Every once in a while, I’ll read a screed from a writer who is giving up. This usually comes in one of two forms – either the writer has determined that he or she has no talent, or the writer’s friends and family have persuaded them to “be more realistic” with their life. These supposedly well-meaning people have said that making a living with this whole writing thing is just too hard, and the writer should be doing more productive things with their time instead of wasting their time on a pipe dream that will likely never pan out anyway. Sure, the way they say this may be soothing or compassionate, but the basic message is always the same – stop writing and do something else. I’ve got only one thing to say about those people in your life.
Seriously, why are you allowing yourself to be brought down by such negativity? Real friends will help you along your career path because that’s what you want. Unfortunately, there will be lots of people who either disagree with your decision or are jealous with the path you’ve decided to take that they can’t stand it. Lots of people feel they need to assert control over you “for your own good.” The arrogance required for this is both staggering and common.
If people say you can’t write, ask them what they mean. If what they say makes sense, then work to get better. If people say you should be doing other things, cut them out of your life. Yes, that sounds harsh, but better to cut a toxic person out rather than cling on to them out of a misguided sense of loyalty that that person isn’t returning.
All too often I see writers failing to even attempt the endeavor because of self-doubt and the doubts of those that supposedly care about them. While there’s no guarantee that you’ll succeed if you try, I promise that you won’t succeed if you never even give it a shot. Most folks who succeed have failed time after time after time. Real winners figure out a way to break through the bullshit, dust themselves off, and plow right back into the morass. Even if you eventually fail, at least you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing you gave it your best shot. If you don’t try, all you’ll ever be left with will be a fantasy with a question mark over whether or not you really could’ve done it.
Screw the doubters. If they had a better way, they’d be doing it rather than ragging on yours. Get rid of them and find your own way ahead. At least you can say you succeeded or failed on your terms rather than someone else’s.