pebbles, beach, south coast england

Overnight Success

There’s this myth in the creative industries about being an overnight success. Writers, actors, directors, artists – anyone who creates, can be labelled an ‘overnight success’ by the press for having that one breakout piece of work.

But the truth is, nothing happens overnight.

You see, it’s easy to forget that. That sure, in interviews or press coverage someone will say that sure, it happened overnight, but that’s forgetting all the years of struggle, all the projects that didn’t take off, all the ideas that didn’t quite work out; all the plays that no one came to see, or the books that didn’t sell. All the paintings that were scrapped or the things that no one read.

And it makes you think that you’ve failed because you haven’t been an overnight success, that you’re still grinding away, trying to make it work in your own way. But, it’s all an illusion. Nobody really becomes an overnight sensation. Not really. Behind that moment of success, there’s years of hard work, failure, and learning curbs that perhaps will never be aired to the public. And that’s okay. That’s how it’s meant to be.

Nobody becomes a writer or even a doctor just because they decide to. To be a doctor or a lawyer or a vet or a teacher you have to go to medical school or law school and train and learn – even if you’re a natural. There are still things to learn and understand. Things to practice and develop. Then you have to work your way up.

To be a writer, you have to write. You have to read. You have to persevere. You have to learn, to practice, to engage with other writers, with a community.

Everyone has different ways – a different story to tell about how they did it, but when it comes down to it, everyone worked hard to get where they are, because they wanted it.

And it’s easy to forget that, especially when reading about the latest sensation or someone who had some sort of lucky break. There was still hard work there sometimes. It’s easy to think you’ve failed because it hasn’t happened yet. But it takes time – and I think that’s something I forget so easily. Patience is tough, but I’m sure, one day, it will be worth it.

I just got to keep on trying, practicing, and waiting… After all, no one becomes a success by waiting around for something to happen.

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2 thoughts on “Overnight Success

  1. coleburkewrites says:

    It’s a definite myth. Years, if not decades, of hard work go into the “overnight success”. I think it can be really demoralising for people struggling to hear this. You’re right – you have to work hard and keep on keeping on. If you do that, someday you’ll make it.

    Liked by 1 person

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