This post was co-published at talanhorne.com.
Since, at the moment, I'm stuck in the publisherless limbo that threatens to destroy my optimism and devour my very soul, I thought I should take this opportunity to talk about what it is I hope for.
Starry-eyed Young People
Being an author is one of careers people call "dream jobs". That does not mean that the job is always profitable, or worthwhile, and it definitely doesn't mean that the job is easy. But, in almost all cases, having a dream job is the job you have chosen and would prefer over any other.
And that's true for authors as much as any other kind of dream job. A lot of them don't make substantial money off of their work, yet they will make any number of sacrifices to keep their position.
And I can understand their reasoning. Authors, after all, are wonderful things. They're the reason books exist. They add to the variety of the world and enrich the experience of life.
But countless starry-eyed young people want to be authors. Millions have the passion and the drive requisite for the work. Which is a shame, because a great number of them don't get off the ground.
This troubles me, because I have the same optimism that has accompanied the thousands of failed authors out there. Granted, the successful authors were graced by the same affliction. But at some point, I have to ask myself, what makes myself different?
One thing I have long known about myself is that I don't want to be an author. That is to say, I don't intend to settle for simply being on a bookshelf. Or to write a story that anyone else in the world could write. And that gives me hope.
Because one thing I have noticed with a lot of failed hopefuls is that they write books that anyone could have written. A lot of them turn to self publishing (which is how I find them) and far too many of these books have a common point of failure: they're impersonal. It's as if the author is merely trying to write a book.
I never set out to write a book. I never entertain the idea of writing something down until I'm sure it's the book that needs to be written. I filter my brain-children, only giving voice to the ones that pass a certain threshold of depth, of originality, of agony, or of just plain awesomeness.
In this respect, I don't really want to be an author. I want to be an influencer---someone who gives you a powerful experience that lingers in your human perception of the world. I want the thing I give you to become important to you. And for that, I can't settle for just being any kind of author.
Hope of All Hopes
So, as I wait for an opportunity that could change the course of my life, and could see a particularly worthy book brought onto the world stage, what is it I hope for?
I hope to be the best.
It sounds a bit narcissistic (and it is), but it also serves a purpose. Having such a grandiose hope forces me to be hard on myself. And by being hard on myself, I make my writing glow with the effort. When I say I'm proud of the books I've written, it's not simply an affirmation. It's a confession of my labor, of how much was taken out of me to compose this work I now pass on to you.
And I hope that's enough to make me different. I can't guarantee it will put me over the finish line. There are no guarantees. But this is who I am. If the industry gives me a chance, I will be explosive. If it does not give me a chance, then I will be nothing. But the one thing I will never be...is a lukewarm, milquetoast, or plain vanilla author.
Right now, I'm strolling over the edge. Whatever happens, happens.
But I always hope for the best.
Thanks for reading.