Author’s Corner: Quit Worrying About Making It Big

Everyone makes mistakes … even seasoned writers … but that’s okay, because each mistake is a great learning opportunity.

Herron sits at a table with his books displayed

I must be getting smart by now, because I’ve made plenty of my own errors over the years. I’ve had a bundle of mishaps, including the error of using too much exposition, or too little. Neglecting research, or researching too much.

The one I’ve been thinking about this week is the mistake writers make by worrying about what happens when they make it big.

Have you ever done this? Looked at one of those billboards about the jackpot for a lottery like Mega Millions or Powerball and thought to yourself, “Wow! I wonder what I’d do with millions of dollars?”

You start to think about bills you might pay, things you might buy, and perhaps even people and causes you might support. It’s a lot of fun, but then, if you’re anything like me, things start to get serious. It’s not long before you start worrying about all the taxes you might have to pay, or the possibility of hooking up with an unscrupulous attorney or CPA who steals your money.

Carry that a step further and you might worry about becoming the target of real-life bad guys who kidnap family members and hold them for ransom.

Before you know it, you’re replaying John Steinbeck’s “The Pearl” in your head and thinking, “Nope. Don’t want that money. Don’t even want to buy a ticket and have to worry about how it would ruin my life. No way.”

Sound crazy? Unbelievably, I’ve witnessed many writers experience this phenomenon – not with lottery tickets, but with potential success as writers. They carry a world of worry on their backs about what life will be like after they hit it big, when they have yet to publish anything.

Some think about the possibility of having their writing stolen and sold on street corners, or plagiarized. They’ll ask about what happens if they give up all their TV, movie, and action figure rights.

Like with the lottery ticket, they worry about serious financial and human safety issues. This is not a pre-judgement. I totally get it. Nevertheless, it’s not productive, and can keep you from the most important part.

Writing Your Story

This is sometimes easier said than done, but you should take your writing career one-step at a time. Don’t stress out about the prospect of rejections before you’re ready to submit something.

Similarly, don’t worry about whether you should invest in stocks or yachts with your royalty statements before you’ve even signed a book contract (and even then, slow down). In other words, don’t put the cart before the horse.

Whether you’re a fiction or non-fiction writer, worrying about making it big before you’ve even made it to the publishing step is not a healthy thing to stress about. I’m not saying, “Don’t dream about making it big.” I’m saying, “Don’t worry about what happens after your dreams come true.”

At least not while you’re still trying to make them happen. 

Write your masterpiece, get it published, hit the best-seller list and then you can worry about whether you need two yachts or three.

Until then, enjoy the ride.

About R.L. Herron

R.L. Herron, the author of multiple works of fiction, including several Readers' Favorite medal winners, lives and writes in Michigan with his lovely wife, a finally-paid mortgage, and one extremely large cat. His books are all available on Amazon and online with Barnes & Noble. Visit Author R.L. Herron's Website, Broken Glass.

Comments

  1. C.H. Haynes says

    I enjoy reading your articles for Author’s Corner. The latest one is titled quit worrying about making it big as an author. I think the same worry factor can be applied to anyone who might be changing careers or just starting out. What happens to me when I become successful? Will I be able to deal with the family members, fellow employees or friends that I grew up with? Success can be stressful just like failure. If you handle it well, it can make a big difference in your life and for those around you. Learning from wins as well as from losses should make you appreciate the process. R.L. Herron appears to have learned this important life lesson. Keep writing and I will keep reading.

  2. I’ve had a few people tell me they’ve submitted comments that don’t ever show up. Is anyone else having this problem?

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