(Still Life with Book, Papers and Inkwell, Francois Bonvin, 1876)
I have to say I am blessed with a few people who have truly pushed me to write. They believe in me and for that I am grateful. This writing industry is hard….no brutally hard! You write, and write, and write only to be mostly turned down, ignored, rejected, critiqued and flat out told you suck! (Not me personally, but others have stated as much.)
Wow, why do we do this?
You try to stay motivated. You read other blogs that inspire you to continue. You copy quotes about believing in yourself. You try to surround yourself with other writers struggling through (albeit in the surreal world of the internet) like yourself to know you are not swimming alone.
The truth is, you can believe all your want that you are good, but if you do not have validation it is hard to maintain that “self awareness.” Where does one get the strength to continue to write in spite of it all?
Writing a whole novel is a long process. Then there is the editing, reader critiques, query letters, synopsis, summaries, tag lines, not to add the research and networking on social media. It’s a never-ending process. No one is giving you a pay check, a promotion, a better office with a window, a bonus. It is just you writing. It is very isolated. No one else can do it for you and there is very little to show for it.
My husband asks, “What did you accomplish today?”
“I wrote 3000 words,” I reply.
I might as well have said, “I accomplished nothing.”
My friends who “work” ask, “What did you do all day?”
I answer, “I wrote.”
Their mind swirls with images of me sitting on a couch in pajamas with my laptop, watching games shows, and eating potato chips.
My friends wish they could sit home and daydream like me. My husband thinks I am fooling around with a hobby. To them trying to become a writer….isn’t a job. It is equal to laying on your bed in a princess dress, indulging in fantasy. You have nothing to show for it…other than your words, thoughts, and imagination written down on a screen.
But the thing is…I am doing my ‘job.’ The job that I was meant to do! I am a writer. I AM A WRITER! I don’t want to become a writer….I don’t aspire to be one ….I am one. It isn’t a fantasy or long, far away dream. It is who I am. And thus, I write. I write late at night. I write in between picking up the kids. I write when I should be cleaning the house, or billing a client. I write! It may seem frivolous to most and a luxury to others. But to me it is my career identity. I am ‘working’ all the time!
I know, I know. It doesn’t bring home a paycheck. So, it’s not a real job. But that is just it…you can’t bring home a paycheck, until you write. Writing takes time, effort, work…..did I say time? It has so many roads to travel and hills to climb before the validation comes….in terms of money and notoriety…if it comes at all.
And thus, this leads me to appreciate that few, the very few, who support me along the way. I need you! I appreciate you! For it is like being a mother. You do a damn lot, for a long, long time and you may never see the fruits of your labor until your deathbed…hopefully sooner.
What can I say to the non-believers, the non supporters?
Nothing. I can only speak to my support team who continual read my blog, comment on my FB, scroll through my tweets, and who ask me about my work. Thank you for believing that what I do matters.
I may not make millions, be on the cover of a magazine, or even have a paycheck for my writing. Do you need those things to be validated????? I cannot lie. I would love that. But in quiet times in the morning when I start to doubt myself, a person has commented on FB about my latest poem or I have a new follower on Twitter. It makes my day and I realize I have accomplishment my goal: Someone has read my words! Because the truth is, to be an accomplished writer is for someone to read your work, and eventually want to read more of your work. That is the measure of success for a writer. If publishing, money, speaking gigs, blogging invitations come, then it is all icing on the cake. But for now, I write, you read. Job accomplished!