Wednesday, May 11, 2011
Expectations & Other Things That Make My Head Explode
So, in an industry as volatile and ever-changing as ours has become, how do you maintain reasonable expectations of yourself and your work?
It's easy to measure ourselves based on the success of our colleagues.
I have one response to this: Don't.
Everyone has their own paths to publication, to their version of success. The learning curve in writing is steep and unending. Comparing ourselves to each other leads to depression, a desire to quit, and a very strong urge to pluck your own eyes out with a fork.
Again I say: Don't.
There will be those people who query ten agents and get four offers, but it's very unlikely that it will be you.
There will be those people who will go out on submission and their book will sell at auction or a preempt within the first month. That probably won't be you either.
So why keep going?
Because you're the only one who can decide your own limits.
Set your expectations on things you can control:
~ Your first book will most likely suck...so make your goal to be sure each one (#2 or #72) is better than the last.
~ Your first ten queries will probably attract nothing but rejections...so make your goal to improve your query until the agent can't help but request.
~ Your first ten requests will probably still end up in rejections...so make your book shine so the next ten will fight over you.
Make your goals about improving on your own successes, and learning from your own mistakes. Your success is between you and you. Don't drag anyone else into it.
If you just keep writing and improving--you are succeeding. Don't let anyone tell you any different.