I stopped following a blog this week.
One that I've followed for years.
And I stopped following it for one reason, and only one reason. The bloggers have become just too depressingly negative.
This is a blog with a mixture of published and unpublished authors, agented and unagented writers. Every single one of them is extremely talented. Every single one of them has interesting things to say. And now, every single one of them seems to be depressingly negative.
I understand that we all have bad days, that we all have moments of extreme doubt. I even understand that it can be cathartic to cut into a vein and bleed all over your blog every once in a while. But when the bleeding goes on and one, through both posts and comments--well, then you start creating an atmosphere that just sucks the vitality and energy right out of you.
Anyone who haunts the various agent blogs knows the statistics. Anyone who participates in pitch contests, or queryfests, or any of the various agent and editor submission contests can see quite graphically the sheer volume of submissions to the miniscule number of requests. So what? Does that mean you won't ever achieve any success during the course of your writing career? Of course not. All it takes it one book, and one agent and one editor to hit the jackpot.
So what if an agent had 397 submissions during a given week and only requested four books?
Four books were requested, four authors have a chance to move forward. That's four chances out of 400. It's better than the lottery. It's better than any raffle I've entered. And at least with this gamble you can up your odds by writing a damn good book, and researching the agent enough to know you're giving them what they want.
When you sit there and dwell on the statistical improbability of even getting your work requested--or, if you're a published author you sit there and fret about your lack of sales/lack of royalty check, and question why you are even writing, how is that helping you?
Negative energy breeds. It feeds off itself. It can swallow you whole if you let it. It can suck every bit of joy out of your words and leave ashes in your heart. It can suck the soul right out of your stories and derail any chance at success. You can create your own negative tide, a negativity that will stop opportunity from pounding on your door.
Likewise, a positive outlook can create opportunities.
In the last two months I personally know one person who has sold Michelle Diener and one person who was picked up by an agent. Joan Swan
They were swimming against the same statistical tide as the rest of us, but they didn't let negativity swamp them. They kept swimming. They didn't give up. They didn't let the industry beat them down. They didn't sit down and whine about their circumstances. And they succeeded because of it.
It's time for the rest of us to either get out of the water or stop the whining.