There Is No Right Path

This is true of pretty much everything in life.  My path is not someone else’s path.  And someone else could try to do exactly what I’ve done in my life and have a completely different outcome.

What I want out of life may not be what someone else want’s out of their life.

It disturbed me the first time I was at the annual company meeting and people sought me out to introduce themselves to me.  For someone else that would’ve been an “I’ve arrived moment.”

Some people enjoy working twenty hours a day.  I never have, no matter what I was doing.

So, now that we’ve laid that groundwork, let’s turn this to writing.

Right now at AW there’s a thread going that can best be described as “All self-publishers are talentless hacks that are so delusional they can’t see how talentless they are.”

Now, that may be true of me, but it is definitely not true of all self-publishers.

Of course, over on a certain writing forum there’s a thread about how the chickens have finally come home to roost and self-publishers have “won” and suck it trade publishers.

About as extreme and delusional a view in my opinion.

Personally, I’m not a fan of extremes. I was a stockbroker at a time when people argued that the dynamics of the market had changed and all the market would do from then on was go up and up and up.

Five years later all the market did was go down, down, down.  So…yeah.

It’s not that things don’t change, sometimes fundamentally.  It’s just that, in my personal experience, the thoughts voiced about these changes tend to perform like a pendulum more than anything else.

Which means that people generally move from one extreme to the other with just brief stops in the middle.  (And that reality is usually somewhere closer to that middle line.)

(Back to my stockbrokering example.  “The markets can only go up.”  “Oh no, the markets are down and they’re going to keep falling until we’re all dead.”  “The markets have recovered and now they’ll just keep going up and up forever!”)

Which is all to say that I look askance at anyone who takes a “we’re right/everyone else is wrong” stand on issues.

Trade publishing has value.  Self-publishing has value.  Each is a viable option for different people or for different projects.  People will find success on both paths.  And they will find failure on both paths.

It doesn’t mean they made a bad decision or a good decision per se.

I really liked a thread over on a certain writing forum. There’s advice in there that applies to anyone, regardless of how they choose to be published:

These are from Elle Casey’s post:

“To make it big in this business (financially or with lots of fans), you have to be a go-getter.  You have to be flexible.  You have to keep searching and trying. You have to believe in yourself and your writing…”

“Nobody gets success handed to them on a silver platter or by accident.  And nobody gets it after have a couple doors shut in their faces.  It’s people who keep pushing through, who keep trying new things, who keep refining their business plan who find what they’re looking for.”

This is from 1001 Nights Press:

“One reason among many that people have different journeys is also that they have different destinations. I think there’s something to be said for trying to articulate what it is you want, before you start evaluating methods of getting there.”

“…since I have enough to cover the mortgage, the emotional decisions are hugely important. That’s what I need to be happy. Someone else might need a vast readership to be happy, with or without money. Someone else might want the emotional validation of a high return. Someone else might need the actual cash. You can’t rank those motivations as greater or lesser, better or worse. But I think it’s harder to figure out if your methods and strategies are working for you if you’re not sure what it is you’re after.”

So, bottom line?  Know what you want from this.  Keep pushing until you get it.  Try new approaches and methods if you’re not getting where you want to go.  And know that your path is not the same as anyone else’s.  Listen to as many people as you possibly can and then find your way to your destination.

About M. H. Lee

M.H. Lee is a speculative fiction writer currently residing in Colorado whose stories are sometimes dark, sometimes funny, sometimes darkly funny, but hopefully always thought-provoking and entertaining.
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