… of this:
… and this:
… and this:
… and a guest post for Writer Unboxed in which I say something a bit shocking:
Some people might view the change in my goals as a lowering of standards. For me, it’s about understanding and accepting my limits. I mean that in 2 ways. First: Neither literary acclaim nor blockbuster sales are within my control. That’s just the reality. And that’s okay. Second, and this may also be a reality: I might not be cut out to be a professional writer. After a lot of internal struggle, I realized that’s okay too.
To be honest, that post started out a bit differently. The point wasn’t just that I might not be cut out to be a professional writer, but that most people probably aren’t. However, it seemed safer/kinder to focus on my own soul-searching, and then let people see themselves in it (or not).
Also, to be clear: I’m still working towards publication. It’s just that I’ve realized publication shouldn’t be the benchmark for my happiness. If it is, I may or may not ever be happy. But if I focus on the writing, and I let that be its own goal, then I can be happy right now.
(Overcoming a mindset of 15 years is easier said than done, though.)
15 responses to “A busy weekend”
Very good points (and nice pix :-) ). It’s not only whether you’re cut out for it, there’s a whole lot of luck in there, too. I agree — get the satisfaction from the writing itself. The rest, if it does come along, will be all the more enjoyable if you weren’t depending on it for your happiness. It’ll be gravy, or frosting, or whatever other food metaphor you prefer. :-)
I really like your WriterUnboxed post, because it mirrors how I try to view my own writing journey. I’m pretty convinced that I’m not cut out for writing, and I can’t say that I enjoy writing and would die without it, but it’s something I want to do and that’s reason enough for me. :]
Wow! What a great post on WriterUnboxed. It’s good to pursue your goals and then find out that they may not be your goals anymore. That’s what happened to me at least with “professional screenwriting.” I think you learn more about yourself living life that way.
But it’s not like the writing ever goes away. It’s far too important.
First, Riley is adorable and nothing is better than lazy days with the puppy.
Second, The Banks looks amazing. I took a double take to confirm that was Cincy. My how things change in 4 years.
Last, I love reading about your growth as a writer. Publication is the big picture. You should focus on little goals to get to the big one. Remember, you are still young with lots of years to grow and get experience with lots of chances to be published ahead of you!
Wow. I’m quite surprised by the ending of your post. I didn’t realize that you’d had this change in perspective. I hope it has brought you some happiness.
Absolutely, luck is a huge factor, but luck isn’t in my control. I can hope for luck, and I can prepare for luck, but I shouldn’t pin my *happiness* on it. That’s something you seem to have had a good grasp on for quite some time now, but I confess it’s been hard for me to swallow.
What I’ve realized is that that should be reason enough for anybody. :)
I certainly don’t think it’s a *bad* way of going through life, but it’s not the most efficient, lol. Like you said, though, you can learn a lot about yourself this way, and that’s almost always a good thing.
Thank you! And yes, isn’t the Banks a surprising delight?! Can’t wait to see it continue to grow.
Actually it did not. But I believe it will in the long-run. Also: you told me so. :P
Funny how conversations seem to come in waves. You’re the third person I know who is actively thinking about how to define success for themselves.
It’s good to recognize that happiness is always internal. Because really, you could get published and still not be happy. And then what…
How did you get your hair to grow so fast?
Oh nice! Did you cut your own hair? I used to do that in college, haha.
Also, great post on WriteUnboxed. I’m probably too undisciplined (aka lazy) to make it as a professional writer, but I love to read and the reader in me is dying to read something that reflects all my favorite tropes and themes and life struggles. Figured I ought to try writing it myself, so that’s my reason. :)
That was lovely Kristan. I read your post on WU and enjoyed it. Typically those thoughts are articulated by people older than you, who have experienced more and have come to that realization because things didn’t turn out as they had hoped. Some people don’t see it as positively.
It’s refreshing to find someone who can keep their feet on the ground and truly accepting of what they can and cannot control.
Good for you, Kristan!
I absolutely love the WU post and your additional thoughts here. You’re right – when publication is the “finish line” (not that it’s any kind of finish at all, of course – more like a new starting point), it can be easy to get lost in the far-off goal. I don’t necessarily think our writing suffers for it, because at our core, the story and the characters are so very much the reason why we do this, but it’s easy to let the end (again, not that it’s an end of any sort) overshadow the means. I think back to when I started my first novel and how I was writing for the pure joy and love of it, and then I think of how I’ve let the journey to get published put a damper on things sometimes, and it makes me sad. Deeply sad. Writing fills me up like words cannot describe. Why not let that be a goal in and of itself? I’m finishing up my first draft of this MS within the next few weeks, and because it’s the final of three books I’ve written about these characters, it’s incredibly bittersweet. I’ve been querying the first one in the set, but I’m actually tempted to take a break until this draft is finished, because I absolutely refuse to let the frustration overshadow the love I’m feeling from giving these characters their happily-ever-after. I will not do it. Thank you for the reminder … because it might not be a happily-ever-after for us as writers, but if it’s happy right now, that’s all we can ask for, right? :)
I also loved the WU post. It took me a long time to realize that the journey’s the thing! If I’m not happy now I might never be happy… there is no finish line. You’re right too. Not everyone can handle it. Sometimes the thought of being published (though still a dream) scares me more than I want it. I’m not sure if I am cut out for it, but I’m going to try anyway ;)
These things do tend to come in waves, don’t they?
Miracle Gro? Hehe, j/k. Just genetics, for better or worse.
Nooo, haha. I trim my own bangs sometimes, but I don’t trust myself to cut the rest.
THAT is the very best reason to write any story, IMO. :)
(Have I mentioned how much I love your name, btw?)
Mmm, don’t give me too much credit. I think I’m still working on the positive acceptance. Like, I objectively/rationally believe it, but my heart is still processing the news.
“I think of how I’ve let the journey to get published put a damper on things sometimes, and it makes me sad. Deeply sad.”
Ditto. And I don’t want to be sad.
Taking a break from querying might not be a bad idea. Agents aren’t going anywhere, after all. :)
Oh, I know you can handle it. ;)
Can I say this is perfect? – ” But if I focus on the writing, and I let that be its own goal, then I can be happy right now.”
Of course you can say that. ;)