I think I’m going to take “Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.” as my life motto, especially when it comes to publishing.
That’s not as dire as it sounds, though. The problem with hope is that it’s a light shining in the depths, and we (writers) focus on it to the exclusion of all else, following that distant promise, that hope that next time it’ll be me.
You know what shines a light in the darkness?
Yeah, and hope (or the constant failure of hope, rather) can lead to some pretty ugly emotions – a greedy mess of despair – why her story and not mine? How did that get published and I can’t get an agent, why is that terrible book being made into a movie, how did this book get good reviews when it’s so dumb and obvious?…etc etc.
But take away the hope – the frantic chasing of that flickering little light that promises one day, soon, by the end of this year you’ll get that agent, that deal, that amazing advance, that short story in Famous Name anthology, that award – and something happens.
Instead of focusing on that one light dancing out of reach, you get to drift in an ocean of darkness, and you can pay attention to the smaller lights, the silver shadows that slip towards you, that nudge and say hi, I am opportunity, come play with me, expect nothing, enjoy everything.
So I am done with hope, and I am embracing the drift of potential, and possibilities.