Creative people tend to come up with lots of ideas. I came close to starting a radio talk show in St. Louis, working for a movie producer in Hollywood who actually became something. Then there was the writing. I’ve penned lots and lots of crap that very few people have ever read. The writing was always most important, but I couldn’t calm down enough to actually complete anything worth reading until I was in my 40s. Even now, I don’t consider myself a successful writer. At least not financially – yet.
I do get something else out of writing. Adventures at cons with friends. I get to meet lots of people and make more friends. I’ve also received reviews, emails (and even a handwritten letter) from people I don’t know, who have graciously shared their appreciation for my books. When someone says that I’ve made them laugh, or that they can’t wait for the next book, I don’t consider myself a failure anymore.
At a recent conference I attended, popular comic book writer Jason Aaron said, “Stories don’t just happen. You have to build them, craft them, and refine them. You can’t just sit around and wait for someone to tell you you’re a writer. There’s no writer fairy. You have to work for it.” I think these wise words are great advice in any field, and it took me longer than most to be happy with where I’m at. My advice for my daughter’s boyfriend, for friends and family, and for anyone whose dreams don’t go the right direction… after the failure hangover is done, try again. You’ve got another idea in there somewhere, and you’ve learned enough to do an even better job next time.
At the end of this long-winded lecture, my daughter said, “Wow, you’re like Wikipedia. You know stuff!” Isn’t it nice when it finally comes around? It certainly took long enough to get here.