I want an agent.
I want a big publisher, a Netflix deal (or maybe HBO Max). And eventually, a little world domination would be nice too.
I want people to read what I write and tell their friends, and for them to tell their friends too, until hundreds of thousands of readers know my name and my work.
I want the world to know my name.
And I have to come to terms with the fact that it’s quite possible that none of those things will ever happen.
It’s a clarifying moment.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not giving up – far from it. I’m still planning to query agents, to seek out big publisher submission open windows, and to send prayers to the streaming gods.
But this realization made me focus on what’s really important in my writing.
I’m happier when I’m writing. Okay, not always at the moment, because writing is hard. But in general, when I’m putting down words on paper every day, my life feels better, more meaningful. I feel more me.
The work is its own reward, whether or not it gets discovered by an agent, a publisher, or a streaming giant.
So I have to remind myself why I write, and what really matters.
I started reading early. By third grade, I was reading at a twelfth-grade level, and when I discovered my mom’s sci-fi and fantasy bookshelf, I grabbed a copy of The Fellowship of the Rings and never looked back.
As I fell down endless speculative fiction rabbit holes, suddenly I knew what I wanted to do with my life. I wanted to tell stories like the ones I held in my hands. To enchant and beguile readers with spun gold, starships, and visions of a life beyond this mundane ball of rock and mud.
I started on that journey, writing some short stories and a (regrettably bad) novel, and then life got in the way. I will forever beat myself up for not continuing when I was in my twenties. Instead, I went on writing hiatus, and only resumed crafting stories in my mid forties.
Now I have a large body of work that I’m proud of, even if it may never make me rich. And I’m leaving behind a legacy, of sorts, something for the world to remember me by. My “writer shelf” attests to that.
So I take a deep breath and clear my head, and try to put it all in perspective.
What matters most is the writing. Whether or not I ever sell another story, I need to put down what’s in my heart, write it well, and hope it finds a loyal audience – no matter how large or small. Having someone love your work is its own reward.
And in the meantime?
I’ll cross my fingers and keep hoping for my lucky break.
To my writer friends, what matters most to you about your writing?