- You’ll sometimes feel like a joke nobody gets, and not because it’s a smart joke.
- You’ll sometimes feel embarrassed about the stupid shit you say and write while you’re learning how this publishing thing works (see: this). There’s a lot to know and it’s always changing. Forgive yourself and keep learning.
- You’ll feel (and be) perpetually ignored, especially at first while you’re trying to build yourself into a circle of writers you’re sure are your people. Some people you admire and were positive you’d like will turn out to be dicks. But some will turn out to be your greatest allies and writer friends. Adjust accordingly. Do not turn into a dick.
- You’ll experience several dozen fucktons of rejection at every level.
- There will always be people–even friends and family you love and respect–who just don’t get what you’re doing. And some won’t understand what the big deal is, even if you get an agent or a book deal or twenty book deals. Oh well. You’re not doing it for them.
- If you choose, over and over, to make it about the journey–about the writing–instead of about “making it” (which is a moving target anyway) you’ll be okay. You’ll be happy, even.
- Stay humble. Keep growing.
- So much is outside your control. Try to laugh about that at least as much as you cry. A 60:40 laugh to cry ratio seems healthy.
And remember that there’ll always, always be evil assgadgets who get something from malicious criticism of those who have the audacity to go after seemingly impossible dreams. If you die trying, you’re a thousand times braver than they are, which is probably why they hate you so much. Unless they’re paying your bills, fuckem. Do what you love.
R.L. Saunders writes young adult and middle grade fiction. She lives in Key West, where her well-received column in Key West, the Newspaper ran for five years. Saunders was Assistant Professor of English and Humanities at Northwood University, and developed and directed their writing center. You can find her online at rlsaundersauthor.com and @rl_saunders.