So I was poking around on Lauren Destefano’s tumblr…

And I found this. All credit obviously goes to her, I’m simply copying and pasting this because I think it should be shared.

Here is the link to her original post:

This is what she said.

“I want to be honest with you guys, because I still remember what it was like before I had an agent, before I even knew whether I should GET an agent, and before I even knew what sort of stories I wanted to tell. On any given day, I’m not sure of many things, but I do have the career I once aspired towards, and that many of you are aspiring towards, so I want to give you some little pearls that I wish I’d been able to find myself back then:

I don’t know how much money you’ll make in publishing. There are people twice my age who make less, and there are people ten years younger than me who make significantly more. This is not a reflection of your talent. Your advance is the result of what’s commercial at the time, how your agent sells you and/or how you sell yourself, what publishers are looking for, the cycle of the moon, how many good or bad deeds you committed in a past life, and how many sidewalk cracks you’ve managed to dodge in the fifth grade. So if you have a story to tell, do yourself a big fat favor and tell the story the way it’s meant to be told, and only you know how that is. Don’t look at other authors and say you want to be the next BillyJoe Millionaire because there is NO way for you to control that, no matter what those advice blogs may tell you. You can control one thing, and that’s the story you write.

No matter how much money you make or don’t make, people will believe one of two things: you’re shit broke, or you’re a millionaire. And when you don’t answer, they will fish around trying to play 50 questions with you to find out which is correct. Ideally you want people to go ahead and think you’re shit broke. It’s less likely that they’ll kidnap your cats for ransom while you’re out grocery shopping. Also, if people think you’re a millionaire, they will assume that it is okay to be rude to you. I mean hey, what do you care? You’re checking your twitter messages on your boat as you sail to Cabo San Lucas with your handsome, single investment banker. It’s not like you have feelings or anything like that.

Your doubts will never go away. This should be a no-brainer, but it’s not. Maybe your book will sell for a decent amount. Maybe you’ll get to settle your student loan debts and find an apartment in the part of town where you don’t have to walk to your car with your thumb hovering the panic button on your key chain. Maybe you’ll get some good reviews or an award. Maybe you’ll be a bestseller. You are still going to wake up in the dark moonless hours of some Thursday night in a cold sweat, thinking, “Dear god, what if I suck donkey nipples?” and “What if I never sell another book ever again? What if my publisher comes to its senses? What if my agent spends Saturday nights sipping champagne with better authors and they devote cocktail hour to reading passages from my recent manuscript, laughing their asses off?” This WILL be a thing that your brain does, no matter how successful you may already be. This is the human condition and it never goes away.

You are never in charge. Not of your paycheck, not of your reviews, and not of your brain. You could be working on your tenth manuscript after writing nine international bestsellers. You could gain 1000 twitter followers a day and receive daily love letters from total strangers who swear your prose saved their life. And that tenth manuscript could be a bestseller in the making, but you will still think it sucks. You will still be afraid that when you hand it in to your agent, it will be the next party joke, even if this fear is rooted in reality, because reality has nothing to do with it.

I don’t mean to frighten you. I have worked a lot of jobs. I was a cashier, a barista, a trash picker-upper, a tax collector, a receptionist, a student, a toilet scrubber, a temp, and ultimately a writer. Through all of those jobs, above all I have always been me. I have always found moments of happiness, and moments of utter dejection, even depression. I had less anxiety when I was scrubbing toilets, because at least when I did that, I was only putting some elbow grease into it, not a piece of my heart (nobody should care THAT much about how clean the toilet is). I have more joy and more love and more anxiety and more depression in publishing than I have ever had doing anything else. There are days where I just stay in bed because I’m so paralyzed by the fear that what I write won’t be good enough, I’d sooner write nothing at all. And all of this while thousands of people assume I’m a millionaire. Not that I’m complaining about that rumor.

Whatever you want to do in life—and this doesn’t all pertain exclusively to writing—you have to accept yourself. You have to understand and acknowledge your doubts, and embrace your strengths, and work on your weaknesses. Because the truth is that I could describe having my dream job all day, but until you’re here, you will idealize it, and idealize yourself. But what you have to do is love yourself and accept yourself, because your jobs may change over the years, and you may get just the one you’re dreaming of now, but you will ALWAYS be you.”


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