That article was so very real!
True it is that one won’t get a break unless one takes a few steps, but even a few more steps won’t guarantee success.
When I was teaching English in Slovakia in 1993, I was called to teach “business English”. However, most of the published material at that time was written for the business skills of the average English teacher, not the average business person. So I started developing my own stuff, with the needs of the business person in mind (lots of “numbers English”). It worked reasonably well. If I was to make my program more marketable, I had to design the program to also teach the teacher a little bit about business (at least well enough to present the modules with some competence). I embraced the cult of optimism, believing failure was not an option.
Ten years later, many writer hours, and $70,000 poorer, I came to the conclusion I had done my best to elevate the profession of teaching business English. Neither the teachers nor the learners seemed to want my higher-level lessons.
At first, it was a bit of blow to reach this conclusion. But then I came to the conclusion that I really had a lot of fun creating Dave Volek’s Business English. My next conclusion was that I could have tested out this market with about a quarter of my time/money investment to have figured out it didn’t work. So for my next inventions, I built them with failure in mind. I did not put my life savings on the line. Even though there has been no success (yet), I still have a lot of fun putting them together.
I don’t golf, but many of my social circle do. I probably spend a lot less money on my hobby than they spend on theirs. And my hobby could have a financial reward some day.
Writing is very much like sports and entertainment. Only a very few aspirants will make it to the top. All the optimism in the world will never guarantee a privileged position in those fields.
By all means, put your best effort out there. Something good could happen. But always have a Plan B — because 99% of us will need a Plan B.
The Cult of Optimism is not based on reality.