Is All the Hard Work Really Worth It?

One of the most common questions most of us have is, “Is all the work that goes into writing and publishing really worth it?”

Admit it. Even if you haven’t actually verbalized the question, you have asked it inwardly at least once.

I’ve gotten plenty of emails from other writers who’ve asked “is it worth it” in one form or another:

After rejection after rejection, can I really keep going?”

Is the endless waiting (on agents, editors, contracts, etc.) really worth the emotional turmoil?

Why should I work so hard only to put myself through the torture of painful feedback, criticism, and poor reviews?”

Will the writing, editing, rewriting, re-editing really help me improve? Or am I just wasting my time?

Is all the time away from family, friends, hobbies, etc. really worth it in the long run?

Is all the hard work of writing and marketing ever going to pay off?”

The above questions have crossed my mind at one time or another. It’s all too easy, especially nowadays, in the rapidly changing publishing industry to second-guess ourselves, to have a lot of doubts about what we’re doing, and to wonder if the work is really worth it.

In some ways, I guess the answer depends on what your ultimate goal is. We’re all writing for different reasons.

But no matter our personal goals, ministries, or aspirations, I think ultimately every author wants to gain some money and recognition from their writing and publishing endeavors.

Will you become the next Suzanne Collins making millions of dollars a year? Highly unlikely.

And will you gain the worldwide fame that JK Rowling now possesses? Probably not.

That kind of fortune and fame will not come to many of us. Only an elite echelon will reach epic proportions.

But chances are very good that you will achieve some measure of success as a writer . . . if you want publishing success badly enough and are willing to work hard enough for your dreams.

Just because we won’t become a household name like Collins or Rowlings doesn’t mean we can’t continue to dream big. I’m reminded of what author Debbie Macomber once said about dreaming big at a conference I attended. Her message was that if we ever want to “make it” we have to practice the power of positive thinking.

She asked us to write down five goals. The goals could be anything, even the desire to become a best-selling author or have a movie made from one of our books. She also encouraged us to write the goals on paper. When we write down our goals, our subconscious works toward them. Our heads will follow the dreams in our hearts.

However, when we fill our minds with “is this really worth it?” we’re essentially talking negatively to ourselves. While we’re wise to evaluate our situations from time to time, we can’t let those negative thoughts cloud our view—at least for long. We can’t walk around threatening to quit every time something discourages us.

Instead, we need to pull out our list of dreams, review them, and tell ourselves that if we keep working hard to reach the dreams, we’ll get there eventually.

Whenever I’m tempted to question if all the waiting and rejections and sacrifices and heartaches are really worth it, I try to remind myself of the good things about my writing journey: the love of telling stories, the friendships with other writers, the growth that’s come through trials, the miracle of completing a book, the joy that comes from a job well-done, and the pleasure of sharing my word with others.

Yes, I hope for more. I still cling to those dreams I wrote down at that conference. And I know if I want to see them come true someday, I’ll need to keep working hard. Keep the talk positive. And hold onto hope.

Whether unpublished or not, to be successful in the writing industry, we have to keep a long-term vision. Nothing happens overnight. Nothing.

I always love the saying that the writing journey is a marathon not a sprint.

So don’t give up when it seems like it’s taking too long. Those who find success are the ones who say, “Yes, it is worth it” and they keep running.

How about you? Have you ever asked yourself if all the work that goes into writing and publishing is really worth it? What negative talk is most common in your mind these days?

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