I’ve been making adjustments to my writing career plan and thinking about how weird it is that my almost neurotic brain latched on to something like writing full time. It’s the kind of job that fills you with self-doubt because unlike a regular 9-5, you don’t have a manager standing over you every day letting you know when you fuck up. There’s also no guarantee of sales or even if you sign a contract, that your book makes it past the finish line(admittedly rare snafus/publisher meltdowns but still). This plus branding and writing style on my brain got me thinking that building a writing career is like playing a reverse game of Jenga.
Instead of that nice solid block tower, you start out with the leaning tower of Pisa. This represents your odds of making it to your final goal. It looks pointless to start playing, it’s unstable, and you’re going to get a big fat ‘I told you so’ from loved ones when you fail. An idiot like me looks at that thing and says ‘I can do it.’
Next up, juggling chainsaws!
If you get a few blocks in the right spaces, you end up with a stable base. This is the section of the tower you get right by researching the publishing world and finishing your first story.
Real talk, totally where I’m at.
Then you build a better structure by having your name out there and people looking for your work.
Next is the ‘Scalzi’ Tower. You’re pretty comfortable that your career isn’t going to fall, and you have a good idea where the rest of the blocks go.
The ‘I wish and secretly hope for’ goal.
Then there’s this mofo. This is the Martin/Rowling/King/Roberts Super Tower. They did the impossible and beat the whole fucking game. Sure they’re still writing, but they’re pretty much bedazzling their victory towers now. The cool thing is that watching success stories helps other writers figure out where to put their blocks. And that’s what I’m doing. I’m looking at all the towers around me, and I’m learning.
The ‘super drunk writer’ goal.