Do you know what sells so, so well? Bullshit. (Seems like bullshit is a theme here.)
Bullshit like: "10 days to your bestselling book!" or "Drafting your book the easy way!" or "Twelve secrets that will get you writing like a pro!" Bullshit like lists. (God, I fucking hate blog post lists. It feels so good to say that.)
Look, I know that there's this whole cram-it-in, fake-it-till-you-make-it circus out there. I know there's all this "fail fast!", masculine, strive-y, advice. I know it sells, and I know someone out there is reading it. (Forbes!) And I'm not going to tell you to stop. But...
When you expect success, and expect it fast, you're setting yourself up for failure.
And I'm not going to suggest that you try to avoid failure. Have you seen how many authors (good authors, esteemed authors) have crappy first books, or books that live in drawers, or books that get pulled out posthumously and published, or Go Set a Watchman, anybody? Failure and sucky-ness is part of the creative process, and you avoid it at your peril.
But there is a humongous gulf between the necessary failure and the culling process that creates good creative work and the setup snake oil around writing good (read: lucrative) books quickly.
Good work takes time.
It just does. Good work takes time. It's okay. It's okay that it takes time. It takes time to create it, time to think about it, time to revise it, time to spread the word, and time for the reader to enjoy it. And expecting to shortcut the time that it takes to make something good not only (usually, there are exceptions to everything) results in something iffy, but it also hurts us.
It hurts us because we expect so much of ourselves. It hurts because we berate ourselves when we need to think, or need to rest, or need to sleep on it. It hurts because other people expect us to be fast and glorious. It hurts. And the worst part is that a lot of this pain is self-inflicted.
And I know that this is a big knot to unravel. It's the first time that this message has appeared in Forest North, but it won't be the last. I really, really want you to feel good about your work. I want you to enjoy writing, and I so desperately want to help you protect yourself from all the crazy bullshit flying around out there about what writing "should" be.
So. If you take one thing from this post, take this: you're not going to find any bullshit here.