Kristen Lamb wrote this piece about the odds of success, and one of the things that stuck out for me was this:
This job is like one giant funnel. Toss in a few million people with a dream and only a handful will shake out at the end. Is it because fortune smiled on them? A few, yes. But, for most, the harder they worked, the “luckier” they got. They stuck it out and made the tough choices.
It reminded me of this article by Robert J. Sawyer on Heinlein’s rules. In addendum to the rules, he includes a hypothetical writer drop out rate:
Of our original hundred wannabe writers, only one or two will follow all six rules. The question is: will you be one of them? I hope so, because if you have at least a modicum of talent and if you live by these six rules, you will make it.
Sometimes it feels like writing success is one giant crapshoot. There are so many external factors involved and so many reasons to be rejected. However, what I like about these two articles, is that they break down the parts we can control, and it’s more than we think.
And I know it’s been said many times, but a reminder is sometimes good, these two articles really boil down to one thing: you will succeed if you keep trying.
Never give up. Never stop learning. It may happen tomorrow, or ten years, or twenty years from now, but it will happen as long as you don’t give up.
And, what if I don’t really have talent? you ask. Well, I believe talent it’s helpful, but hard work goes a long way.
Talent in cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work ~ Stephen King
But it also helps to have a little encouragement along the way, which is why being part of the writing community is such a great thing 🙂