Silver Wordsmith: An author's journey
Last Saturday marked the first full week that The Second Magus has been published on Royal Road. Not surprisingly, it hasn’t taken the website by storm, though it has done noticeably better than The Bloodlet Sun did. That story reached its first 1,000 views in 65, while The Second Magus did it in 8. Still, what I have to show for those 1K views is 17 followers, 1 favourite, and two ratings that amount to a solidly mediocre 4 stars out of 5.
It’s hard to really talk objectively about how the story is doing right now. On the one hand, I should be more than happy about 17 followers. That’s seventeen more than I had two weeks ago; those are actual readers that were interested in my story enough to hit that follow button.
And yet it’s shy of the dreams I’ve crafted in my head. I always said when posting updates in the run-up to uploading The Second Magus that I enjoyed living in the fantasies. The daydreams couldn’t die before I had actually posted my work. And I recognized them for what they were – daydreams. Because even though it’s not impossible to have the success I hope for, I know it’s still a rare thing that few writers attain.
But, just like the lottery ticket whose numbers are not yet called, it was nice to dream.
And, just like with that lottery ticket, even though you knew in your head you weren’t going to win, there is still the disappointment of not walking away a millionaire and then having to shake off your day dreams.
This is the stage I’m at now. My numbers were read, and I didn’t win, and even though I didn’t really think there was a big chance of me winning, the sting is still there.
Except this isn’t about a stupid lottery. Being a writer is who I am, so this sting goes much deeper, and its barbed tip is much more difficult to pull out.
It’s just what you do when you’re a writer and hope to get published – you put yourself out there knowing full well you can get smacked down, knowing full well that even those who find success will need to get smacked down a hundred times first. And yet, we go out there and get knocked down and get up and dust ourselves off.
This time, the getting up part has been more challenging. I feel like I’m sitting in the middle of that dusty road, wondering if it’s worth it to get up again, taking deep breaths to hype yourself up because the road is still beautiful despite the setbacks.
It’s not hard to see even on this blog evidence of the wind being taken out of my sails. This entry is about a week later than it should be. I also only just picked up editing again after not touching it for a week, and for the same amount of time the only writing I’ve done was to just maintain my streak. Every novel project, including The Second Magus, has been on unofficial hiatus.
I don’t mean to be a sad-sack about this whole thing. It’s not a tragedy by any means. But sometimes this stuff does get hard and does get to you. And then in the end, it feels like you’re just talking in a circle – on the one hand you know this is what a writer has to go through, and on the other hand you do want to embrace that it’s okay to still feel bad when it happens to you.
Anyway, it was not the way I had wanted to start the year and maybe it’ll take a little while longer to gain back some of that confidence. I think finally finishing and posting this entry is a good first step in that process.
Eventually, it might just become one of those things I remember with a laugh as I fondly look back on the rocky road that led me towards whatever future success I might find.
Michael is a husband, father of two, lawyer, writer, and is currently working on his first novel, at a snail's pace. A very leisurely snail. All opinions are author's own.