Success and stuff
Sometimes I get so caught up in the business of writing and publication and publicity and making money or dreaming up ways to make money with words that I forget that all of that is completely out of my control and that I need to concentrate on writing and let the rest of the story play itself out.
But it's hard. How can I read about great reviews and huge advances and not think about how it might affect me and my work? How can I stay focused on my work, on becoming a better a writer, a more honest writer?
I would pay tremendous sums of money to know how to do that. Truly. I think it is the toughest thing to do, to not think about the publishing and the possibility of awards and fleeting and fame and just write the stories and stay true to the writer inside of me.
I have friends who have had great success with a book or several books and I'm happy for them, really I am, but I have to remind myself that I can't compare any of my experiences with their successes. But I do compare, and that is always the problem. Once we have that first sale, that first acknowledgement publicly of our talent, it is no longer about the writing, but rather about the repeat factor...or trying to play top it with ourselves. I think that with our writing, as in other parts of our life, we go through stages of growth and plateau. Each time we hit that plateau and hunger to push ourselves to the next level of writing and more growth, it becomes like starting over all over again. Makes us once again beginners in our chosen area. I have a hard time with that. And I don't know the secret to staying focused. I seem to pepper my life with so many activities that I have difficulty balancing without crashing. Writing is tough enough. Then there are so many of us that work full or part time on topof it. Plus add in children, spouses, family folk who need our support and so on. Sometimes I wonder how it is we ever get anything done at all.
How do you stay the course when life threatens to push you off the path?
Well sometimes I just let it. I have to admit to myself that some writing/social situations are negative to me. Sometimes I can't let myself be around other writers because hearing about all their latest sales and great connections and happy publishing experiences works the wrong way on me. While I can be happy for my friends, at the same time I think, "Why not me?" and "What am I doing wrong?". Then it becomes more of a downer than a positive experience. So at times I just remove myself from those situations. I don't begrudge my friends their successes, I just have to protect myself from a tendency to feel sorry for myself and whine. Some people always go to conferences and such things and feel wired up and jazzed and motivated. But if I am in a rough spot with myself and my work, that's the wrong place for me to be. Instead I pull books off my shelf to read. Books that tell the story of other writers suffering the same insecurities and worries and envies. Somehow that helps.
I don't know how to stay focused. I don't even know how I do all that I do. It is sorta like just picking up whichever baby is crying the loudest at the moment and hoping that instinct and the need for survival will pull me through.
Write on, right now.