So You Think You're All That?
“The world doesn’t revolve around you, you know.”
“Yes, it does.”
“No, actually, it doesn’t.”
“Yes it…wait, what?”
The problem with being a writer is simply this: We may develop the tendency to think we’re all that.
Not me, of course. I would never be so brazen as to assume the entire publishing world should come to a grinding halt and read my manuscripts RIGHT THIS SECOND BECAUSE I CAN’T STAND THIS WAITING ANYMORE!!! Yeah. Not me.
And so I wait.
Here’s the thing. I am not a patient person. True story. I also like getting what I want. Immediately. I blame my parents for that. They should have spanked me more. Or something. So here I am in this crazy profession where times moves slower than molasses running off the kitchen counter. This business where so much hinges on….what? I don’t even know. Timing? Luck? Fortitude? Brilliant writing? An editor having a good day? Maybe a combination of all those things. It’s a secret we’ll never know. Why some books are chosen and others aren’t.
I’ve ranted…um…mentioned the fact before…how some books are just not my cup of tea, yet they sell. They win awards. And I’m all like…
But really, so what? Good for those authors. Shows how much I know. Then this thought comes.
What if I simply got on with living?
Instead of worrying about what’s happening out there in that realm, that galaxy far far away…the place I have no control over…what if? I’d be less stressed, for sure. Probably be a nicer person to live with.
You know how hard this thing is. You reading this who’ve maybe just cut chapters out from your novel. Deleted pages you worked so hard to get right. You nodding your head because you get what I’m saying. You’ve been there. You might be there right now. You do it all because you want to succeed. You want that contract. You want…to be heard. To be noticed.
To be all that.
Maybe you don’t, but sometimes I think I do. Sometimes I think if only…if only that email would come, that phone call, that long awaited “YES!”…then I could get on with things. Seriously. Somebody slap me.
See. I know it’s not true. I know that whether I am contracted or not, whether my words are printed or not, read or not, I won’t stop. These stories inside me won’t go away. It’s what I was born to do. Sure, I want to be published. Most writers do. But then, there’s the danger isn’t there, of focussing on that instead of simply enjoying the journey. That dream, goal or whatever you choose to call it, it can steal your joy. Make you forget why you’re doing what you’re doing. Why you started writing down the words in the first place. It can take away the sheer exhilaration of simply telling a story nobody else has.
Is it easy? No.
But we do it anyway. We do it because we don’t have a choice. Sure, I could pack it up. Put all those hopes and dreams and aspirations high up on some shelf and pretend they’re not there…but sooner or later I’d come back to them. I’ve tried to quit. It doesn’t work.
I sit here day after day doing this thing because it’s who I am. And I’m being true to my calling. Obedient, if you will, to tell the stories, write it all down in a way that only I can. We are each unique in that. The telling. It’s something that took me a while to learn, to be okay with. I won’t ever write like Jodi Picoult. But she’ll never write like me. I don’t have to be like anyone. I just have to be me. And I’m not all that.
I’m just me.
So what if I simply show up, despite it all, get the words out and say to hell with the waiting, the wondering, the wanting…what if I just DO IT…maybe that’s it. Maybe that’s all I need to do. And maybe some days, the only person who really needs to read those words, is me.