This is going to sound cliché, but hear me out, because I think I’m putting a fresh spin on it.

(skeptical) Okay…

(takes a deep breath) Pursuing a career as a writer feels like climbing a mountain. Everyone says that, but it’s true.

When I was at the bottom, I pointed to the mountain and told people, “I’m going to climb that.” And of course, everyone was supportive — like, “Yeah, go for it! That’ll be awesome!” But probably a lot of them never thought I would really do it, or they didn’t fully realize what was involved.

(In fairness, I probably didn’t fully realize what was involved either.)

So then I started climbing, and people were like, “Oh shit, she wasn’t kidding.” They weren’t sure what to think, but they cheered anyway.

Now I’m like halfway up, and they’re still standing down there, wanting to support me, but they’re also looking up at me, then looking at the top of the mountain and thinking, “That’s a long way left to go. She’s never gonna make it.” They’re beginning to doubt, and I can’t blame them, because sometimes it feels that way to me too.

But of course, I’m not gonna stop, because I made it this far, and I know I can go the rest of the way, it’s just a matter of patience and perseverance.

(nodding) Sure, that all sounds about right.

Good. Because that’s significant to me. Realizing that it looks unlikely to some people, even ones who love me. But that doesn’t mean anything. I’m still climbing. And after I get to the top of this mountain, there will be another one, and another, and another. Because I’m a climber.

Uh huh.

But there’s more!

Oh. (confused) Okay…

See, there’s another part that of the metaphor that usually doesn’t get talked about.

You never signed up for this. And yet, you’re going up the mountain too. Because I’m pulling you with me, you know? You’re like on a sled that’s tied around my waist, so you’re stuck on the climb, but there’s nothing you can do to get us up any faster.* That’s gotta be so frustrating.

Yep. (happy to have his perspective included) It’s cold. It’s kind of boring. And I can’t feel my toes!

(laughing) Well, it’s no cakewalk for me either.

*Note: This applies to my parents too.

13 responses to “A conversation about this mountain I’m we’re on”

  1. T. S. Bazelli Avatar

    The sled can be pretty darn heavy some days. *chuckles* I liked the last part of the metaphor but its true. It’s not easy being involved with a writer, that’s for sure.

  2. Shari Avatar

    You’re so lucky to have found such a great guy who WANTS to go on that climb with you — and he’s so lucky to have found you, too! Think of how beautiful the view will be once you’re atop that mountain together! :)

  3. gingermandy Avatar

    I’m with Shari – the view will be awesome from the top. Take lots of pictures! :p

  4. Jon Avatar

    Wise words. Remember, it’s the journey not the destination, as they used to say in the sixties!

  5. Sarah Wedgbrow Avatar

    Be the Tortoise. ;)

  6. Anthony Lee Collins Avatar

    I think your main point is absolutely correct. And it apples much more broadly, too. If you’re married to a musician, a painter, or even an aspiring professional athlete, you’re on that journey, too. (Parents are different — some are and some are not.)

    I’m not really comfortable with the mountain, though. What’s the top? To be the most successful writer? To be the best writer? I was just readiing an article about an actor named Lyle Talbot. He was in movies startimg back in the 1930s — never a huge star, but he worked consistently until he retired, with some starring roles, and he never had to take non-acting work (selling real estate or whatever). Never the top of any mountain, but a pretty good life for a working artist.

  7. Julia Avatar

    Good observation. And, of course, Andy is hauling you with him up whatever mountain he’s climbing. And it’s a good metaphor, as long as you’re aware there is no mountain top. The top is wherever you are when you decide you’re satisfied with how high you’ve climbed and want to climb a different mountain now.

    By the way, I like the way you presented this as a conversation. You have a lovely ear for dialogue.

  8. Juliann Wetz Avatar

    At least you’ve got good equipment. ;) Your writing is wonderful. You’ll definitely make it to the top.

  9. linda Avatar

    Aww, I loved this! Yay you & Andy. :) Sounds like such a cute interaction.

  10. Emy Shin Avatar

    I hadn’t thought about that before, but that’s entirely true. And Andy’s last comment is so cute. :D

  11. Natalia Sylvester Avatar

    Yes, so true! I joke with my husband all the time that when he gets home, he never knows which me he’s going to get –happy writer or frustrated writer. But he’s still on that mountain with me, which is what counts.

  12. Q Avatar

    I think Andy is more like a Sherpa porter.

  13. Kristan Avatar

    Lol yes it can!

    Shari and Mandy-
    Good point. :)

    As if I have a choice? But to your point, I’ll try to embrace it. :)

    I think everyone has to define their mountains for themselves.

    Thank you! And yes, you’re right, Andy’s got his own mountains to climb. I’m glad you pointed that out. :)

    One of our less ridiculous interactions, that’s for sure. ;P