“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.' Ernest Hemingway
Although there is some controversy as to whether the above gem can be attributed to Hemingway, I think many writers will intuitively understand what he meant when he said it. Sometimes it is fun to write, some may even say cathartic, but there are also times when it can be a chore, disheartening and exposing. Having said all that, every relationship in life can have those strains, whether it's a relationship with work, a hobby, a pet or... dare I say it... another human being!
As with everything that features in one's life, there are many ups and downs and long periods when it appears little has changed. These periods can be viewed as stable and safe or stagnating and unchallenging, depending on your mindset at the time. I have been a traditionally published writer since my first release on 1st January, 2017. In those five years I have had six historical novels published and have come to realise that a writing career is as changeable as the careers of the people who work around and alongside you.
In those five years I have watched agents change agencies, new imprints emerge, publishers disappear and new ones form.
I have seen novice writers arrive on the scene, just as I once did, with the same dream and motivation to see their manuscript in print on a supermarket shelf. I have also seen authors retire from writing or, sadly, pass away, confirming to me that life really is a stage where we all have a walk-on part for just a short while.
I have seen many writers who have honed their craft and cultivated their networking contacts over many years to, finally, get their big break, but I have also seen writers who have had unexplained success with their debut novel and have not valued how truly lucky they are.
I have seen certain genres and trends rise in demand to the point they saturate the market and become tiresome. Needless to say, the demand will inevitably change... leaving writers (who have spent the last year or so writing for the market) with a newly completed manuscript that is now rejected as it has 'been done before'.
I have seen writers praise their publishers to then discover that they were unhappy behind the scenes and have now moved on to another. I have seen publishers praise their authors yet decide not to renew their next contract. I am not complaining that this happens, after all writing is a business and a successful business needs to move with the times, refresh things and promote their products positively. What I am saying is that there is nothing stable, stagnant or unchallenging in the publishing world, which can make a career in writing a rollercoaster of a journey.
As mentioned before, I have been a traditionally published author for only five years and, in many ways, am still quite new to it all. Can you imagine the changes that my more experinced writing friends have seen over the years? I think it is important for new writers to be 'in touch' with their emotions to write well, but not be ruled by them as I think they will see the ever changing publishing landscape very unsettling.
Many of my readers will know that I have been rather quiet lately on the 'new release' front. As I alluded to earlier, all that you see is not always what is really going on and there can be long periods in a writer's life when it appears that little has changed. I am in one of those phases now, but be assured that in reality I have been busy... sitting at my laptop bleeding profusely.