|Photo credit: ohskylab on Flickr|
So, ambitious people that we are, we tend to focus on the future. We’re motivated. We work hard to accomplish our dreams and focus on completing our goals—which is a good thing.
But although we put in the blood and sweat to see our dreams realized, we often forget to pause long enough to celebrate what we’ve already achieved.
What I’m saying is, we forget to enjoy the stage we’re in.
Many writers fall into the “I’ll be happy when…” trap. I know I did. We tell ourselves, I’ll be happy when I finish the book, when I finish editing, when I get an agent, when I get published, when I publish my second book, on and on and on. But guess what? When we do finish the book, when we do get the agent, we tend to celebrate for a short time, then amend our statement.
Now I’ll be happy when I sell x many copies. Now I’ll be happy when so-and-so blurbs my book. Now I’ll be happy when I have a five-star rating.
Forget that, guys. Don’t be happy later. Be happy now.
I’m not published. I don’t have an agent. I have four books in the drawer, many of which will probably never see the light of day, two more that I’m editing and another that I’m brainstorming. I don’t know if I’ll ever have an agent, if I’ll ever see my book at Barnes & Noble, if I’ll ever make any sort of best-selling list at all. And sometimes it’s heavy. Sometimes I want to stop and do something that other people will recognize as productive. Something my friends and family will understand.
But then I remind myself why I write. It’s not for the money, for the book contract, hell, it’s not even for readers (although all of those things are very nice).
It’s for me. Because I love it.
Sometimes we need to stop and remind ourselves all that we have accomplished. No I’m not published, but who cares? I’ve written six novels and I’m proud of every one of them. I’ve had journeys with my characters, I’ve fallen in love with them, I’ve developed them and then moved on. But they’re mine, and they’re alive because I wrote them.
And that in itself is something no one can take away from me.
Maybe you haven’t written a book yet. Maybe you’re too afraid to start. If that’s the case, ask yourself why you want to do it. If it’s for the money, for the fame, then maybe writing isn’t right for you. If it’s because it’s something you want to do for you, if it’s because you have a story and you want to write it to life, then go for it. Even if it never gets published, it’s a story that you’ve created, a story that will always be with you.
Maybe you’ve written a book and like me, haven’t been published or picked up by an agent. That’s ok too; I challenge you to take the time to see all you’ve accomplished. I challenge you to take a moment to remember the characters you’ve created, the lives you’ve pulled from the depths of your mind.
I don’t care what stage you’re in; take the time now to enjoy it.
And whenever you’re feeling discouraged, remind yourself why you started it all in the first place. And smile. Because you’re a writer, my friend, and you’re just doing what writers do.
Take time to celebrate your accomplishments and share them here; I’d love to hear about it. J