Saturday, May 30, 2009

May 30

I'm later in posting today as I'm trying to live a more well-rounded life. LOL As if that is possible for this obsessive personality. *snort* I spend far too many hours, writing, studying, promoting- seven days a week. It can't be healthy. And, truly only makes sense if I were making a living at this...

Kind of like athletes- gymnasts, dancers, ice skaters, basket ball players, footballers...who spend 5 to 7 hours a day at their sport in the hopes of one day becoming a professional. What happens to them when it simply doesn't pan out? Think about it- all the hours spent practicing and perfecting-only to discover you have bad knees, or you grew too tall or not tall enough. What happens then? Only one in a million gets to be a prima ballerina or the next number one draft pick for the NFL. Only one in a million get to be the next "big" thing in publishing. What do you do if after all your years of work- if it isn't you? (Now please, I'm not against striving for a dream or even for giving up. I'm talking about doing more than striving- being more than "the best" - I'm talking about living life... a full, balanced, well-rounded life. The kind of life that can lead you to other dreams if the NFL doesn't come calling or you lose the gold medal by .0025.)

This has been on my mind a lot lately- people say- keep writing- did you write today? are you working on your craft? LOL- that's like asking a Crack head if they snorted anything today.

So, I'm going to ask you a perfectly valid question- did you take the time to live today?


  1. Let me see, I went in to work some overtime on midnights at a job that I have never loved doing. I came home and slept till 2:00 so I would not be too grumpy for my family. Then I went to Mass at 4:00 so I can be free to work overtime tonight (if they even call me). But all of this is the living that I do.

  2. Today I had the second day of a headache that pretty much laid me low, so, not so much. But this is a really really important point. You have to be very careful when you do something that is so bound up in your personality, your "self," your identity. Keeping a balance is vital and it's not the easiest thing to do.

  3. Nancy this is a huge issue you raise. Well, two issues actually.

    (1) do we live balanced lives? As another obsessive personality, achieving balance has always been difficult for me to achieve. These days I consciously strive to find that elusive point where I pay equal attention to the various facets of my life. I don't also achieve it, but at least I'm striving towards it.

    (2) You've touched on this point before, namely, at what point do we as writers accept that we're *not* the next JK Rowling or Dan Brown or Kashuo Ishiguro? And, following on from that, is the question: is there a point when we give up because the hard work we invest in our writing career is not giving us sufficient return?

    Both are terribly painful questions to deal with - since 2008 these questions have preoccupied me more and more, and they *have* had a detrimental affect on my writing.

    As far as the first question goes, the following quote has brought me, if not total acceptance, at least a kind of comfort: "Use the talents you possess - for the woods would be a very silent place if no birds sang except for the best." (Unknown)

    And as for the second question...I don't know how long one can go on. I do feel at times that the longer the struggle to get published goes on, each blow or obstacle gets a little harder for me to overcome. I've reached the point of almost giving up many times, and am currently in that phase again. It's like I've used up every bit of optimism, confidence, hope, creativity and am just an empty vessel striving for an impossible dream. But something keeps driving me on, perhaps - much like Don Quixote - a stubborn inability to concede defeat. How I'd feel if I was already published and was still having to struggle with doing the rounds of agents and publishers, I'm not sure.

    I am trying to do a major shift in my approach to my writing in the hopes that it'll help me be more creative and less drained by the many defeats dished out by the outside world:I'm going to write my next novel just for me; I'm going to focus on writing it joyously and enthusiastically and with complete creative freedom from worrying about questions like "will an agent like this?" "will this sell?" "will this...?". As a strongly goal-orientated person, I'm not sure how I'll manage this attempt at writing for the joy of writing alone, with no thought of reward, but I'm going to try anyway. I've got nothing left to lose!!

    Read Osho's book "Creativity" - you may find it useful!!

  4. Oops! Sorry - mistake!

    "I don't also achieve it, but at least I'm striving towards it."

    should read

    "I don't *always* achieve it, but at least I'm striving towards it."

    Wish I knew of a way to correct errors in my comments on blogger!

  5. Thanks everyone for great comments!

    Ann, boy do I understand!

    A friend of mine, published author, was talking to me the other day about the natural life cycle of a writer. No matter what you publish, there is usually a time when you need to reinvent yourself to stay current and/or not get bored. Some people use this time to find something new and interesting in their lives. Sometimes it's a new genre... sometimes it's something all together different- like learning the piano or finding a new line of work. Anyway, it got me thinking about the natural life cycle of anything and how the word natural and life cycle implies that it really is okay to change. I love your first quote! and I hope you find the joy in your next manuscript.

  6. Other Lisa, thanks for the comment. You are so right. I've been looking out my window wondering who I am if I'm not a writer. It is an interesting exercise. *smile* I broke out my oil paints last night and played for two hours-not that I plan on selling any oil painting- too much craft to learn to be a pro there- but hey, it doesn't mean I can't dabble.

    Hope your headache is better!

  7. Marty-

    Sometimes writing is what we do to stay sane and express our souls when we spend most of our time working in jobs we hate to keep our families safe and fed. Keep writing-