Dear Ms. 0 - 60,
I know that we promised ourselves that we weren't published by 30 that we'd give up and do something else, but maybe you should pump your brakes. Writing fiction is nothing like the dazzling papers your English Professors think you meticulously craft over weeks ...and your friends and dry eyes know you write forty-eight hours before.
Fiction isn't like never losing a game of Trivial Pursuit or remaining undefeated at Tetris (save for the boy you fell in love with that summer). Your Jeopardy obsession -- and your firm belief that you will one day grace its stage -- won't matter. Fiction won't care that your brain is a marvelous machine that helps you see things a different way, makes you organize faster, makes you quirky but efficient.
Fiction. Doesn't. Care.
Welcome to a new ball game. One where you aren't the smartest. One where things won't always (or even often) be easy. You will struggle. I repeat, because you will be incredulous, because you will want to think CHALLENGE ACCEPTED! and immediately want to go out and slay the dragons of writer's block and doubt and think you're above it.
YOU WILL STRUGGLE.
But that's okay. There will be swearing. Lots and lots of imaginative moments when you yell "M**her F**king C**k weasels of Satan!" There will be tears and nights when you can't sleep, afraid you won't wake up and the words will die in you.
There will be days when you want to give up, believe you'll die of disappointment (we know now that's not possible) and days when you'll believe that any of your mental successes from birth to now were a fluke and you are a moron of the highest magnitude.
But. You'll suck it up, buttercup. Because you're stronger than self doubt. And though you flinch to think it more than once a month or so, you're a much better writer than you give yourself credit for. So, know it's going to hurt, it's going to cause new emotional scars you didn't know you could inflict on yourself.
But all that is worth it when you get your first yes. When you have your first cover reveal, your first release date, your first royalty check. You'll still struggle and fall down, but you'll never forget the fever of WANT that burns inside.
And that will keep you moving. Until then, maybe ditch a bit of the intellectual arrogance and think more along the lines of Dreams Can Come True....though they might look more like a misshapen lump of clay than a beautiful sculpture.
Oh and don't quit at 30. We totally get published at 31.