#05 Authors Chasing Fame
In The Beginning…
We all start the journey of becoming an author hoping our work will be read and adored my millions of fans. I don?t know an aspiring author who hopes they fade into obscurity before having tasted the sweet glory of worldwide acclaim and renown.
Furthermore, many of us aspiring authors desperately crave recognition from our peers, from the critics, from our would-be fans, and from the public in general. We all dream of a world where we are sought after by Hollywood executives and talk show hosts. We dream of a world where people run up to us in the street and ask us for our autographs or share with us how our writing has moved them deeply.
To add to this lofty alternate reality, perhaps our works are added in the curriculum of thousands of schools and universities around the world. Our humble work is referenced when discussing the pinnacle of writing ability. We win awards and attend galas with the biggest and brightest minds of our generation. We inspire a new movement in our creative field. We are added to the list of great artists, not only of our time, but in all of history. We take our place amongst Shakespeare, Dickens, Tolstoy, Hemingway, Faulkner, Proust, Kafka, Melville, Fitzgerald, King, Tolkien, Lewis…and Khan. It has a nice ring to it.
Perhaps institutions we respect and admire ask you to guest lecture. You rack up millions of fans on social media. You are certified famous and that fame affords you wealth and riches to live your best life. Millions of adoring fans wait with bated breath for your next release. You have to hire armed guards to escort the manuscript from your mansion to the publisher?s office just to ensure its safety (you don?t trust the internet and the many hacker groups, also fans, who ardently attempt to hack you for the chance to read your work).
What a wonderful world to paint.
The question is, how many of us aspiring authors will ever have the opportunity to realise this fiction? The answer is a scary one. Only a handful of millions of new, aspiring authors, not just each year, but in a generation. There are many talented authors with a loyal following, but I bet even they dream of reaching a bigger audience on the world stage. When is enough, actually enough? Is it thousands of copies? Is it hundreds of thousands? Or is it millions?
Many of the already recognised authors have sizeable followings and have been able to make a decent living from writing and for them it has also been a struggle. Many have reached their peak. Many are entering their decline into bitter obscurity. If that is there fate, what hope is there for the common plebs such as ourselves?
What About You?
It is a good question that has haunted me from the moment I made the decision to become a writer. The truth is we don?t know we will ever make it big, but we hope. However, the question is not what will become of us or our work, but why? Why are we writing?
I am still grappling with my answer as each of us must on our own, but what I have come up with so far is this. Each of us has our authentic truth that must be told. Each of us has this thing inside us that yearns to come out. It drives us to give birth to new and unique ideas and stories that add colour to a wondrously beautiful world. Sharing that truth makes the world a better place. The world deserves your story. You owe it to the world and yourself to share your story.
All of human history, the very fabric of human existence, is told as a story. We relate to stories. We sympathise with them. They move us, and shape our thoughts. They change the course of our destinies and your stories can do the same, no matter if it is for one person or millions.
The Big Takeaway
In summary, it comes down to this. I might never make it, and you may not either, but I will never stop dreaming and absolutely never stop writing. I, like you, have something to say and I will say it because it will add beauty to a world in desperate need of it.
Don?t pursue fame. Pursue excellence. Write with passion. Find the beauty deep within you and share that part of yourself with the world. That is your reward. The world may respond by granting you fame and fortune, but you are not entitled to it. That is a blessing and one many of us may never achieve but as the wise urban poet Fifty Cent said, ??die trying.? You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. I for one salute you. The world needs you. Will you heed its call?