Blogger: Rachelle Gardner
Recently several clients have said to me some version of, “I want to be in this for the long haul.” It’s given me the opportunity to have discussions about what helps a writer accomplish this goal – and what can sabotage their efforts.
It’s an important topic for consideration, because sometimes we have to make difficult decisions on a day-to-day basis, and we don’t always know which way to go. But if we’re always looking at those decisions in light of the long haul, it’s easier to know what to do.
There’s a lot going on in our world today, and it’s very distressing. Our focus is distracted. We may need to devote our time and attention in a different direction for a time. This is where long-haul thinking can be especially helpful: we’re pretty sure the current situation isn’t permanent, so if our attention is diverted for a a while, it’s okay—we can recover from that.
What are some ways to develop a “long haul” writing career?
- Pay attention to where your passion and artistic integrity intersect with the market.
- Be radically persistent and resilient. Don’t let setbacks debilitate you.
- Pay attention to when a pivot might be needed, and don’t be afraid to try it.
- Keep refining your appeal to readers by developing and maintaining a uniquely compelling voice.
- Write books people want and need right now. Stay aware of the current cultural zeitgeist.
- Remain somewhat optimistic about the business of publishing. (People still want to read!)
- Refuse to panic when things aren’t going your way.
What could sabotage your ability to stay in it for the long haul?
- Pay too much attention to critics, allowing them to discourage you.
- Fail to learn from mistakes.
- Treat people badly or disrespectfully.
- Give up when things get too hard.