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I suppose it’s inevitable in any job to have times of burn-out, stress, dissatisfaction and head pounding doubts. The same is true with writing. Pre published, you have to keep up your enthusiasm in the face of rejection (and this doesn’t change even after publishing.) You have to fight your own qualms about the depth and reality of your talent and sometimes those of people close to you who
don’t understand the driving need you have to express yourself.
I am currently running behind on a deadline. The book is due in two days and life has intervened to the point where I’ll be glad to get it out of the house next week. It’s going to be late, my editor understands this, but I hate being late on a deadline I know is tight. And when a deadline is tight for a write I know it’s
tight for the publisher, the editors, everyone else connected to your book. As hard as I sometimes find this to believe, I am not the only writer they deal with. So, if I’m late, then my editor can’t read my manuscript as scheduled which puts her behind.
That’s stressful for me. And at first I thought I would blog about stress for a writer, but then last night as I was sitting on the deck thinking about how to write this blog it also occurred to me how much I love being a writer.
Let me list five ways:
1. Deadlines. Okay, yes, they can suck, but think about it. Having a deadline means you have a contract. It means your book is going to live to see the light of day. It means you’ve accomplished what you worked hard to accomplish and that you have validation of your skill. Deadlines mean you have arrived. Maybe not at your final destination, maybe not even at the exact place you set off for in the first place, but the next time you have an idea, someone is likely to pay attention. This goes for contest deadlines and queries off to agents and publishers, too. Entering your work for judgement, putting it in front of a reader and waiting to hear how it’s received means you’re serious about publishing. I don’t think anyone who isn’t serious about it is going to find it happening any time soon. I.e., you’re working toward your goal.
2. My writing friends. I cannot emphasize enough how much they mean to me. They understand the bad times, they share the good times. Their accomplishments spur me on with my own. And what other group of people can you think of who write better emails than a bunch of writers?
3. Ebb and flow. That’s what life is: ebb and flow, and a creative life illustrates this better than any other life I can think of. Some of it has to do with working for yourself, but some of it the very nature of creativity. This is what I mean: You work hard on a scene, but suddenly, you’re stuck. It’s April and the sun is
actually shining, so you wander outside and lay down on the sun warmed wood deck and just soak it up and think about nothing — and suddenly you aren’t stuck. You take a walk and the ideas come, or you take a drive and the plot unfolds like the petals of a flower. You write some more, you wander around the house and yard, you write a little more and gradually, day after day, you create a book with people who matter to each other, real people who face real challenges and here’s the kicker — those people would never exist if you didn’t daydream. How cool is that?
4. Self esteem. I like being a writer. I like writing it down under Profession. I like the way the word sounds. I like the way writing makes me feel about myself. Being a writer is part of who I am. If you’re reading this blog and visiting Eli’s wonderful website, I bet it’s part of who you are, too.
5. Making a difference. Yes, I know, I write entertainment fiction. I don’t usually tackle huge social issues. But I know through letters of people kind enough to take the time to give me feedback that my stories, my characters, my ideas have touched them in some way. As human beings, we all have the opportunity to make a difference in another human being’s life. As a parent, a nurse, a teacher, a taxi cab driver — we all matter to each other in a wonderful maze-like kaleidoscope. But when you create something — a painting, music, a book — you reach people you don’t interact with on a personal basis. You help them laugh or feel better or get a few tears out of the way. You get their heart pounding or breaking, you share something of yourself.
I know I’ve left out many other reasons I love being a writer. I’m hoping you can take a moment and share what you love most about your chosen profession. And thanks for having me, Eli!
To win a copy of AGENT DADDY, simply tell Alice what you love most about your job. And if you don’t love your current job, how about telling her about your dream job.