I meet a lot of writers during my travels around the country
teaching at fan events and writers’ conferences. And one thing always sticks
out to me. How do so many people believe that they will write one book, sell
it, and make a million bucks?
I just do not understand this mentality. It is a very rare
thing for someone to sell their first book. Or their second. Or even their
fifth. Writing is a skill, and as with all skills, it takes time to learn the
craft and hone your abilities. Stephen King started writing in 1959 but did not
even get his first short story published until 1965. He didn’t sell a novel
As a football guy, I think of it this way. Say you are an
eight year old, 3
rd grade football player. And say you are the BEST
eight year old, 3
rd grade football player in all the world. No other
eight year olds can compete with you. Do you think you can make it in the NFL?
No, you would be crushed… mostly because you’re eight. But also because while
you may have skills, they pale in comparison to those men who have spent their
lives honing their craft.
Writing is the same. When you write your first book, you are
rd grade. Perhaps you take some giant leaps forward with your
second, and you are now in the 6
th grade. That still doesn’t make you
a professional. You have tons to learn. Your third may get you all the way to
high school, and your fourth into college. Even still, you are probably not
ready for the pros.
So, writing your first book is awesome. It is a great
learning experience, and will serve you well. But, once it is done, move on.
Start something new. Grow, learn, experience. This is a journey, and that first
novel of yours, it’s just an overnight stay on that journey.
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