I was reading an interview article featuring a New York Times bestselling author who was doling out advice to new and eager writers. Most of her tips and pointers were very helpful (such as: know your trope, memorize your elevator speech, embark on newsletter swaps), but I visibly balked at this particular admonishment: “Remember- you are not a unicorn!”
The author went on to point out that novice authors should not think that they will be the 1% of budding writers who are going to become famous overnight. The odds of an agent/publisher/Hollywood mogul finding a first time manuscript fabulously dazzling are slim to none. And the author’s so-called sage advice was “not to get cocky and waste time thinking you’re going to be a unicorn- BECAUSE YOU’RE NOT”.
Here’s the thing… that author is wrong. She is wrong because she’s tripping the newbies up so that they’re primed to fall on their face in defeat before they even enter the race. By telling aspiring authors that they’re not unicorns, she’s immediately dismissing their hard work and tenacity by lumping them all together into a perceived mundane group of talentless wannabes. Someone is going to be in that 1%. Why not let the dreamers dream it’s them?
This leads me back to another bestselling author who runs a vlog (different from the author above). Most of her advice was great, but during her twelve minute tutorial she said fourteen times, “YOUR FIRST BOOK WILL BE CRAP.” There are many published authors who hold to this belief, even boldly stating that no one’s first book should ever see the light of day. You know what? Screw that! The below list is just a small sampling of debut novels that were quite good:
“Carrie” by Stephen King
“To Kill a Mockingbird” by Lee Harper
“Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” by JK Rowling
“Gone With the Wind” by Margaret Mitchell
“Sense and Sensibility” by Jane Austen
“Wuthering Heights” by Emily Bronte
So here I am to tell you- no matter what your profession is, or what your dream is- YOU ARE A UNICORN. Why? Because unicorn’s DO exist and why shouldn’t you be one of them? Don’t let naysayers ruin your magic. If you believe you’ll be amazingly successful one day, and you work your ass off to get there, then buckle up for the ride of your life because you’re on track to do what you were born to do.
“If you’re loved by someone, you’re never rejected. Decide what to be and go be it.” ~ Avett Brothers