Writers expect good news … any day now. Is it the curse of eternal optimism? There is this hope within each writer that it will be their manuscript that is chosen for publication. And the money will rain on them like a spring shower.
Despite the odds.
Despite the competition.
Despite the cynical, horrible, no-good, very-bad agents who review them.
Are these expectations realistic? Of course they are. It is the essence of hope. For without hope there is no reason to continue the pursuit of the craft. You have to believe that you have what it takes.
Are these expectations practical? Of course not. Who said the writing profession was practical? I had one client calculate her per-hour earnings and discovered her wage was less than half of the current minimum wage. It is like nearly every aspect of the arts (music, dance, design, painting, theater and writing); monetary compensation can be elusive.
I prefer the word anticipation instead of expectation. The difference is that if we anticipate good news, we are happy to receive it. But if we expect good news and don’t get it, then the disappointment can be terrible. It is a subtle difference; but one of the keys to surviving the soul-crushing writing profession is to manage your expectations and instead focus on the joy of anticipation.
My encouragement to you is to keep working hard. This industry can be tough, but if you learn to wait (click here) and prepare properly (click here), you will have earned the right to allow for the anticipation of good news coming your way.
[An earlier version of this post ran in December 2011.]