At ConFusion I spoke with many of my writer friends. At home I keep in touch with them and many more via social media. Everywhere I hear stress, frustration, and fear. There are so many parts of publishing that are out of the writer’s control. We even brought that up in a panel, how it is important to focus on the things we can control, the choices which are ours because the ultimate financial success or failure of our projects is out of our hands. This is hard when the result is so very important.
I think about this and then I think about my own published works, most of which have not paid me any significant amount. As a business, my writing career has yet to break even. From a cold calculation stand point, continuing does not make sense. But then I look at the projects themselves. They are each something that now exists in the world that did not before. Each one has added to my life and to the lives of some of the readers. I can’t easily measure that in dollars and I don’t want to. No matter what comes in the future for my writing, I have triumphs that can’t ever be taken from me. Strength of Wild Horses funded. Hold on to Your Horses continues to be read to children and make them happy. My Cobble Stones books remind me of the value of the words I write here. I got to go to ConFusion and speak on many different topics. I’m going to get to teach at LTUE. These are all treasures that can not be taken from me, no matter what blows life and publishing have in store during the years to come.
Right now I am drafting my first full novel. (I don’t really count the three quarters of a novel that I wrote in junior high, nor the half novel I wrote in high school.) I’m ten thousand words in and I’ve been stalled there for quite a while. Today I opened it up and refreshed my memory of where I’m at and where it needs to go next. Over the next weeks I’m going to get to draft that novel. I don’t use the word “get” lightly. Being able to work at writing fiction is a gift. It is one I have to fight for, I have to defend the writing spaces and decide to work when my brain wants to rest, but that doesn’t change the fact that I have this opportunity. Never again in my life will I get to write the first draft of my first novel and I’m not going to let that experience be buried in fear or stress. I don’t want to let it slip away either. Because life may not always be kind enough to allow me time to write.
When the time comes to submit this novel, I hope I can savor that opportunity as well. It will definitely bring discouragement, but I hope I can feel it all fully and add to my pile of life experience treasures.
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