Thursday, March 23, 2017

Post-Birthday Blog

When’s yours? Mine just was, instigating some musing on the years passing, with the writing happening or not, the publishing happening or not. Whenever your birthday is, perhaps you also contemplate the questions that plague or enthrall me.

~ Why do you write?

Most of us aren’t in it for the moolah, because there’s generally little enough of that except, as in most areas these days, at the tippy-top. Some of the most talented writers I know rarely type or write—it’s too scary, painful, frustrating, or something they can’t or won’t identify. I love to write—creating, tinkering, revising brings me joy. I don’t have a goal or message or plan as much as the pure jubilation of the process. I understand how fortunate this is.
If writing doesn’t provide happiness or income, perhaps it’s not for you.
~ How much does publishing matter?

As you know already perfectly well, it’s a tough industry out there. Word has it that publishers no longer bother responding even to agents. So the supposed magic bullet of acquiring one offers no guarantee. You might have an agent on your side, and still have along wait till securing a publisher. 
Where does this leave you? Try this. A writer—an extremely talented one—recently told me that if she landed an agent and then a publisher, she’d love it. If she didn’t, so what? She confessed that she never expected to complete a novel, much less have one ready to sell. For her, that was enough. 
What’s enough for you?  If you don’t know, what you haven’t admitted might circle around and bite you in the foot. And then in the other foot.
~ How long should this current project of your take?

Many writers have externally imposed deadlines, and they must stick to them. If the novel isn’t quite ready, it doesn’t really matter, because it’s now June 1 or November 15, or whatever. I have the luxury of working on what I write until I feel it’s done. That consistently takes hours rather than minutes, and, more often than not, years rather than months. Does that matter? Not to me. It takes as long as it takes to make my writing what I want it to be. 
What about you?  How much time are you willing to give? When is it too much?
Tip: Writing is so personal; it’s crucial to understand—and accept—your own process.

How can you get what you want if you have no idea what that is? Figure that out. Then give yourself this particular present. After all, whenever your birthday was, there’s another right around the corner. Take advantage.

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