Advice for Writers: Be John Hancock
A writer is forced to have thick skin. It may not be so thick when you start writing, but as you progress into your career as a writer, your skin should get thicker by the day.
It’s not an easy choice to put your all into a career path that’s so unstable. There’s not normally a bright light at the end of a long and dark tunnel that you can see. The money is almost never consistent. There will be plenty of negativity from others around you. People will say it’s not a real job.
Keep in mind that this could apply for all artists, not only writers.
All writers have experienced rejection at some point, it’s in our job description. Rejection is an important part of a writer’s career. It’s where a writer makes their bones. A writer truly knows when their product is good. That is of course, unless you’re too narcissistic to see the truth.
There are few notable writers that didn’t face rejection in their careers, and when I mean rejection, I mean major rejection. J.K. Rowling, Nicholas Sparks, Irving Stone, and H.G. Wells have all faced more than a few rejections. Herman Melville didn’t even live to see his novel’s success.
To get past these bumps in the road, writers have to do two things.
1. Surround yourself with a very supportive group of people (this isn’t always family).
2. Have guts.
When I say, “have guts,” I’m talking about some serious nerves of steel. The kind of guts that the founding fathers of America had. The perfect example is the story of John Hancock.
I’m sure most of you reading this have heard his story. Hancock was the first founding father to sign the Declaration of Independence. He signed his name on the document largely to assure that King George III would be able to read it without his glasses. This is the legend behind the story of John Hancock, who knows if it’s true or not, but there’s a lesson to be learned here.
John Hancock signed that document in large print and very clearly. He wanted to make sure that King George III would know his name. Keep in mind he was signing his death warrant, because he was hunted by the British after that day. If the British got a hold of him, he would have been executed. Clearly, it bothered him little.
As a writer, when you hold your work in your hands, you should cherish it. When you’ve tirelessly edited, thought, and typed page after page, you should be proud of yourself. Put your name in large print on that novel or short story. Be proud of that poem or screenplay.
Sign your “John Hancock” right on the front page. Let the world know you’re here to stay. Introduce the world to the next biggest writer with nerves of steel. Take those rejections and throw them right in the garbage. What does that publisher know? Probably nothing aside from making money. Most of them have that goal in mind. Their job isn’t to decide whether or not you have talent, or your writing is good. Their job is to make sure they make money. You could be the next William Shakespeare and it wouldn’t matter much to them if what you wrote isn’t what’s selling right now.
Hang in there, keep writing, keep querying, keep being you, own your work, and live your dream!