Why unknown writers should never give up

Unknown writers, take heart: Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick was a flop when it first came out in 1851.

The Globe and Mail recently noted that Melville wrote several popular novels in the 1840s; after these literary triumphs, he went on to write a number of books, but none of them achieved any kind of success. Moby-Dick, the tale of crazy Captain Ahab and his quest for revenge against a ferocious white sperm whale, only sold a few thousand copies. Melville died in 1891 forgotten and unknown, his writing career long over. Then, in the 1920s, the “Melville Revival” occurred, with critics calling Moby-Dick a masterpiece. It is now considered to be one of the greatest American novels.

The poor guy. Can’t you just imagine a snide sibling or supposed friend giving him slight jabs about his failed career – “So, Hermy, made any progress on your next novel?” (said with a look of concern while snickering behind his back.) Or a new acquaintance unintentionally hurting his feelings – “Weren’t you famous…once?” He would have had the perfect comeback if they had all lived to see his books rise to the ultimate heights of dizzying success, but he died forgotten. A loser.

So pick up your pen (or your keyboards) and start writing – who knows who will be the next Melville? Tell yourself that no one understands you..your art is above their uncultured tastes! And if you write for the love of writing, you’ll never give up.

I was going to say, ahoy, me mateys, get writing, (Moby-Dick, get it?) but it’s just too stupid. Ah, my wicked sense of humour!

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