At a writer’s conference a few years back, one of the organizers implored me to, “Keep it happy. No one pays to hear they won’t make it.” Which led to some questions on my part:
First, why single me out? Do I look like such a downer that you have to tell me not to be a schmuck?
More importantly: is it fair to tell publishing pros to keep it peppy so as not to scare off potential paying guests to your next writers conference?
MOST importantly: is it really right to be upbeat all the time?
Listen, I’ve told people time and again that they’re only going to make it if they keep trying. I just wrote a very positive entry for another blog about how determined you have to be to make it in this business. I do believe that wholeheartedly. But sometimes the numbers sneak into the back of my mind, and I think about how many people will never make it. At the risk of discouraging people who haven’t yet reached their fullest potential, are we encouraging people who will never succeed? Is that fair?
Or do the doubts of every writer do enough of the discouraging on their own?
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. Is it right to encourage everyone? Should we be more brutal than we are?