Count Your Blessings

I’m basically an optimist. I think that helps in the writing profession. Writers get so much criticism, most of us would probably quit if we weren’t optimists.

We start with the notion that the stories running around in our heads are ones others would enjoy reading (or hearing). Optimism takes shape with the belief that we will be able to mold these ideas into essays, articles, short stories, or novels, and that someone will buy/publish/read them.


Along the way we are critiqued, and we optimistically join critique groups or find others whose opinions we trust and ask for criticism. (Which can be positive as well as negative.) We send our manuscripts out to strangers knowing most will reject what we send, and if they don’t reject it, if the story is published, we ask for reviews.

We know, with so many books being published each year (It’s estimated that there will be 2 million books published in 2013) that chances are we won’t sell many copies and won’t make much (if any) money. (Less than 1% of writers make more than $50,000 a year. Only 6% of writers make a living as authors. The average book sells less than 250 copies a year/3,000 copies over its lifetime. You do the math.)


And yet we do it: we spend hours writing and rewriting, submitting, and then promoting. Because we’re optimists, we believe this idea (whatever it is) will be the one agents and editors clamor to publish. We have that eternal hope that this story is the one that will soar to the top of the charts, will win prizes, will earn a ton of money.

I think most writers are also realists. We know our chances of winning the top prizes are slim, but we keep at it, day after day, year after year. At least many of us do because along the way good things do happen. We do sell something we’ve written, do get a good review, win an award, and make some money.

So take time this holiday season and give yourself some positive feedback. Count your blessings. Did you finish writing something? Submit it? Did you sell or self-publish something? Receive good feedback from others? Get a good review(s)? Win an award? Make money from your writing?

I think my greatest blessing is when a complete stranger comes up to me (or sends an email) and tells me s/he read my book and loved it, and then asks when my next book is coming out. Or maybe the best blessing is the ideas are still coming, and I am able to sit down at the computer and turn those ideas into some form.


(Statistics came from: )


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10 Responses to Count Your Blessings

  1. Kristen says:

    I like this – it jives with what I’ve always kind of thought, and gives me a little more encouragement to keep putting words to paper and keep trying to make it to that much-coveted 1% club. Thank you for posting, Maris. 🙂

  2. Chris Cannon says:

    Great article. Staying optimistic is the only way to survive this profession.

  3. I know I feel I have such a long ways to go to be in that top 1%, but I do remain optimistic that I will make it there. All we can do is encourage each other and keep positive.

  4. Diane Burton says:

    Great post, Maris. I especially like your last thing to be grateful for–that the ideas are still coming & we have the ability to turn them into a form people will read. After losing my mom to Alzheimer’s I’m grateful every day that my mind is still working. Happy Thanksgiving to you & your family.

  5. Melissa Keir says:

    Optimists are so important in our lives. Writers just keep believing in our chance. I am willing to take that chance for the same reasons you say…I love the contacts with readers.

  6. paula geister says:

    when I count my blessings, you’re one of them. thanks for all you’ve given me since our last Thanksgiving together.

  7. Not a lot to add to your post except Amen.