Fortitude - A-Z Challenge, Starting & Sustaining A Writing Career

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Courage or strength when facing pain or trouble. That's what fortitude means for the writer. The pain will be inevitable—unless you're an immediate best-seller—and will be along mental lines. 

When the masterpiece you've slaved over for months/years can't get the traction it needs to do well in the marketplace, you'll begin to doubt you're gone down the right road. You'll wonder why you ever thought of taking on writing as a permanent part your future and there will be days when you feel your writing cannot compare with all wonderful books being sold by other writers.

For many of us artists, marketing and promotion feels like a full-time job and can be a time suck if we get busy selling the one or two books we've written to anybody who'll listen. One writer likened the job of selling books to being a tiny goldfish in a pond with millions of other fish. The reality of the situation is that with the ease of publishing many persons are more inclined to follow their dreams of putting out a book.

By the same token, it's easy to become discouraged and give up when nothing happens in the first few years of writing and publishing, but we all know about that comparison between a sprint and a marathon. Enough said, I think.

There will be days when you wonder why you're even continuing with that next story when you've barely sold 50 copies of the last one, or when someone writes a review that makes you want to curl up and hide. This is when you'll call on the faith you have in your abilities and press forward with courage, knowing that writing is a fundamental part of who you are and that aborting your mission is not an option.

Everyone thinks they can be a writer. Most people don't understand what's involved. The real writers persevere. The ones that don't either don't have enough fortitude and they probably wouldn't succeed anyway, or they fall in love with the glamour of writing as opposed to the writing of writing.
                                                                                  - Peter McWilliams

The other day I was reading a book by an author who had given himself the task of writing 100 books before he declared whether he was successful at writing. Since I believe it's good to have targets, I set myself a goal of getting to 50 books. How many books are you going to realistically set for yourself as a measure (your personal version) of success?

23 comments:

  1. A hundred books? That will keep him busy.
    It just took one for me, because all it took was the miracle of publication to make me feel successful. Sales and three more books is all bonus.

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    1. That made me chuckle. We all have different ideas of success. :)

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  2. I have written a few books, I have made more art/design books... I am always afraid people would not get me or the books I had written... someday.

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  3. I never thought about setting a number of books to use as a measure of success. Now I'm going to think about that and come up with a number.

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  4. Fifty books, that's just great,JL! Hank has published only 2 books, ie compilations of the blog postings. The biggest thrill was the first book. I suppose it'll taper off as one goes along with more books. Good luck to you JL!

    Hank.

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  5. I never thought about how many books. I'd have to consider that long and hard.

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  6. Loads of authors in the A To Z Blog Challenge this year. Enjoy the rest of the challenge

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  7. It's hard and I know you have to keep on in spite of all the discouraging results. What's interesting is that just when I think forget this, something great happens. There's always a carrot that shows up.

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  8. I'm thinking of around twelve. I'm well on my way. Does combining my first three books into one box set count as a fourth book?

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  9. I've only finished 3 full manuscripts. Thinking about writing 100 really puts it in perspective.

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  10. I think I could honestly say I've succeeded at writing because when I was working on Being Human, it struck me as a book others might enjoy, so I set out to learn about publishing and get it out there. There's more stories in me now. I'd like to earn steady income, but I want to think the reason I kept going was because I'm enjoying it.

    ~Patricia Lynne aka Patricia Josephine~
    Member of C. Lee's Muffin Commando Squad
    Story Dam
    Patricia Lynne, Indie Author

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  11. I do feel like that goldfish, since there are so many published writers out there. Still, I love what I do and it's great getting fan mail and reviews. I'd like to have at least one book published a year.

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  12. Sometimes fortitude is so exhausting. Though I suppose it's worth it.

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  13. I (just) write for fun! Love to peek in on 'real' writers. Thx.

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  14. I should have 100 by the end of the year, so we'll see come then. But I enjoy so will keep on going.

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  15. I'll be happy to have one book out soon. I think any book you sell and make money off of should considered successful. Everything after is just ongoing validation.

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  16. I would consider it a success if I were to finish writing one book.

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  17. This is great!

    I'm working on my fifth book right now, a goal of writing fifty before I decide whether or not I'm successful is a goal I'm going for.

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  18. Excellent post!
    Not all books are for all people. So some goldfish have to sell to the starfish, and others to the sharks, and others get to sell to the bigger schools of fish. So I guess I'll write enough to make the jellyfish and a few of my fellow goldfish happy. ;)

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  19. I've heard of reading 100 books, but writing them? Wow, that is fortitude. I'm just taking it one book at a time.

    Scribbles From Jenn - Visiting from the A to Z Challenge

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  20. Hi, this is very timely for me because I've got two books out and one in edits. There's been a long gap between 2 & 3 and I think it has impacted on my confidence. You're so right, however, instant success for some does most of us a huge disservice and we do need to keep on keeping. I won't prophesy how many books I'll right, but I do have double figure rejects around the house already. thank you. Good post and good advice. anne stenhouse, Novels Now.

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  21. I don't have a goal like that. I'll be happy to write stories people enjoy to read. Great post!

    TD Harvey
    A to Z participant
    http://www.tdharveyauthor.com

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Don't be shy. I'd love to hear what you think.