Yup, optimism. Because as a writer, boy do you need it.
We spend most of our time putting our hearts and minds into writing stories and sending them out with the knowledge that they may come straight back to us with nothing more than “Not for us.” We work hard touring blogs and doing publicity for every release and dread the day the first month’s sales come in to reveal we sold three copies.
We hear horror stories about other writers whose careers have been skewered or story ideas scuppered by someone dropping the ball. The writer whose novel was reviewed favourably in a major US magazine and received a massive upsurge in sales, only for Amazon to run out of copies due to a print run of only two thousand. The woman whose suggestion for a three-generation saga novel was met with “Maybe you should write about four women who meet in a coffee shop to discuss their wayward children.”
And we have to keep smiling when people say things like “Oh, I could write a novel if I just had the time. What do you write, anyway? Romance? So when are you going to write a real book?”
It’s enough to drive anyone to drink.
So how do we keep our optimistic flag flying in the face of adversity?
In my case, I remind myself that this is what I’ve wanted to do my whole life. I love being a writer. I make sure I have at least three stories on the go at any one time, so if one comes back rejected I’m already way ahead with the next. I remember that my debut novel was turned down several times before being accepted, so a rejection doesn’t necessarily mean “this is crap”.
And I live near a really, really good cocktail bar. That always helps.