This just in: I'm a writer because I love to write
My dear blog,
We know each other well, you and I.
We've been going back and forth for years now, and you get me. But you're not going to believe this. Despite your best efforts to help me dissect my coiled inner thoughts, it's seriously taken me this long to understand something important. Something very important. And by "understand" I mean really get. So here it goes: I'm a writer because I love to write. I've always loved writing. And I'm allowed to write for the simple fact that I love doing it.
My absurd revelation continues. I don't need to write because I want to build a business around writing, or be outrageously productive. I can do it because I love the rewards and pains that come from stringing words together to create meaning, whether other people get it or not. And what's even sweeter about the whole deal is that society won't ostracize me for doing this thing that I love, because --simply put-- people don't care enough. Whatever I write or don't write, people will continue living their own lives, making and loving their own opinions, and I'll be left to my own devices. It's dreamy.
For those of you who think I sound bonkers (including myself) consider this: I was raised in a culture of productivity. Early on I came to know that discovering a new mountain is the best reward for summiting the one I've just climbed. Aha! The journey isn't over, there's much more work to be done!
Ever onward. Ever onto the next mountain. Not a bad perspective, but one that comes with its own blinders and limitations.
Dear everybody else,
In a tip-of-the-hat to 2016, I'm starting 2017 with a fresh perspective. But first, the past twenty-four months deserve some reflection and closure. A book end, if you will. Below you'll find some of what I did right, some of what I did wrong, followed by what I'm going to do next.
Things I did right
- Fell back in love with reading.
- Writing, lots of it, for a variety of purposes and audiences.
- Learned about the craft, myself, and other writers.
- Talked to lots of new people and made friends in communities that I am now a part of or want to become a part of.
- Offered my help to others, and found new opportunities to help others.
What I did wrong
- Allowed my fear of being rejected, of being outed as a Writing Imposter, to keep me from finding a creative community (peers) for too long.
- Approached novel writing as though I were developing a product, a line of products, that require a clever business strategy and a smart platform, all without taking the time to appreciate that I carry a deep love for the craft and so should probably do something about that.
- I did what I thought I should do.
- Too much thinking. (See the problem?)
What I'm doing now
- Widening my focus. Writing for me, in ways that I enjoy, while also to prove desired and hypothesized outcomes.
- Building my credentials (AKA trying to get published, and continuing to self-publish on the internet).
- Sharing my work with a broader audience so that I may continue to grow, grow, grow.
On the horizon
Where the Sun Sets. By far my most sentimental project to date, the story was inspired by my father, made for my husband, and will be produced because of people who volunteered bits of themselves to support me.
When we hit 250 (I say "we" because by no means was it me that hit 250, it was all of you who made the generous decision to invest in my future and I can never say it enough: thank you), the world came to a stop. In that moment shit got real. 250 was a threshold that meant this story would enter the world of Books That People Can Access With Relative Ease For The Purposes of Reading. All the worries I'd been ignoring came flooding back (they can be well-characterized by this single one: What if I'm a total crap writer and everyone seriously regrets having invested in my writing future?). But those stomach-gnawing gremlins make me try harder, so I'm grateful for them. Sort of.
In the midst of all that pre-holiday season, pre-order frenzy, something magnificent happened. I became swept up in a fantasy that I've told few people about, until now.
See, a woman of great talent whom I respect and admire shocked the world by capturing the whimsical essence of Where the Sun Sets in an illustration of a single, seeding flower.
Wouldn't it be oh-so-wonderful if that same talented illustrator would apply that magical distillation of thought and emotion to other parts of the book as well? That was my fantasy. And -SPOILER ALERT!- Maria, the talented illustrator, has agreed marry our dreams! She will be illustrating key scenes in Where the Sun Sets to bring the story of Bay and Vole Gibbons to life in ways I never thought possible.
By sharing this journey and inviting so many people to come along with, I feel as though in many ways my dream has become our dream. I know that's sentimental thinking. But now that it has literally become our dream --mine and Maria's-- I'm giddy with joy. It may be sentimentality talking, but there's something about sharing a dream with someone special that makes it a thousand times more rewarding to bust butt for, and I can't wait to see what the two of us will accomplish together.
Thank you Maria, and thank you for reading.