Each story has a turning point — a point at which everything shifts. Many call it a climax. At this point, the plot speeds up, you start turning (or writing) more pages in a row without stopping. You might even hold your breath, because whether things are about to get better or worse, it’s intense, it’s exciting, and after this, nothing will ever be the same again.
The same way stories have a turning point, your writing career also reaches a boundary you cannot uncross. You might know it’s coming, just not when; you might know it’s going to happen, but you’re not sure whether the outcome will be good or bad.
Still, we all anxiously wait for the moment everything changes. Sometimes so much so that we’re unwilling or unable to do the work necessary to get from exposition to falling action.
However, unlike a story, you can’t just skip 100 pages in your career to get to the good stuff. Hopefully not without extreme consequences, anyway. Plagiarism happens all the time, but it’s never rewarded as much as honest success. Just like skipping pages makes the ending of a book less worthwhile.
You have to endure a lot of exposition, slow chapters, tiresome dialogue, and many instances of unexplained plot points before you can reach the turning point in your writing career. It’s not always fun, exciting, or as rewarding as you think it should be in the short-term. But eventually, all that hard work does pay off — in some way or another.
At the beginning of your career as a writer, you carry a lot of weight without much to show for your effort. You write for free, you ghostwrite without getting credit — sometimes you have to accept that getting paid next to nothing for writing you’re not even interested in (I’m talking mostly freelancing there) is often the far-from-glamorous reality of trying to build up your professional life from 0 followers up.
But at some point, maybe, your blog posts will drive a large percentage of your income. And you won’t have to write about things you’re not 100 percent invested in. You can afford to say “no,” and you can afford to ask for more money. All the things you can’t or are afraid to do in the beginning will just become part of your daily rhythm. That’s your turning point — the moment you no longer have to do the things you hate doing (at least mostly) in order to make a decent living as a writer (however you want to define that).
It might seem far off. You may have many pages still to go, many chapters still to flip through. But the best is yet to come. If you don’t feel like writing is enjoyable to you 90 percent of the time, you’re not where you’re going to be yet. As long as you don’t give up, as long as you do things the long way and try not to quit, you’re going to get there. It might take awhile. But you’re going to make it.
And once you do … there’s no turning back.
Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is a freelance writer and a nine-time NaNoWriMo winner with work published in Teen Ink, Success Story, Lifehack and USA TODAY College. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about writing, food and nerdy things.