Stories that Matter

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.




  1. Jennifer Zarifeh Major on May 22, 2014 at 10:13 am

    Ohhhhhhh! WOW!!

    Wow, wow, wow, WOW.

    You NAILED it!!!!

    • Cathy West on May 22, 2014 at 10:15 am

      Thank you, friend! Love your enthusiasm as always.

  2. Lori Benton on May 22, 2014 at 11:19 am

    I love this Cathy. You got it right. And not only just show up and do it, cherish the freedoms of this season too. When it passes you’ll look back and realize the waiting time had it’s unique joys. My waiting time was twenty plus years, but it wasn’t until the last five or so that I was able to gain that in-the-moment, cherish-the-now, count-my-blessings, whatever-you-want-Lord mindset.

    • Cathy West on May 22, 2014 at 11:24 am

      Thanks, Lori! Hard to do sometimes, but I do know God’s in this.
      Somewhere. LOL! 😉

  3. Jeanne Takenaka on May 22, 2014 at 11:49 am

    Cathy, what a great post. I love your perspective of keep moving forward, even in the waiting. Remembering that life around me is still going on, even if I’m waiting on one thing to happen. I can engage in it, or I can be miserable in the waiting (done it both ways. Engaging in life while waiting is much more pleasant). Waiting for children taught me that there’s more to focus on. I’m learning it in the writing realm too.

    Okay, I’ve been pretty wordy. Love. This. Post. Well done friend.

    • Cathy West on May 22, 2014 at 12:41 pm

      Thanks Jeanne! Glad you get it. Friends like you are priceless in this crazy journey. 🙂

  4. Jenelle. M on May 22, 2014 at 3:19 pm


    May I hold you “accountable” to this idea of just do it and whatever to the rest? hehehehe.

    Like you said you, and all the people leaving comments, have so many crazy wonderful ideas floating around in our brain. Well go for it, but live life as well. There is so much more to life than just writing (gasp!- you can punch me later).

    Like Lori wisely said God has us in seasons of life for a reason. Aw crap, that was a totally unintentional cheesy rhythm. Be content where you are at, friend. You are being prepared 🙂

  5. Cathy West on May 22, 2014 at 3:37 pm

    Jenelle, are we allowed to say the “A” word? Haha. 🙂
    Yeah, you nailed it – the whole being content where you are thing. Why is this so hard sometimes?
    And I won’t punch you. No punchy. Punchy bad.
    See what I did there? 😉

    • Jenelle. M on May 22, 2014 at 8:08 pm

      Bahahah, you passed the test!

      For me being content can be hard at times because, well, it’s not where I want to be. We writers have imaginations like no others, and dreaming about lala land is kind of what we do, right? Wait– I don’t get to live in lala land, God? So yeah. Not doing that about our own lives takes self control. For me at least.

      Cheers to you this Thursday 😉

  6. Andrew Budek-Schmeisser on May 23, 2014 at 12:56 am

    “You’re going to die. And it’s going to hurt a lot worse before you do.”

    Hearing those words from one’s doctor sets a different perspective (that was my Monday). The stories are important – otherwise, I wouldn’t have written them – but I’ve come to realize that how writing the stories shape ME, and shape the compassion I show on a daily basis, is more important.

    The stories are part of my legacy, if they’re disseminated…but the way I act is the most direct legacy of all. I believe that love and kindness and compassion and fair play are the ‘fuel’ of hope and decency, and that what we put in makes God’s creation here run just that much better.

    It kind of hooks back to Happy Endings. Sure, we can write ‘realistic endings’, replete with a noble melancholy that admits the truth of the Human Condition.

    But I want my writing legacy to be that people look at the ending and say, Wow, that could be ME!

    And look for the possibilities and opportunities to make that Happy Ending happen.

    (BTW, I don’t agree with Hemingway’s quote. I’ve seen people bleed out. And I came close myself – needed 150% of my own blood volume replaced. Writing is writing. Dramatic comparisons mean one’s thinking about the process, and not the story.)

    • Cathy West on May 23, 2014 at 10:16 am

      Thanks, Andrew. Love your honest perspective and the thoughts you bring to the table. Praying for you. Wish our paths had crossed before now. 🙂

      • Andrew Budek-Schmeisser on May 26, 2014 at 6:27 am

        Cathy – thank you.

        I wish we’d met beofe now, too, but I’m grateful for the meeting when it did come. I’ve learned a lot, and you’ve helped me look at things I might never have considered.

        I think you’re terrific.

Leave a Comment