I’ve been in the publishing biz long enough to have seen plenty of changes (magazines folding, editors shuffling to new publications, the rise of digital, layoffs, rise and fall of vampires, you name it).
And I know other writers have “keys” to success. Probably among them: Things like perseverance, networking, hard work, studying the craft and business. Stuff like that. And those are definitely solid things to achieve.
But I’d like to add one more. The one that is probably the only thing that keeps me going in this business.
A healthy sense of delusion.
For realsies. Maybe it falls under the “resilience” category, or maybe it’s “hope.” But for me, a healthy sense of, “yeah, sure, I can do that!” or “heyyyy, I bet if I try…” has served me well for more than fifteen years.
Now, granted, I have no Pulitzer on my mantle, no NYT best-selling author tag to glue after my name. But I keep trying, keep coming up with new ways to handle the changes, keep getting up every morning and plopping my butt in the chair. All because I’m deluded? Pretty much!
Because I wonder what it would be like if I didn’t have that “mayyybeee I can” mentality. Would I give it up entirely? Say, “Okay, uncle. Too much is against me.”? And then what? Just never write again?
I may never achieve high-flying, pie-in-the-sky goals. But I plan to achieve my goals in my writing business. And if I wear my sense of delusion like a super cloak of protection, at least I’ll look good doing it.
So, here’s my suggestion: Look in that mirror and see what you want to see. Then plot your steps — no matter how crazy they may seem to others — to achieve it. There you go: Key to success.
I’m curious to know what keeps you going? Not just in writing, but in any goal you want to achieve? (Side note: My delusion leads me to believe I’ll get many, many comments on this. Never mind the reality.)