I’ve probably said this before, and I’ll almost certainly say it again, but I think that the real difference between a successful artist and an unsuccessful artist is patience.
That isn’t to say that there are not people in the world who cannot succeed at a particular art no matter how hard they try. God knows, I couldn’t be a successful singer if I spent five hours a day every day for the rest of my life practicing. In the simplest of terms, my voice is NOT made for singing. The only person who has ever argued that point with me is my mother, and as you might imagine, she might not be the best judge of these things.
But I’ve met a lot of writers in my life. I’ve met them in writing groups, I’ve met them at conferences, I’ve bumped into them on planes and in parks. And I think that the best indicator of the level of success they will achieve is not their natural talent, but their commitment. It is a rare thing for an author to have any level of success early on in their career. There are exceptions, certainly, but most authors go through quite a few failures before they reach success, and I think that for most of us it’s just a question of patience.
First we have to be patient while we become good enough writers. Then we have to be patient as we search for an agent or publisher who shares our style and writing preferences. Then we have to be patient while our work floats through the world., looking for our audience. Each stage is long and grueling, and at a certain point we might have to move past patience into bullheadedness. God knows, that’s where I live now. I refuse to give up. I know that somewhere out there is a niche that will fit me perfectly I just have to be patient.
And try not to lose my mind.