The best advice that many writers fail to take

This week I saw a series of Tweets from author Delilah S. Dawson in which she tried to demystify the reality behind what leads to “huge traditional publishing success.” The entire chain of approximately 30 Tweets is amazing, but here are a couple to frame our discussion today:

Delilah talks about how our expectations of success can riddle our lives with a feeling of being let down. Instead, you must keep writing and keep sharing.

The Tweets above reminded me of my interviews with novelist Tammy Greenwood:
Tammy Greenwood

I often talk to writers in my Creative Shift Mastermind that the sweet spot of your creative work should be somewhere between excitement and fear — to take a creative risk that you care deeply about. I think that is why I often go back to my interviews with Tammy, and why “terrifying” is somehow in both titles — Tammy’s career is amazing to me.

This week she released her newest novel, Rust & Stardust. On Amazon she already has 46 reviews with an average rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars, and on Goodreads there are 409 reviews, averaging 4.25 out of 5 stars. Why use numbers to describe a book? Because it is always wonderful when readers have their voices heard by leaving reviews. Because when art effects someone’s life is when it is complete.

Last night on Facebook, Tammy reflected on her experience this week:

Her week was spent with readers and working on her next novel. Her life is filled with creating and sharing, and all the magic that each brings.

What will bring success and fulfillment to your career as a writer? Filling it with real human experiences. Where you follow your own curiosity to create something special with your writing. To share that work in a way that gives it a chance at connecting deeply with someone. And to (hopefully) feel a sense of fulfillment in experiencing these processes.

I’ll leave you with the best advice that Neil Gaiman says he has ever been given:

“I thought what is the best piece of advice I was ever given. And I realized that it was actually a piece of advice that I had failed – and it came from Stephen King, it was 20 years ago, at the height of the success of – the initial success of Sandman, the comic I was writing. I was writing a comic people loved and they were taking it seriously. And Stephen King liked Sandman and my novel with Terry Pratchett, Good Omens, and he saw the madness that was going on, the long signing lines, all of that stuff, and his advice to me was this: “This is really great. You should enjoy it.” And I didn’t.”

“Best advice I ever got but I ignored. Instead I worried about it. I worried about the next deadline, the next idea, the next story. There wasn’t a moment for the next 14 or 15 years that I wasn’t writing something in my head, or wondering about it. And I didn’t stop and look around and go, this is really fun. I wish I’d enjoyed it more. It’s been an amazing ride. But there were parts of the ride I missed, because I was too worried about things going wrong, about what came next, to enjoy the bit that I was on.”

“That was the hardest lesson for me, I think: to let go and enjoy the ride, because the ride takes you to some remarkable and unexpected places.”

Thank you to Delilah, to Tammy, to all of the readers out there supporting their work, and to you for supporting mine.

-Dan

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