The Sunday blog. Like any other bit of writing, on particular days this is a chore. I had a meeting with my editor this week, and we discussed—among many interesting things—the nature of writing, the dedication and time-management needed for the craft. We discussed how certain parts of the 2nd manuscript flowed like honey and wine, sweet and intoxicating, whereas other areas required serious attention and reconstruction. If only everything, on every day, hummed to the tune of perfection. But unfortunately, writing is art, and art is inspired by emotion and circumstance. Writing is also an art that does not, necessarily, require inspiration to produce results. It requires time, mostly, and the ability to ignore one’s insecurities and avoidance mechanisms and simply push the words out. What about the magic? you say. What about the flow? Well, things don’t always flow. Realistically, when writing my 10 page minimum quota each day, prose rarely flows from beginning to end. I write in spurts. I get up, walk around, make a tea, stretch my legs and let my mind unclench its muscles. I almost always hang on a sentence, or have to rewrite a paragraph numerous times during the day. But predominately I sit, and I push, and enough words eventually come out to make my quota. One day, once I’ve ejected enough verbage onto MS Word, I have a book. Voila! Its not a pretty process, nor a particularly fun one at times, though it is a vocation in the truest sense of the word—a calling, a passion. I write because I must. I write because I have all these strange voices and stories in my head and if I do not write I would likely be mad. Mad, or wholly disassociated from life and happiness, which is worse than madness.
Wouldn’t it be nice if all I could do was write and deal with the ups and downs of that process? Indeed. However, in today’s publishing world that’s not enough: to simply write. Not unless you’re Stephen King, Nora Roberts, Stephanie Meyer, or any author of great renown with millions of books sold. Until you—hopefully, if that’s your goal—reach that level of esteem, you’re generally on your own. Publishers pay a miserly amount of money and attention to new authors. These days you need a web-presence, a PR strategy and at least an hour of each day that you can dedicate toward building awareness and an audience for your work. An agent will do some of this, yes, although again, I believe that so much of one’s success depends upon personal perseverance and a diversity of skills. A support network, and having an environment that is conducive to your vocation is vitally important, as well. In the end we’re back to ourselves, our management of time, and the pursuit of our passions. Whatever it is you choose to dedicate your passion toward, and it certainly doesn’t have to be writing, do it wholly, do it absolutely, with every screaming fibre of your being. I’d like to believe that if you do that, results are bound to happen. Success? Hmm, that’s different than results (as in, it can be one) and another hill to climb. I have my milestones and goals, and I’ve achieved a few of them already, so for me, at least, this formula is working.
Without trying to sound bleak, I need to say that life is short. Extraordinarily fleeting. We are blips in the cosmos. Little grains of sand upon the beach. Which is not to say that our existence is meaningless. Quite the opposite; as creatures of such finite time, we should be aware of our transience, we should want make our blip matter. I am a dreamer, an optimist, and I wish for greatness for every person here on Earth that wants that for themselves. Although greatness need not be interpreted in the most grandiose sense of the word: dominance, supremacy, “better than”. Greatness, to me, simply means doing the most you can with the passions you have in the time that you are given. Do that, and you’ll be great. Whether that’s being an amazing mother, a devout friend, a pillar in a charity, a religion (no, I’m not anti-faith, only when faith is used as a shield for ignorance), a community, an athlete, a savvy business person, or even an accomplished author, the difference is semantical. You are great. You are maximizing the hours of your life. You are contributing meaning to the world, instead of rage and resentment. We are part of an ecosystem, you see, we are connected in a web of hearts. It is unrealistic to think that the sum of human need and ambition—or lack thereof—does not influence society. A family of listless, mindless, ambitionless folks contributes to a village of such folk, and thereafter to a state/ province, country, and world of apathetic souls.
As I’m writing this, I’m discovering a bit of the passion that I lacked when starting the piece. I’m reminded of all of the things of which I speak: dedication, a sense of mortality, a desire to make one’s life matter. I realize that there is a lot more that I would like to explore on the subject, since it has many branching roads of thought to follow. I would like to talk about the inhibitors to personal greatness, the harmful critics in ourselves and the hecklers in society—people who would rather contribute anger and disharmony than work to fight the fear of their own greatness. I’d like to talk about how we drag ourselves out of the pit of inaction, into which we’ve all fallen at some point in our lives. But I think that those are topics for future blogs. I’ll start tackling those issues and more as best as I can with my experience, starting next week.
Until then, my darlings, be bold, be kind, and be great. You have nothing to lose, you have everything to gain. Moreover, the world has much to gain from you finding greatness in yourself.
All my love,