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A Fish Out Of Water
Saturday, November 19th, 2011 12:34pm
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One of the things that bugs me to no end is authors who run around acting like they're God's gift to writing.  As much as they might believe that, and as famous as they might be, they're just one tiny fish in a great big sea.  Sure, the more successful ones may be luckier, or just happen to be far better at marketing, thus their fame.  But in the end they're just one voice, one pen, writing for the entertainment of others.

In short, writing is an art form that you should feel privileged to be a part of, and not king of the castle.  Any fame that might be won in this industry is fleeting at best.  You might be popular for a time, but as any seasoned writer will tell you, enjoy it while you can because it won't last long.  Think of it as a perishable gift.  The main thrust of your fame lasts, at best, six months.  After that you have to begin building hype by advertising a new book, which in turn will also see only about 6 months of fame.

After that you fall down the standings very quickly and will almost always find your book consigned to the bargain bin for the next nine to eighteen months.  Beyond that, most books simply vanish from existence, never again to be seen outside of garage sales and dusty, library shelves.  To regain your former position you not only have to provide another book, but you also have to up your game.

Anyone who can't falls into the "authors of the past" category.  Or in most cases, just "former authors".  That is a field littered with the bodies of both great and small that lay in tall, rotting stacks of insignificance dotted with the occasional rusting statue of someone who was lucky enough to see their fame last beyond the traditional six months window.  But the chances of anyone achieving that kind of long term greatness is so small that if it were assigned a percentage value, it would be so top heavy with zeros as to be laughable.

The only truly successful authors I have found are those who are more concerned with writing than fame.  These are the ones who love writing so much that they would continue doing so even if they never had another reader ever again in their entire lives.  They are also the ones who are most humble.  Any author you see who has an ego to them, or an attitude, is not a true author.

Anyone can sling words onto a page and potentially impress someone with their so called "literary prowess".  But ultimately it is the humble, and often anxious writer who turns out to be the true definition of an author.  As one quote taken from the art world says, "A thief is boldly confident in their work.  But a true artist is scared to death."  It's no different in the writing world.  The boldest are the weakest of writers, and the most timed are the strongest and most colorful.

Sure, there are a few exceptions, but in general, if you look really deep within a person, you will find that this statement is true.  So if you wish to be truly great within the literary world, pursue humility, and love what you do.  If you do, your fans will thank you, your writing will improve, and the world will become a better place.  If you don't, then you should stop writing, because you're merely adding to the problem rather than being the solution.
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