The Light at the End of the Publishing Tunnel

Happy Halloween, everyone!

You know, in some circles, it’s considered advantageous to end endeavors before and begin new endeavors after the sun rises on November 1st (the official end of All Hallow’s Eve). In a sense, Halloween is a kind of spiritual New Years.

Thus it seems appropriate that over this last month, we Fictorians have shared the not-so-enjoyable aspects of our writing careers, from health issues to saboteur computers to fears of Bisquick, we’ve hit a lot of the big issues we writers face in our attempts to finish projects, build an audience, and further our careers.

And so we finish our journey into the darkness of the writing life today, Halloween, when it’s best to bring dark things to an end.

After reading the posts this month, I’ve been struck by how varied our fears and dislikes are, yet how uniform our reactions to them. It comes down to one word: perseverance.

With every setback, each of us has pressed on like the protagonists we write about. We try, we falter, we get back up (sometimes bloody), and we try again, repeating the sequence until we get it right. While few of us get the tidy denouement of our imaginary heroes, it’s important to remember that we get something they never will. We get a story that doesn’t end. Not really. There’s always another chapter, and we can either help drive the plot of our lives forward or let the twists and turns defeat us.

Not everyone can do it. Many don’t get back up after being knocked down. They don’t finish the book, don’t submit to their dream agents, don’t put themselves out there for possible ridicule, humiliation, and scorn. These are not the people who achieve the goals we all share — a thriving career as a published author. Whether out of fear of the unknown, or dealing with a failed attempt, the only way of getting past these rough spots is to persevere.

My dad used to always counter the phrase “There’s always a light at the end of the tunnel” with “Yeah, it’s the headlight of an oncoming train.”

To be fair, yeah, sometimes it is. But oftentimes it isn’t, and the only way to find out the difference is to walk the track.

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