I'm a writer. So are you. We know this whether we're published or not. Selling a book...I haven't done it yet, but it's what dreams are made of, isn't it? And not just one book. Selling that first book is only the beginning. Of course, we all know the real beginning is wa-a-ay before that, where so many of us are now: in the pre-beginning.
Pre-beginners crave validation. At least I do, and I'm guessing I'm not unique in that way. Validation can come in big and little ways, like praise from our critique groups, getting page requests from agents, finding representation, or seeing growth in our work. Whichever way it comes, it's so wonderful. It can be that special something to which writers cling in order to keep warm, hopeful, and inspired when things look downright bleak.
In 2005, I thought success was right around the corner. A poem I'd written had been accepted for a literary magazine. No money was involved, but I didn't care. It was a magazine I admired. Another poem I'd submitted earlier to the same magazine had been rejected, so my victory tasted extra sweet. It wasn't a book deal, but I felt validated.
When the magazine came out, I had a color copy of the poem made. The poem was about my dad, so I bought my parents a copy of the magazine and mailed it to them. I framed the poem and hung it near my desk to remind myself that someone somewhere liked my writing enough to publish it.
That same year, a second poem was accepted for another magazine--a very small one, but a magazine that clearly had impeccable taste. (Hee!) And guess what? This magazine paid me money. Okay, it was only $5, but that didn't matter. I had officially been paid for my writing! Thus, I was a working writer. The color copy of the check and the frame cost more than $5, but who cares? Success was around the corner.
2006 was a bit slow, I suppose, but I kept writing. 2007, on the other hand, was great! Nothing else was published, but I received lots of validation in various forms. 2008...not huge, but I definitely was growing as a writer. More mini-successes and tiny triumphs. As for 2009, I'm still living it and still loving it.
Yes, I've had rejections. Yes, I've had self-doubt. Yes, I've used some swear words (the one that starts with "sh" is my fave, but I try to use it sparingly to make it count more), and I've even shed a few tears (I promise not too many on the tear front--I'm really proud of the thick skin I've developed).
That said...yes, I believe in myself and my work. Yes, I continue to write, read, and learn from other writers. And yes, success is around the corner. Maybe not the next corner, but my career-starting, pie in the sky first book deal will happen. I just know it.
Don't give up! Try and enjoy the ride, and cling to the positive forces in your writing universe. I will too.