This has been a year of "playing it safe" for me, and at my age? I'm way too old to play it safe. I'm here to tell all you youngins to follow your passion. Or quite simply, you will lose your zeal.
All the years that I wrote books while I parented, people told me that I couldn't do it. "Do you know how hard it is to get published?" No, I didn't. And you know what? I didn't need to. I'd find out soon enough. I'd paper my office wall with rejections. Actually, I could paper my wall with some of the acceptances too, because one lovely person took the time to red letter my manuscript and tell me everything that was wrong with it from a publishing standpoint! (That was a God thing, don't you think?)
I still have that mangled manuscript. It means the world to me. Because someone took the time to say, you have potential, but...here are a few things you need to work on. Pretty much still the way it works when I get a manuscript back from an editor.
But these last two years have been tough. I won't go into my long, convoluted tale of woe. (How I wish it were interesting -- but alas, it is not.) So I took a day job doing accounting and customer service. The problem is, I do nothing halfway and I'm pretty good at it. The money flows in easily. It's not like writing, where you have to constantly prove yourself for the next paycheck as in traditional publishing.
Step one: Proposal to your agent. Fixes, suggestions, etc.
Step two: Agent proposes to publisher. Fixes, suggestions, etc.
Step three: First part of advance. Write the book.
Step four: Fixes, suggestions, changes.
Step five: More fixes, suggestions, changes.
Step six: Stalling, publishing date issues -- maybe you get part two of your advance...
This goes on and on and it's a complete pain in the a@@ compared to, go to work, get paid. I mean, it's completely novel experience to receive money so easily after working in publishing. And while it may be easier to get your money in self-publishing, it is still not the same as show up, get paid.
But here's the thing, if going to the daily grind is not your passion? You may not be meant to live on the simple side of the street. Perhaps you're meant to pour your heart and soul on the page, then let some random dude come along after all those corrections and tell you that you suck. Publicly. It doesn't matter if you're in traditional publishing or self-publishing. There is an easier way to make a living. Trust me, I found it. Pretty much any job out there.
However, if you're an author? You don't really have a choice. And I say that to any of you who are following your artistic passion when no one else believes in you. If you know you're meant to write, or sing, or dance but you're not Stephen King, Whitney Houston or Fred Astaire, it doesn't mean there isn't space for you. Only you can follow your passion and there will be fulfillment in it. Someone I know just starred in her local production on stage. Is she suddenly Neil Patrick Harris? Nope, but she found her bliss and that is enough.
Or you could take it easy like I have for the last two years...which have been the hardest of my working existence!
Follow your passion. Maybe your life isn't about taking the "easy" route. The world has enough Silicon Valley moguls. Be an artist! It may not be simple, but it's better than swimming against the stream.