I wanted to write entertaining books, but it was never enough for me to write and get published -- I wanted to be rich and famous. But after twenty years I’ve come to realize fame and fortune probably isn’t going to happen, and I’m beginning to feel okay with that.
Most artists will experience failure of various proportions at various times in their careers. Most will reach a point where they wonder if they should continue, where they wonder about the role their art is truly playing in their lives. Does the damage overshadow the need to create?
For many, the gut reaction to massive failure is to walk away from your art, because, after all, it’s the thing that betrayed you. Wherever you are in your career, unpublished, unsold, unrecognized, recognized by a few, recognized by a handful, you have to be able to live with your own personal level of failure. You have to somehow figure out how to make peace with it.
Walking away isn't the answer (although time away might be a good idea). You have to restructure your thoughts and expectations. You have to think of that thing you love in a totally different way, and it has to take a different place in your life.
I always said I wouldn’t write a book unless I thought it had the potential to be something big. That was the driving force behind everything I did. Twice in my career I wanted to turn away from writing, but here is the question all artists should ask themselves: Where does this need to create fit into my life? How can it enrich without doing great harm?
The majority of my friends and family are artists. They are writers, musicians, photographers, painters, so I know how much art hurts. I think the secret is to make peace with your art, figure out how it fits into your life, and most of all don’t allow yourself to feel betrayed by it.