It’s horrible, being an unsuccessful writer. The worst of it is self-hatred; who do you think you are, that what you write is worth anybody’s precious time to read? The presumption of it; years of useful life that could have been spent doing good works wasted on such ridiculous self-indulgence.
I delivered a manuscript today; to a literary agent who once professed an interest in what I wrote. I delivered it in person, reasoning that the cost of postage would have worked out higher than the tube fare and who knew, I might get a brief window, a second or two, perhaps, to make another personal impression. Years ago, when I was young and pretty, I once got a whole lunch.
What presumption indeed. This time, the receptionist at the smart address wouldn’t even allow me into the foyer to place my parcel on the slush pile. After brief consultation via intercom, I had to squeeze it ignominiously through the letterbox. I hope all of it made it. The envelope wasn’t stuck down properly. I disappeared briskly, conscious of my cheap clothing (tidy enough by the standards of my part of town) convinced the entire avenue was sniggering at me/silently puking behind their hands. Look, there goes another scruffy, deluded “writer”. Should be rounded up and ethnically cleansed, the lot of them.
At times like this, articles like these are a consolation. They serve to remind us all that success is about more than talent and attitude. It is also about good fortune, and timing, and above all it depends for its existence on a backdrop of routine failure.
So feeling like a failure is part of the human condition; a necessary part of success, whether our own or some other lucky sod’s. It shouldn’t make us unhappy; on the contrary. Perhaps we should even feel proud of it.