The Race is Long, and Only With Yourself.
This is the mantra I live by. I’m not competing with you, or anyone else. I’m competing with myself, to be the best I can be.
This mantra was valuable in my career as an engineering director and chief engineer. But it’s even more valuable in my career as a professional writer.
If you’re in business, profit is a traditional measure of success. But it’s also something a professional writer has limited control over. The marketplace is a fickle beast, and over 80% of published works lose money. Publishers compensate by making enough profit on big names to pay for the rest, but that model is not one the writer has much control over.
And this can lead to good writers feeling dissatisfied in some way.
But the truth is, being a writer is all about improving your craft. Sitting in that chair and fighting the demons and creating a story from nothing. And getting a little better at it every day.
When I look at my writing from 30 years ago (my first completed novel) to today, the difference in my skill is enormous (and yet, with a lot of potential improvement to come). Every time I wrote a novel (I’ve finished six, including this week’s publication, The Lamia) I can see the difference. I can see myself getting better with each novel, stage play, and short story.
I am winning the long race with myself. And that’s all I can ask for. Sales, profits, and positive reviews and nice, but they don’t define my journey.
The race is long, only with me, and I’m winning.