Oh no! Everyone’s writing books now, and it seems like the days of yesteryore, wherein respectable writers signed with stable publishing houses for reasonable advances, are gone forever.
You Cynic, Mr. Poole!
Panic and cynicism abound on the internet. However, one may comfort oneself by remembering that this hysteria has always been present, manifested in different ways.
How Was It Manifested?
People who manned the pen (or keyboard) could once moan and bitch (via snail-mail and radial telephone, or over the bar-counter of yore) about how impossible it was to get a response from an agent. Writers lived in despair of the good old days of magazine serials, or those good times before the devils, television and radio, stopped humans from reading. Oh, and get off my lawn.
Cranky Old Bean!
If a body is bitching, that body is not producing. Here is a grand, wonderful secret that no one but me will ever tell you (because I am working right now, and sometimes I feel like telling you real things). The second you hear someone telling you about how things used to be reasonable and easy (in terms of winning success), know that the person is an idiot, and probably lazy, or a thief.
What’s this? A Thief, You Say?
Nobody who is yammering does any work, beloved stranger (or despised stranger, if you’re one of the bad ones). Everyone who opens their mouth claims to do a great deal of work, but the only ones who actually do any work don’t talk about it. (I know, I know; I’m transitioning into silence.)
What Are They Stealing?
We are an entitled bunch, not because of our naturally turgid natures, but because of all the liars. They are so loud, you know. They start in on us early, and tell us every moment how hard it is, and how unfair. They convince us not to try, or to hold back our best efforts. “It won’t be worth it!” they exclaim. “I’m protecting you from the pain of rejection!” These complainy-complainerpants steal our attention, our time, and more importantly, they take our hope for our futures.
Block Them Out!
How do you succeed? You stop listening to the yammering fools. They are ever so vociferous, almost as if (cough) they had nothing better to do with their time then chew on your ear. If you are one of the bitching beasts, put one quarter, or even half, of the energy into working (silently, and earnestly) that you currently pour into moaning, and lo, you shall progress forward. But you shan’t, because the moaning folk don’t want to do any work; they don’t want success.
What’s This? They Don’t?
Is the market for fiction burgeoning? Well, a lot of people say so. However, the proportion of humans who apply themselves diligently over great stretches of time has not measurably increased, so your odds are as they ever were. You zip your lip and do the legwork, and you will get somewhere. But here’s the other big secret: this working thing has never been within reach. No person is born with a natural fixation on constant effort. It will probably hurt your pride to buckle to, because the liars have all misled you about the reality of success.
Partridge lays his sheath of arrows on the mountain ledge; he draws a red-tipped dart and notches his bow. The scene below is still, quiet, ominous, like the breath of a dying man. Women cross the opening, their arms filled to overflowing with sheaves of harvest grain. The cry of an omingol pierces the night. Partridge swings his bow up, pointing into the darkening sky. He looses the arrow with a twang! Women stop still, stare up at him. He is seen.
His knife makes a depression, a ridge of sorrow, along the edge of his hip. He lays the bundled arrows down, and kneels at the rim of the ravine. The ground crunches, a sound like the whisper of death rattling in an old man’s mouth.
A whir of black wings; a flash of blue eyes in the night. The shriek of the rogue omingol rips the peaceful night into scraps of shadow. Partridge’s fingers close around the shaft of an arrow, the tip painted gold and red.