Author and teacher extraordinaire, Barbara Rogan has a post here in which she talks about a study recently done on authors. In her post Barbara says:
My advice to aspiring fiction writers is and has always been that if
they can imagine themselves happy doing anything else, they should do
This statement wormed its way into my subconcious and brought back out a memory. When my brother, who is an anesthesiologist, was starting at a university and considering the long journey of pre-med, med school, residency, school loans, and such, spoke with many doctors. He asked about the process, if they thought it was worth it, how to prepare for it. He was told by the doctors, if there is anything else you can do and be happy, then do it. The long arduous trip was only worth it if you were driven to practice medicine. If it was a calling, rather than an occupation.
It surprised me a bit at first to see the same words applied to writing, but then it made perfect sense. I've often heard that a writer has to write a million words before they are good enough to get published. I guess those million words are our med-school and residency. No, writing doesn't save people's lives, but it can save people's souls.
Most, if not all, professions have some sort of training or certification that one has to complete before being able to do the job. All our training is on the job, and because writing is a solitary pursuit it can sometimes take us a long time to really grow. The pathway to publishing is long, and difficult. One of the hardest things is how subjective it is. Even if we practice and write our million words, even if we are very, very good, there is no guarantee that we'll find someone who believes in our book the same way we do.
All in all I agree with the statement, if you are not driven to be a writer, the rejection strewn pathway may not be worth it for you. I've known others who have given up rather than trying to learn and grow. The reward of being published wasn't worth the work, effort, and rejection received.
But it is for me.