Illustration by Mrzyk & Moriceau
It's simple logic, right? The more you do something, the better you get at it. And yet we often seem to forget it.
Time and again I see writers whine and moan and lament online. "I've done everything I could for my book (or books), I have self-published them EVERYWHERE and I have talked about them on social media EVERYWHERE and I have gone to EVERY BLOODY EVENT there is and I have done THIS and I have done THAT and still fucking nothing is happening!"
Dear writer, please stop beating yourself up. The thing is, there is always luck involved in any art making, books or whatever else. If your art is read (seen, heard, etc.) by the right person at the right time, it might just get the push it needs to be exposed to lots of people. It doesn't mean YOU have done something wrong. It doesn't mean YOU have to keep getting out of your skin to do EVERYTHING. Stop. Breathe in. Breathe out. And just keep writing more books. The time you're spending on doing EVERYTHING? It's better to be spent on writing more books. The more of them you write, the better your books will get. And while you're writing them, luck will either find you, or it won't. Be content with it. Be ready to be NEVER found. That's not why you write, is it? You write for yourself. Because if you write for fame and riches, you better quit NOW.
You know how I know? I'll tell you my story. I'm smack in the middle of this.
Janna is my 8th book. For the sake of comparison, if you're comparing my process to your process, Janna is really my 6th book, since Siren Suicides was really just one overblown story cut in 3 parts. So, I'm writing my 6th book and only now, note, ONLY NOW, after having written 5 other books over the period of about 4 years do I begin to feel like I know what I'm doing. Which is to say, I don't know what I'm doing and I'm finally okay with it because I know I will know as I write it. There is tremendous freedom that comes with this knowledge of not knowing. It can't be achieved any other way except by writing enough books for you to get there. Some of us are lucky and get there faster, and some get there slower. It's no fault of ours. We're all different. It will take as long as it will take. But it will take longer if you spend time on other shit instead of spending time on writing more books. You see what I'm saying? You can't do more than you can physically do. And you can't beat yourself up for not doing more and somehow not succeeding in your own eyes. You're already succeeding by writing. And your luck will either come, or it won't. So forget about doing EVERYTHING for the books you have already written and write more.