We all hate this question. It comes hard, fast, and without fail from friends, family, co-workers–pretty much anyone who knows you write. Many people misunderstand writing as a career choice and it can be difficult to explain that you don’t have to have an agent and a string of books to your name to be a “real” writer.
I know you feel like throwing a fit right now. After being asked this (and similar) questions one too many times, it’s only natural. You know exactly how much time and effort you put into your writing, but it seems like no one else really notices or cares. But, listen: you’re not alone. Dark thoughts plague even the best writers and it takes courage to keep pushing through them.
When you’re feeling low and unaccomplished, remember that writing is a process. Everyone approaches it differently. Some writers release new books every month and other spend years on their debut manuscript. Wherever you fall on the spectrum, don’t beat yourself up. Work at your own pace. Readers can tell when a manuscript was rushed. You don’t want that.
Getting published is the cherry on top of the writing process. Enjoy each step of the way. Feel the words as they flow out of you. Get in deep while editing and have fun figuring out the perfect titles, illustrations and covers. Whether you’ll be querying or self-publishing, allow yourself to take as much time as you need to research and make choices you’re comfortable with.
If you rush through it all simply to prove something to everyone, you’ll miss out on the joys of being a writer and the finish line will seem pretty underwhelming.