An explanation for this series of posts:
Writers can be a skittish, self-deprecating, woefully self-conscious, if not all-out-depressing group of people. In discussions with other writers, I’ve often spoken to people more about concerns about publishing and success than the business of actual writing.
Above all, we are always comparing ourselves to others and worrying: do I measure up?
With this in mind, these posts highlight some key facts about the careers of those ‘who’ve made it.’ My intention with this is inherently contradictory. I want to both calm fears and exacerbate them. I want you to realize how inherently silly a lot of your fears are, and allow you to superstitiously worry that what I’ll write below actually means something. Why? Because that’s the game. We love to compare ourselves for peace of mind and we love to compare ourselves to drive ourselves crazy.
This week’s writer: George R. R. Martin, fantasy’s current golden boy.
He was first nominated for a Hugo award when he was 25.
He published his first novel when he was 29.
Throughout his thirties, he spent a great deal of time working on television scripts.
In 1991 he began writing A Song of Ice and Fire. He was 43 years old. Six years later, nearly fifty, he published A Game of Thrones.
Unlike Tolkien and Rowling, who made it big with their first major publications, it took Martin many years of reasonable success in publishing and entertainment before the book he’ll be remembered for came to him.
In one way, Martin is intimidating as someone who was recognized as being talented early on and continually throughout his adult life. But in another way, Martin is comforting from the perspective of not having found his ‘big idea’ until a number of years into his career.
Take from this what you need to keep you motivated in your writing: either strive to match Martin, or take a deep breath and realize you may not have even hit your stride yet. If you’re like most writers, you’ll take a little from column A and a little from column B and let them both drive you crazy, and that’s okay too. As long as it keeps you fired up about writing.
How does that make you feel? Better, worse? What are your current anxieties? Discuss below.