Do you think, if you say the word “impossible” enough times, that difficult things will suddenly become easier for you? — Richard Bach
When we write, we understand the reality of the word impossible. Writers stare at it every day and deal with the kind of rejection that would make a telemarketer swallow entire bottles of Prozac. Our job is the only one where you find small success after failing dozens,if not hundreds, of times. It is an industry driven by celebrities getting multi-million dollar book deals for an “as told to” byline to an unknown ghostwriter (see Snooki or any other members of the Jersey Shore cast, Rielle Hunter or <insert your own celebrity flash-in-the-pan here>). Bad books get all of the large advances from the publishers who then feel obligated to throw massive marketing resources behind the book… some become bestsellers based on the buzz, but most end up in the bargain bin at Barnes & Noble within weeks of release. On the flip side, you have good books with little to no marketing support by the publisher which sell only a couple of hundred copies, go out-of-print and then get “discovered” decades after the writer dies. Or in many cases these days, a good book hangs on and gains momentum through the effort of the author or devoted readers who love it.
Some great authors struggle for years to make enough money just to get by, waiting for that elusive “breakout” book that gives them enough cash to stop working that mall security job or that part-time teaching position to write full-time. Maybe this breakout book gives them enough to buy a house, invest in a decent retirement, or put money aside for the kids’ college tuition.
When co-workers ask you: “Why are you wasting your time?” What do you answer? When an unsupportive boss, professor or parent says: “You’ll never be published.” How do you respond?
When J.K Rowling was a recently divorced welfare mother, writing in a local coffee shop while her infant daughter napped, do you think that she saw the publication of Harry Potter as impossible? After every major publisher rejected the book, do you think that she believed that her success was impossible? When these publishers told her that fantasy was a dying genre and that children didn’t like reading that kind of stuff anymore, did she give up and agree with the publishers that selling a fantasy novel in a day and age where the Playstation and XBox rules supreme was impossible? Did anyone imagine that less than 10 years later, Rowling would be richer than Queen Elizabeth? Impossible… right?
The only way to make the impossible possible is through hard work, belief in yourself, and the determination to move forward despite the odds. Now go do the impossible!