Most of us go into writing for publication knowing that it’s not going to happen overnight. We’re going to have to put in the miles to get there, and even then, there’s no guarantee how long it will take.
But we’re determined to do it, so we pack our bag, check our compass, and set off with a destination in mind. Publication Peak.
When deciding what to take with you on the trip, there are a few things you put in your pack to help ensure a successful hiking experience.
Only a tiny fraction of writers achieve big success. Another small portion manage comfortable success. The majority work constantly to just stay on the trail. And still more aspiring writers never make it past the trail head. Those who succeed are those who have realistic expectations and know that it’s going to take time and effort. They don’t decide to make the hike expecting there to be a Stargate at the head of the trail to transport them to where they’re headed. They’re going to have to walk it like everyone else.
Making that long and sometimes treacherous hike to publication is not for lightweights. There will be times you want to give up, but endurance is a must. Then, once you’ve reached that peak, you find the only choice is to go back down or hike to the next peak. You have to be prepared to keep going.
Hiking without a buddy can be lonely…and, frankly, not very safe. If you get in trouble or have an accident, a hiking buddy (or several) can help take the burden off, can carry your pack when the going gets tough (you’ll reciprocate of course), and they’ll encourage you to keep keep moving when all you want to do is quit. The same goes for the hike to publish-dom. The support of friends, family, and other writers isn’t necessary, but it sure makes it less lonely, safer, and a lot more fun.
The thing with self-confidence is that you don’t have to start out your hiking trip with it. If you do, you’re a step ahead of so many other writers on the trail. Self-confidence, thankfully, can be picked up along the way. Each fallen log you climb over, each milestone you pass, each hill that you successfully navigate, you add a few more pebbles of self-confidence to your pouch.
It doesn’t hurt to be able to laugh a little. You’re going to trip over tree roots and skin your knees. You’re going to have aches in muscles you didn’t even know you had. You’re going to get lost. Being able to smile — and then power through it — is just going to make the trip that much more pleasant. You’ll look back with fond memories of the fun you had and look forward to your next journey.
By taking each of these items along with you (or collecting them along the way) you make it that much easier to accomplish your goal. When you reach your destination, the pride you’ll feel will have made the entire labor worth it.
What else would you suggest including in your pack?