How important is hard work when you’re honing the craft of writing? Absolutely, as a friend of mine would say. Put your nose to the grindstone, learn all you can, write your heart out and one day, one day, you will reap rewards. It may be a six-figure advance, a contest finalist berth, a big award or mere contributor copies after a photograph or poem is published. It may not be what you once hoped for, or expected. But celebrate anyway. Do a Snoopy dance, laugh and be grateful for whatever blessing comes your way.
Whatever the victory, big or small, kick back. Have a drink of some kind, whether it’s a fruit smoothie, a special type of tea or coffee, or whatever, a favorite dinner out or in, lunch with friends. Watch a movie, eat popcorn. Spend some time with family, bake cookies. I plan to do some of that. And then, once you have taken a breath, get back to work.
As published authors everywhere know, there is no end. No greener grass on the other side of the fence. Just more work. Harder work, sometimes, selling that second book. If not, good for you! Celebrate all over again. But the key to *staying* published is more products to submit. No one can do that for you. In this day and age, your work has to be as close to perfect as possible. Now is not the time to sit back and rest on whatever laurels you’ve earned. Get out there and earn more, because this is a competitive business. Readers will quickly find other favorite authors. So don’t take them for granted. Give them a great story, as good or better than the first, the second, third, fourth, etc. times. That’s key to growing your audience.
You can give away all the gift baskets and prizes and free books and doo-dads you want, as long as you get the next book written and polished. I’m the first to admit I hung back a decade ago, waiting, believing I would publish very soon – and wasted time believing my work was good enough. I learned I was wrong. A tough lesson, and it took a fallow period to get over that. But I swallowed my pride and renewed my faith.
That’s all you can control – your own attitude. Stay positive. Stay in the creative zone.
Stay the course.