The Science Fiction Writer’s Hierarchy of Doubt

Even if you’ve had a successful writing year, there’s always going to be another writer who achieved more. Sure, I had a few short stories published last year, but none of them ended up on recommended reading lists. No matter what level of writer you are, there’s always something to worry about. Take consolation in The Science Fiction Writer’s Hierarchy of Doubt.

Why don’t I have any ideas?
Why haven’t I written anything?
Why haven’t I written anything good?
Why won’t anyone publish my stories?
Why won’t anyone pay me for my stories?
Why won’t any of the professional magazines buy my stories?
What if my first professional sale was a fluke?
Why do I need to worry about social media?
Why do people always get my name wrong?
Why doesn’t anyone want to read the results of all the research I did?
Why is it so long since I sold a story?
Why is there never any buzz about any of my stories?
Why aren’t I on any recommended reading lists?
Why aren’t I in any of the Year’s Best anthologies?
Why aren’t my stories as good as Ted Chiang’s?
Why doesn’t anyone remember me when I meet them again at a convention?
Why does Jeff VanderMeer think my stories are too weird?
Why aren’t I getting invited to any secret author dinners at conventions?
Why aren’t I getting asked to contribute to invitation-only anthologies?
Why doesn’t anyone think I’m destroying science fiction?
Why does Chuck Wendig think my characters swear too much?
Why have all my writing group classmates sold their novels?
Why isn’t my name listed on the anthology’s front cover?
Why aren’t I nominated for any awards?
Why aren’t I nominated for any awards that I didn’t campaign for?
Why hasn’t a Tangent reviewer illuminated my moral failings as a human being?
Why don’t agents respond to my queries?
Why haven’t I won any awards?
Why haven’t I been pounded in the butt by Chuck Tingle?
When are my family and friends going to stop asking me when I’m going to sell a book?
Why don’t I have an agent?
Why hasn’t my agent sold my book?
Why did I get such a low advance for my book?
Why did my book get such a bad cover?
Why doesn’t the book store have my book?
Why don’t I have a bigger social media platform?
Why is no one buying my book?
Why doesn’t the book store have my book in the display window?
Why isn’t anyone reviewing my book?
Why aren’t I getting value from the reviews I paid for?
Why isn’t my agent answering my emails?
Why does no one suspect me of being Requires Hate?
Why aren’t I on the New York Times bestseller list?
Why did that idiot who can’t string two sentences together sell more books than me?
Why don’t the critics like my book?
Why did my editor switch publishing houses?
Why aren’t I getting invited to any writers’ festivals or conventions?
Why is Neil Gaiman disappointed in me?
Why hasn’t a publisher contacted me about doing a collection?
Why isn’t my book getting translated into more languages?
Why aren’t I big in Japan?
Why isn’t anyone making fan art based on my stories?
Why are fan fiction writers making my characters do terrible things?
Why isn’t Oprah telling everyone they have to read my book?
Why doesn’t Robert Silverberg think I’m half the man that James Tiptree Jr. was?
How am I ever going to follow up on my first book with anything as good?
Why haven’t any of the Sad Puppies accused me of ruining their childhood?
Why can’t I make a living from my novels?
Why doesn’t the publisher want my next book?
Why isn’t John Scalzi MY arch enemy?
Why hasn’t anyone made a movie or TV series based on my books?
Why hasn’t anyone made a good movie or TV series based on my books?
Why doesn’t anyone understand how long it takes to write a book?
Why isn’t anyone accusing me of corrupting today’s youth?
Why does everyone say they like my earlier work better?
Why don’t people think I’m a serious writer?
Why hasn’t anyone issued a fatwa against me?
Why haven’t the North Koreans kidnapped me and forced me to make a Communist version of Star Wars?
Will anyone remember my books after I’m dead?
Why didn’t I turn off retweet email notifications?
Why isn’t Madame Tussaud’s returning my calls?
Why isn’t the religion I started as profitable as Scientology?
Why has no one named an asteroid after me?
Why haven’t I won the Nobel Prize for Literature?
Why doesn’t Mike Resnick think I look good in a swimsuit?
Why don’t the people of Earth appreciate how much I’ve done for them?
Why haven’t I been chosen as Earth’s representative for the Galactic Senate?
Why aren’t my stories as good as Ted Chiang’s?

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