just the people who know nothing about publishing! The outlook isn't much rosier coming from people who've actually been there, done that. If you follow agent blogs and listen to the chatter of other writers, you know the immeasurable odds of getting the attention of professional eyes, much less their endorsement. Sadly, it seems the opportunities for traditional publishing are diminishing. Bookstores are closing, and the publishing giants are feeling the financial squeeze of a new world economy, simply struggling to find their place in the modern reading world. Increasingly, new authors are often seen as a risk, not an investment.
So why do we continue to write when logic, time and finances are against us? For me, it's because I still believe that my next word will be the profound one. That my next sentence will be the one that an entire story is built upon. That my next paragraph will be the one that no one else could craft. That my next story will be the one that people will clamor to read.
Maybe that's denial, or maybe I'm just blissfully unaware. Either way, not regularly staring down the odds has allowed me to write with more confidence and purpose. So the next time someone asks me about how difficult it is to get published, I think I'll just tell them I'm not sure and keep writing.
"I have a very highly developed sense of denial." ~ Gwyneth Paltrow
P.S. ~ I quoted Han Solo, Mark Twain AND Gwyneth Paltrow today ... did I mention I'm really enjoying this A-Z thing? :-)