Writing a novel is lonely, and usually misunderstood. If you choose to pursue this career, be prepared for rejection from the industry, friends, and/or family.
Many times, those who are close to you think you are foolish for pursuing it because they view it as a profession for other people, famous people, people they don’t know. It’s natural, I guess, though unfair, to think that the person close to you is not talented enough to make it in the industry, and any book you write will, unfortunately, never be good enough for them. I guess it stems from the unfortunate fact that those you are closest to are also your biggest critics.
In the end, you have to say, “Who cares?” Who cares about the critics or the naysayers?
While no man is an island, you may discover that there may only be one other person on that island. It may be a friend, a family member, an agent, etc… Although it helps to have family and friends support and believe in you, it’s not necessary. And if you wait for that to happen, you may never pursue your career… or your dreams.
Sometimes, the only way to prove someone wrong is to succeed. So that is what you must do. Write, be lonely and misunderstood, but above all, succeed. By then, you will know who your true friends and supporters are. They are the ones who stuck with you through failure and rejection, and told you the whole time that you are not crazy or foolish.
This applies to anything we do in life. Some people think we are foolish for homeschooling because it is difficult or it will be perceived as weird or antisocial. But if I wanted easy for a life I wouldn't have gotten married or had children. I love my family dearly, but dedicating your life to other people is anything but easy. Sometimes, the easy or secure way is nothing but a euphemism for lazy or settling. You have to look at life as an adventure, one filled with great trials, risks, and dreams.
Now I know writing as a profession is considered by many nothing more than a pipe dream. It may be. I don't disagree. But there are two things I'd like to say to that.
(1) I will never know if I never try.
(2) Writing began as a pipe dream for most authors before they were published.
I have one other thing to note. For those of you who aren’t writers, but know someone who is, remember that it is the industry’s job to reject your loved one if that is what is going to happen, not yours. It’s your job to support them - the way we support this girl:
So don't be a dream-squasher!
Scott Keen is the author of three young adult fantasy novels, Scar of the Downers, Rise of the Branded, and War of the Downer King.