How many times have we heard another writer—often one with lots of published books—say that it’s all about the writing, that the writing is all that we can control and we should enjoy the process?
I’ve heard it A LOT. I’ve also said it. Often. And though intellectually I knew it was true—that I can’t control whether an agent or editor will like it, whether readers will find it and it will sell—I still found myself focusing on those aspects. This meant that while I was writing, I was thinking about being finished and sending it out.
Until this past Saturday.
If you follow my blog/blab, you know I attended a “goal setting” workshop. I put it in quotes because, while we do set specific goals and action items, we spend a good chunk of time answering really important questions. Questions like “Why do you write?” and “Who is your ideal reader?”
I’ve answered these questions before, dozens of times. From my head. But something clicked on Saturday.
On Saturday I let my mind create a “perfect scenario” vision: My 2017 picture book is on the bestseller list, other books are being acquired, my husband and I are spending time in the Caribbean like we’ve dreamed. All of these things made me smile, made me happy. But I could feel the transient nature of each of them. I remembered that transient nature feeling from past experience.
Some people would say: “You’ve had six books published and you have one under contract. You should be in a constant state of bliss. I know I would.”
I’m not in a constant state of bliss and I’m betting you wouldn’t be either.
I’m proud of those books. I remember the excitement I felt with each acquisition and subsequent publication. But the feeling didn’t last. And it isn’t supposed to.
Back to the Visualization
So in my vision, I asked myself: After the bestseller, the other books, the Caribbean vacation—what do I want to do next?
I want to write.
And so I pictured myself writing and I felt it this time, not just thought it because I should. I had an “ah ha” moment of coming home to a safe, familiar, wonderful place: Ahhh. This is where I belong. This is what brings sustaining joy—putting words on the page.
Submissions, acquisitions, and publication will come and go. But the writing, that is a constant that brings me frustration and pain and fear and so much joy I can hardly contain myself. Now, finally, after all these years…I get it.