I knew I was a best selling novelist from the start. The moment I finished my first novel, Threads. That was the beginning of my career—my non-paying career, that is. Then I wrote The Man By the Door, To Our Waking Souls, One Love, and The Last Run. All unpublished, each a best seller in my head. Perhaps a few of these never got mailed around to agents often enough to get noticed. Maybe I was just too embarrassed, or too interested in writing the next novel, and the next, to put additional time into mailing them out. I’m slowly rewriting a few of those earlier novels. Some may never get that far.
Then there are the poems, maybe a hundred or more that will probably never get published. Short stories, too. Essays, as well. I once heard that if thirty percent of your writing output got published then you could consider yourself a professional. That sounds great until you notice that even at thirty percent you may not be able to pay your bills. You’ll still need another job in order to do that.
Hearing about the writers whose first books make it big always reminds me of the thousands of other writers who are still writing—for peanuts—and who can’t stop writing, like me.
I believed, though. Every step of the way I just knew that “this” book, each one, was the breakout book for me. That I’d finally be that overnight success.
I’ve read where it took Willy Nelson about thirty years to become an overnight success. For others it took only a few years. Then there are those who are a success for a while, then drop from view. It’s all the same though, isn’t it?
You do what you must, whether it works out for you or not. So, tonight, while I’m writing this blog post, I pour a glass of wine. I lift the glass in honor of the thirty year overnight success. And I drink to the writer, the artist, who never gets to that point, but never quits, either.
Terry Persun writes in many genres, including historical fiction, mainstream, literary, and science fiction/fantasy. He is a Pushcart nominee. His latest poetry collection is “And Now This”. His novels, “Wolf’s Rite” and “Cathedral of Dreams” were ForeWord magazine Book of the Year finalists in the science fiction category, and his novel “Sweet Song” won a Silver IPPY Award. His latest science fiction space opera is, “Hear No Evil”, his latest fantasy is “Doublesight”, his latest mainstream/literary novel is “Ten Months in Wonderland”.