I am that weird person who does not actually have a Twitter account but also reads Twitter daily via a series of bookmarks of people I like to follow on there. And today one of those people who I started following because they’re a nurse but also like to read because they’re a writer, had a good Twitter thread.
I’m going to link to it because it’s one of those emotionally raw threads the author may choose to delete later so I don’t want to create a permanent record of something they may not want to be permanent, but here it is: Cassie Alexander on a new release and writing and life
There are so many good parts to this thread it’s worth reading the whole thing starting around post seven.
I did take a screen cap of this part. (Which if she reaches out and asks me to delete I absolutely will.)
It is hard to be a writer. It takes a relentless sort of optimism to keep going at this thing. Because almost no one makes it right out of the gate. It is decades of effort to get somewhere that’s just the starting line.
And that’s really challenging to talk about. Because you have to be vulnerable and admit to not being as successful as you’d like to be. Or sometimes not being successful at all. And we live in a world that does not reward that vulnerability.
Fake it til you make it. You’re supposed to make things look absolutely effortless and fun and enjoyable as you sail into the sunset. But that’s really not the truth of it.
I enjoy every single day of my life right now. I enjoy the writing and the fiddling with design and the publishing books and even the advertising. But there are days when I have that dark moment of the soul.
Because how can it be that you can make good money just showing up and doing the job as X but you turn around and do something far more challenging that takes real dedication and effort and…don’t make money. Or not near as much money.
And I know that feeling she talks about of hoping but not hoping with that latest release. I mean, I just put out book eight of a cozy mystery series in December. I had to squash every single positive thought I might have about that book. Because it’s book eight.
It’s not going to take off and make my career. It will sell less copies than book seven. Or maybe as many copies. But not more. And being book eight that number of copies is way less than book one sold.
I just had to think of it as another brick in the wall of publication I’m building. It’s slow grinding work to stack that next one on there and not be able to see that everything is (hopefully) working to create something that’s bigger than the sum of its parts.
Part of my issue with the idea of publishing a new fantasy series is that whole, “maybe this will be the one” idea. Because I know it won’t. But I know I need to do it anyway to keep building this writing thing.
It’s hard not to hope and then be disappointed over and over again. But that’s the business.
I tell myself, “You can’t lose until you quit.” And the small wins do keep me going. There’s always some little glimmer of hope. But, man, some days…