“The writer must believe that what he is doing is the most important thing in the world. And he must hold to this illusion even when he knows it is not true.” ~ John Steinbeck
It is a beautiful, sunny day here in Ireland and more than anything I want to be outside. The last four months have been dull and gray. September is notoriously sunny in Ireland. Except this year. With only days left in the month, this is our first day of sunshine. And now on this rare occasion, I want to be outside, except that I am inside, locked down in front of my computer, trying to finish my novel and the goal posts are in sight. This is one of the reasons why the life of a writer sucks. Big time. And regretfully, there are more.
There is no guarantee that you will be published. It is worth repeating that it is near impossible to get published these days.
There is no regular paycheck. Even if you do get published, you will get an advance against the royalties and then it takes about 18 months before your book hits the stands. And even then, you have to wait for your first royalty check which is minus your advance.
Unless you are psychic, it is hard to determine what the publishing trends are going to be. And if you jump on the trend bandwagon, chances are by the time your book is published that trend will have been exhausted.
There is no future in it. Face it, a writer is only as good as his last book. And even a book deal does not take you to retirement with a pension.
Sacrifice. The things you have to give up in order to park yourself in front of your computer to churn out your masterpiece which may not even sell are staggering: everything from that precious commodity called time–time spent doing other things, time working a real job, and time spent with your family. Not to mention giving up your favorite TV shows, computer games and the weekly lunches with friends. Forget your favorite hobbies and sports as well. Instead of reading two to three books a week, you can barely get through one.
And yet knowing this, we still continue to write.
Because whether unpublished or not, being a writer is an intrinsic part of our being like the color of your eyes or your heritage. It is something about yourself that you cannot deny. It is an involuntary action for your body in the same way as breathing is: you must do it in order to live.