The other day, my awesome older brother sent me this as an encouragement of sorts: "Your first obligation, as Ernest Hemingway said, is to survive. To survive as a writer you have to have nerve, you have to be almost stubborn. There are many people who’ve told me I have no talent, and that my writing was no good. I simply ignored them. You have to do that if you want to succeed as a writer. The arts have always been rough. Nobody is really owed anything in the arts; nobody’s entitled to be published or to succeed. You do it by doing it. You do it by believing in yourself, and that faith in yourself is the most important thing you have." -- Anne Rice That's both a dose of realism and a shot of encouragement! It puts things into clear perspective: the arts are rough, and there's no such thing as "success guaranteed". The only way to do it: by believing in yourself. That faith is the only thing that's going to keep you going. In the last month, I've heard two of my author friends talk about quitting writing because they were discouraged by the lack of results for the amount of effort invested. It's always sad to hear that, but I'm sure it happens a lot more than we realize/hear about. A number of other author friends have sort of "dropped off the map" in the last couple of years due to work, family, and personal issues. Add to that discouragement over the lack of results or the struggle it is to write, and all of a sudden you can understand why writing/being an author feels like a Sisyphean (endless or futile) labor. All your hard work seems to come to naught in the overwhelmingly large world of being an author. Do you know how many people have told me my writing was no good? Not even one person! Do you know how many times my brain has told me that? Pretty much every day. We truly are our own worst enemy, and that's what stops us more often than not. But if we're going to "survive art", we're going to have to cling to any shred of hope and faith in ourselves. Even if that faith is battered and shattered time and again (with every failed book launch, every negative review, every time our hard work doesn't pay off the way we want it to), we have to clutch at hope and faith like a drowning person. That's the only way to survive art!