I've been doing this writing thing for some time now.
I've learned tricks of the trade, how to write a pretty damn good story, and how to grow my writing business from the ground up.
But I come back to one thing all the time. It's one thing that simply can't be learned:
There are writers and then there are writers.
There are people that work hard at what they do. They fight for recognition. They understand the value of their work and they understand it will take tremendous sacrifice to get there. I like to think that I'm part of this group.
But then there are the magicians of our generation. These are the writers that have the craft engrained in them...like breathing.
I want to punch these people square in the face.
Why? Well, because I'm jealous. There, I said it.
I often ask myself what it would take to make "the big time". It's quite a simple response, too. It takes talent, marketing, and a little luck. As much as we want to believe that our hard work is the only thing we need to make a statement in our chosen crafts, that's not the case. The truth is, skill and talent are both needed, but more importantly, you have to have a bit of luck, too. Meet the right people. Join the right organization. Take a risk or two.
This might seem unfair because, well, it is. Not everyone has the ability. Not everyone can take their writing to the next level. Heck, I don't even know if I can yet, but I'm certainly willing to try and find out.
Writing has been labeled many things in the 21st Century. Whether it's "nerdy" or "snobby" all the way to "a dying art", the craft of writing has never been hard-pressed for critique. For most writers, this doesn't even phase them. We don't usually write for fame. We write just to write - to feel the pen slide across paper, the snap of the keyboard against our fingers, the feeling of making something from nothing but the ideas published only in our own minds - but let me ask you one question:
Who are you kidding?
There may be an element of therapy involved with how you work, but - especially with a such a global thing as writing - expanding audience is only a natural thing to desire. The more people that read your writing, the better it makes you feel. It validates the feelings that drown our creativity and liberates even the most powerful of sinking feelings. Humans want to feel acceptance because we are communal beings. For writers, eBook downloads and paperback purchases is just that.
And it's not a bad thing. It's definitely never a bad thing. Because where would humans be without a little competition?
On the surface, competition seems like a negative thing. It feels like a way to segregate the "good" from "bad", the "talented" from the "unskilled", but I will tell you that, like most things in this world, perspective can do more than just change perception. It can change mentality, as well. Without competition, everyone would be given a participation trophy, told "good job" just because they did whatever was asked of them.
Hooray... For me, that's a terrifying concept. It leads to a really bad case of entitlement - something that so many millennials already suffer from. Competition allows the people of this world to shine.
The likes of Patrick Rothfuss (author of The Name of the Wind), William Gibson (author of Neuromancer), and Frank Herbert (author of Dune) would never acquire the recognition they have without competition...without the talent and skill of writing a damn good story...without a bit of luck, of knowing the right people, taking a few risks along the way.
I'd still like to punch those amazing writing-crazed magicians in the face. Quite frankly, they're just too good.