Writ(h)ing for Attention

Writhing for Attention

One day, we decide to be a writer. It might be when we’re young or when we’re old; but the decision has been made. And while our reasons for writing vary, it’s pretty safe to say that most of us want our work to be received and appreciated. Serious writers want their writing to be read and published.

So what happens when it isn’t? What happens when we fail to find the success and reception that we’re looking for?

This is what separates the Sunday writers from those who want writing to be a part of their professional life. Making it in the writing world is tough – near to impossible. Most writers end up doing something completely unrelated to their passion to pay the bills. If you’re lucky, you’ll do an off-shoot of something to do with writing like copywriting or content writing for a corpo company. But it can be frustrating when you want to make it and your writing simply isn’t being read or published.

It can be a risky leap to voyage into writing with the hopes that you’ll actually get somewhere within it. Often, your timing and connections can have more to do with your success than your talent and hard work.  It’s true that the more output you create, the more productive you are, the higher the chance that someone in the vast ‘out there’ of the world might find something they’re interested in. As for success that accumulates into what we’d call a career, it’s not always a fruitful field.

Writers who want to make it as writers should write often and persistently continue despite any rejections they might receive from publishers. Rejection will always hurt, even if you become more and more immune to it. You’ll ask yourself, “What’s the point of continuing when no one cares about my work?” In the past couple of months, I’ve been in this space and it’s so discouraging, mopey and counter-productive. You feel failure and loss as a writer and that nothing you produce is worthy of other people’s time. The fact of the matter is this: you shouldn’t see every first draft as a potential published piece, but as a declaration of your energy and motivation.

It helps to remember that most writers are not published at all. Their writing exists between the pages of notebooks tucked on bookshelves or underneath their beds in a private world that never sees the light of day.

It doesn’t make them any less of a writer, it just means their work has not yet been published.

Somehow, serious writers have got to find that ‘thing’ that no one can take away from them in regards to their work and their writing. You need to be resilient so that your self-esteem doesn’t chip away from rejection and criticism. I’m a serious writer who wants writing to be my career. But lately, I feel like this isn’t in the cards for me and as much as that makes me sad, I know that I can always continue writing for myself.

You’ll always have yourself and you’ll always have yourself as an audience. It’s more powerful than you think it is.

About Yalei Wang

Writer based in Tokyo.

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